By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — Popular jazz-fusion band leader Roberto Carcasses said a few improvised lines at a concert on Thursday night that will most likely cost him his career in Cuba.
Robertico’s group Interactivo were the closing act at a nationally televised concert held at the Anti-imperialist plaza in front of the US Interests Section in Havana.
The occasion was a government conceived event to mark the 15th anniversary of the arrest in the United States of the Cuban Five, and a call for their immediate return to the island.
So what did Carcasses add to his personal call to bring home the Cuban Five, considered national heroes? A report from AP stated:
Carcasses, the 41-year-old leader of the Cuban jazz-fusion combo Interactivo, sang about his desire for “free access to information so I can have my own opinion…”
“I want to elect the president by direct vote and not some other way,” he continued. “Neither militants nor dissidents, (we are) all Cubans with the same rights.”
“And an end to the blockade,” he added, in reference to Washington’s 51-year-old economic embargo against Cuba, “and to the self-blockade,” which critisizes what many consider unnecessary roadblocks the system has put on itself.
Then, more in line with the theme of the event, Carcasses gestured at the US Interests Section behind the stage and exclaimed, “Free the Five Heroes!”
The controversial lyrics coincide with criticisms by both supporters of greater participation and openness within Cuba’s socialist system as well as those dissidents who believe the system must be totally gutted.
Affordable and domestic Internet Access, a revamping of the Communist Party controlled media, plus a general freedom of expression and association are points that the government has refused to allow despite its economic reform process.
AP added: “The concert was the crowning event of a government-sponsored yellow ribbon campaign to raise awareness about the Cuban Five, who were convicted in 2001 of spying on U.S. military installations and exile groups.
“Cuba maintains that they were only monitoring violent exile groups to prevent terror attacks on the island, and their imprisonment is one of Havana’s chief grievances against Washington.
“Fans packed the so-called Anti-Imperialist Plaza at the foot of the U.S. Interests Section Thursday night to hear more than a dozen performers. One after another, they demanded freedom for the four agents still behind bars.”
The reprisal against Carcasses have already begun. Robertico “has been separated from the music industry” for an indefinite time period, reports Café Fuerte.
“They called us to a meeting yesterday at the Cuban Music Institute, where we were told that Roberto is “separated from the industry” for an indefinite time period. That means he cannot perform solo nor with Interactivo at any State facility”, informed the Interactivo Facebook page on Saturday morning.
“Shortly after the message disappeared and it only mentions that the group suspended its scheduled performances Saturday at the Café Jazz Miramar and next Wednesday at the Bertold Brecht Café Theater. The reasons were not given,” noted Cafe Fuerte.
“It was like an earthquake that caught everyone off base”, commented a member of the technical support team in charge of the broadcast of the concert. “I still can’t believe that it [Carcasses’s lyrics] were broadcast to all of Cuba.”