By Café Fuerte
HAVANA TIMES — Following a heated dispute between singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez and Cuban State authorities, the musician’s Abdala recording studio has finally come under the administration of the Ministry of Culture (MINCULT).
“The fact is that, in the afternoon of October 6, 2014, Abdala were finally placed in the hands of the Ministry of Culture,” Rodriguez wrote in his blog, Segunda Cita (“Second Date”). “I thank those who sincerely love culture. Now, it’s time to get down to work.”
The case appears to have been closed now, after the series of complaints Rodriguez began to voice on August 22, when he revealed that Abdala had been awaiting a change of management for eight months and leveled harsh criticisms at the Ministry of Culture bureaucrats.
To make matters worse, power at the studio was shut down because of MINCULT’s failure to pay the electrical bill.
Rodriguez attacked the indifference of government officials and complained that the management of Abdala had phoned two vice-ministers of culture and tried to contact the pertinent official at the Office of the Historian, to no avail.
In the midst of this process, Rodriguez cancelled a concert for the first time since he began his neighborhood tours around Cuba, owing to disagreements with government authorities in the province of Artemisa, making the artist’s relations with Cuba’s cultural institutions even tenser.
Silvio: Sustainable Socialism
The note recently published by Rodriguez, however, as a conciliatory tone, as though the storm had finally passed.
“I believed and still believe in the sustainable form of socialism we must build. Culture and its means must be considered spiritual resources, which doesn’t mean I think they should be granted a blank check,” the artist, who will celebrate his 68th birthday on November 29, explained.
He wrote that, according to the original plan, Abdala’s earnings would be destined to education.
“I’ve also always been aware that public health, the care of the elderly and food are more important than a recording studio. But I am also convinced that once you’ve created anything of excellence, you should preserve it, at least with a view to its reestablishment in the future. In the case of a recording studio like Abdala, we are responsible for preserving it as a pillar of a potential music industry,” Rodriguez stated in his blog.
Founded in 1998 with the decisive support of Fidel Castro, Abdala was an initiative of Silvio Rodriguez’ and operated as a Cuban company attached to CIMEX, offering recording, mixing and mastering services for musical productions and serving as a record label.