A Song for Change in Cuba Makes Waves

By 14ymedio

Screenshot from the song Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life)

HAVANA TIMES – The video was released on social networks on Tuesday night and just twelve hours later it already exceeded 200,000 views on YouTube. No one expected anything less: for the first time Gente de Zona, Yotuel Romero and Descemer Bueno, residents outside of Cuba, work in a collaboration with the musicians Maykel Castillo Osorbo and El Funky, on the island. Together, they turn the most necrophiliac motto of the Revolution and create a rebellious song: Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life).

The theme is, mainly, a tribute to the San Isidro Movement (MSI) and the protests it has triggered.

The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the MSI, who appears with Osorbo in the video hugging a Cuban flag, declares to 14ymedio that the most important thing about “this action” is “to draw attention to society, the Blacks of the San Isidro neighborhood, the Blacks of the Cerro neighborhood, those who stand in endless lines.” In his opinion, the video clip “helps to create that project of a country where these people feel identified, included.”

“They broke down our door, violated our temple and the world is aware that the San Isidro Movement continues to be in place,” says one of the verses of the song, in reference to the eviction that MSI suffered on November 26, after more than one week on hunger strike for the imprisonment of rapper Denis Solís, which was the trigger for the peaceful protest on November 27 in front of the Ministry of Culture.

The audiovisual, directed by the Cuban director Asiel Babastro, collects several moments of the repression that Cuban artists have suffered in recent months, both in acts of repudiation and in arbitrary arrests. It also includes, for example, a fragment of the protest carried out on Calle San Rafael by Luis Robles, who today is serving prison for the crime of “acts against the security of the State.”

In addition, the theme denounces the precarious economic situation of the country. “What do we celebrate, if people are quickly exchanging Che Guevara and Martí for hard currency?” Sing the reggaeton players, alluding to the recent monetary reform and the creation by the Government of foreign currency stores to which most Cubans do not have access.

“No more lies, my people ask for freedom, no more doctrines. Let us no longer shout homeland or death but homeland and life,” Alexander Delgado, from Gente de Zona, is heard saying at another point in the song, which has raised a wave of support on the internet with the hashtag #PatriayVida.

In the live online presentation, the musicians sent a message of solidarity to the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, El Funky and Osorbo. They managed to establish contact with them, but very briefly because communication was cut off.

For Yotuel Romero, Patria y vida is “a song to freedom, a song to life, a song to love for our land, for our Cuba.”

“We cried making the song, making the video,” confesses Romero. “I want you to listen to the song, internalize it and say along with us: it’s over, the lie is over, the deception is over, the torture is over, the incarceration is over, the prison is over, not letting you be you is over.”

Descemer Bueno, for his part, claims to be “super happy to be making history” because for him this issue “marks a before and after” for the generations that follow. “People are already realizing what is happening and are feeling firsthand what the end of this dictatorship is going to be,” he predicts.

With a career full of successes in Cuba in the video clip universe, Asiel Babastro considers this work as “the icebreaker,”,by including artists censored in Cuba and having a rebellious discourse. The director said that it was a “tremendous responsibility” for him “to bring together these people who have been around the world.” The director also speaks of the importance of connecting “with the message of the song, with people who are doing real things to have the right to have rights.”

“I have always believed that a government that tells lies does not deserve to be there, I believe that the truth is for everyone, there is no need to go further, the video talks about that, it shows with the honesty of these artists, their speech, we want to have the right to think differently, to see a change,” he asserts.

The regime has not been long in replying to the viral video clip, in an article that, in line with the campaign carried out by the state media against the San Isidro Movement and the 27N, it tries to denigrate the authors of the song by calling them “moochers.”

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

7 thoughts on “A Song for Change in Cuba Makes Waves

  • Cuba can give a lesson in blocking democracy.
    Crushing freedom of speech, and the outlawing of other political parties with new ideas.

    The Soviets helped teach them.
    And they are going downhill fast.

  • Don where did you drink the Cool Aid, at the Havana airport or did your wife’s family give it to you. The Cuban dictatorship is arresting and doing hate rallies at the homes’ of people just for writing in front of the homes Patria y Vida. And you say that Cuba is a democratic country. Incredible

  • Alexander;

    I read your post with interest, since I am a Canadian Citizen married to a Cuban lady from Santa Marta.
    I have spent a lot of time in Cuba as well as in the United States, and I can tell you that anyone who believes that there is a Real Democracy in the United States, is surely in for a BIG surprise.

