Pablo Milanes: Not Winning for Losing

Dariela Aquique

Pablo Milanes. photo:

Still being passed from PC to PC is a file that’s being called “The Compendium of Information on the visit of Pablo Milanes to the United States.”

When Paulo FG and Los Aldeanos were in the US and refused to make any type of comment about Cuban society or its system, they immediately became cultural heroes in the eyes of the government here.  I even remember Paulo being invited onto the noon newscast to discuss his whole episode.

Baby Lores’ depressing music video — with the face of El Comandante tattooed on his arm — received more TV play than any other.  However I’m sure that the attraction to Los Aldeanos for many people here and abroad is their rebellious energies.  After their tour in the US they weren’t listened too as much in the street or broadcast on the radio.

Paulito was no more popular than before.  In fact, throughout his career only one song was a hit, and Lores must have had some personal interest in his song, though it was far from credible coming from his voice.

But none of this mattered for those on the other shore; these artists all became sworn enemies for showing their “attachment to socialism and the personage of Fidel.”

Right now Pablo doesn’t seem to be pleasing either side.  Claiming himself a militant socialist (but advocating a more democratic future for his country), this only provoked those Miami Cubans who hate the word “socialism.”

But since he said in interviews that he had stopped blindly and unconditionally believing in a promised social plan that he had seen degenerating before his eyes, this turned him into a traitor to the communists on the island.

The intransigence and sectarianism of both clans continue to cut off any real possibility of dialogue and ruin the opportunity to eliminate the bitter differences between Cubans here and those in exile.

Isn’t it possible for a revolutionary to renounce mistaken approaches, which for years led to totalitarianism and backwardness in our country, without abandoning his love for the country and wanting a better future for it?

And why did the singer wait so long?  Why do people always have to be on the other shore to speak out?  Why is the truth so upsetting?

Pablo Milanes is a man who has done no more than express his opinion, someone who thinks like many Cubans stranded in the limbo of incomprehension.  For the radicals of Miami, his past is the albatross that he must forever carry on his back.  For the radicals of Cuba his words carry poison on their tips, and this must cost him a far from satisfying future.

With fiery speech, the officialdom is accusing him of everything from receiving payments for his statements to senility to being unreliably erratic.  Obsessed Cuban-Americans are branding him an opportunist and a fraud.  I don’t think he’s what either side accuses.

I think this involves his being consistent with his ideals and with his time, but that’s a high price to pay when it concerns intolerant and stubborn sects.  In Miami, La Vigilia Mambisa is smashing his records and smearing him as a person.  At the same time he’s being vilified by the island’s intelligentsia and the official Communist press.

As for me, I applaud him and only ask: How can so much malice really matter?  You’re the poet!