    Capitalism YES, Democracy NO, at least for 99% of the American people.

    Cuba with its Democratic-Socialist Society, can give the United States Citizens’, a BIG lesson in what REAL DEMOCRACY actually looks like.

    Sure things are tough in Cuba NOW (mainly because of YOUR American Government’s Extraterritorial Blockade of Cuba and its purchasing power.

    Things will change very quickly for the better in Cuba, if you all stick together and don’t fold up under the Imperialistic, Hegemonic pressure being brought against you.

    If you can spare a few minutes of your USAID or NED, Dissident-Financed time, check out this TED TALK VIDEO on Democracy in the US voting system, to actually see what you are promoting to the totally unsuspecting Citizens’ of Cuba!

    You will have to Copy and Paste the following heading in GOOGLE.


    This video represents how the Electoral System in the United States, is neither OF, BY or FOR the American People, as was envisioned by their Founding Father’s Constitution.

    Don from Northern Canada

  • The people of cuba have been brainwashed by the evils of capitalism for 70 years. They have ingrained in their minds that there is no hope for free elections or a smooth transition of power. Their only hope lies in a one way plane ticket to another country and find their way into the US. Cuba has the same chance of a democracy just like North Korea has the chance of ousting Kim Jung Sun. The cuban leaders know that they will be there for a very long time unless a foreign intervention is successful. The cuban people do not have the means to unite nor the will to rise as a country to overthrow its government. The Cuban government is an expert in averting a full blown crisis. They mobilize extremely well and have great discipline in obeying the orders. They know exactly who is the enemy internally and how to shut him/her down.

  • Olgasintamales,
    It’s not trivialisation – it’s called having a sense of humour. One of the main reasons I get on well with Cuba is the superb sense of humour there.
    You have different experiences and a different version.
    You have a different point of view.
    I have travelled around a lot and lived here and there. Cuba has it’s good points and bad points. Just like my country or any country does.
    Cuba doesn’t make me feel particularly important when I’m there although the people who I have known there for a quarter century are pleased to see me when I show up as I am pleased to see them. They are family to me.
    It’s not good for anyone to be too obsessed with their own self importance. Look at that trump fool – a perfect example of obsession with self importance.
    Let me tell you that Cuba’s crime rate is low in comparison to neighbouring countries. It’s generally pretty safe there.
    Regarding torture – I’ve met a guy from my own country who was tortured in Cuba. Tortured by the USA in Guantanamo Bay. One of the U.S. guards had the grace and decency to actually show up in my country to apologise for his role in the hideous activities which the USA perpetrated in their little occupied corner of Cuba. Activities which defied the Geneva Convention.
    But Olgita, you will only ever see what you wanna see.
    As I’ve said many times, I hope for better times for Cuba and for Cuban people.
    And I certainly wouldn’t ever support U.S. policies toward Cuba which can only ever possibly make things worse for Cuban people.

  • Very funny Nick, so you are trying to trivialize the dictatorship’s lack of freedom of speech. In you last comment you asked me to turn the page but I’m going to tell you why I can’t. I’m Cuban and Black when Batista left I was ten years old my mother was a teacher and my father works in the docks as a shipyard, my parents were able to buy a 3 bedroom home with their salary I remember my father frustration over some places where won’t sells home to Black families but they did finally in a working class neighborhood. As Havanera I remember the elegant Havana even until the mid sixties with the high class department stores the middle class the aristocracy and the poor when Havana was like any European capitals when Dior created exclusive garment for El Encanto department store. When Havaneros ignored tourists and life had perspective in your country. But I can’t turn the Page because ppl like this French guy I met few years ago when I worked in the fashion industry in NYC. The Neocolonialist tourist they only known a destroyed Cuba but they Love it. They don’t go there for sex, the service,the shopping, or the culture aspect they don’t go to any other Latino American countries. Only Cuba I asked this guy why his obsession with a ruined society and he Responded with the honest. In Cuba is the only place that I feel important. Cubans makes me feel like not one else. And that selfishness that made him overlook the crime, repression, intimidation, torture, incarceration and death Cubans plus the material mystery and the destruction of a country that in 1958 had the same life standard than Belgium. For him to feel like someone important is to much to close any page. In others new. In Argentina over 1000 people got convicted for crimes during the dictatorship. I wonder if you would recommend to them to turn the page as well.

  • It is interesting that the Cuban State, the Spanish State and Kim Kardashian are all taking action against different rappers simultaneously.
    I wonder if these three parties secretly consult each other over tactics???

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