HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities came down hard on a well-known jazz-fusion musician Roberto Carcasses for the unspecified crime of criticizing the government and asking for free access to information during an official event.
Carcasses published his response today on the Interactivo band’s facebook site. He said a government official told him that it would impose an “indefinite sanction” that bans his presence from all Cuban cultural institutions.
The 41-year-old musician surprised the public a few days ago when he asked for “free access to information” and the right to “elect the president by direct vote” at a pro-government mass rally in front of the US Interests Section in Havana.
At the nationally televised concert held Thursday night as part of a campaign demanding the release of four Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the US since 1998, Carcasses also mentioned Cuba’s political dissidents, asking that all Cubans enjoy the same rights.
“I want them to release the ‘five heroes’, and to release Maria. Free access to information so I can have my own opinion. Elect the president by direct vote and not by any other means” were some of the improved lines sung by the musician.
“The blockade must end and the self-blockade too, please. Neither militants nor dissidents, all Cubans with the same rights,” added the pianist and composer.
Interactive performed at the end of the multi-band concert for the Cuban Five at the “Antiimperalist Plaza”. The five intelligence agents were arrested in 1998 in the United States. Four of them are still in jail, convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and other charges.
According Carcassés, a Culture official called him to a meeting the following day to hear his explanation and accused him of being “opportunistic.”
“He told me ( … ) that my statements were not in line with the Cuban Revolution, that it was not the place for that, that it was opportunistic and therefore I was banned indefinitely from all cultural institutions,” the jazz musician said in his statement.
The pianist, however, stuck to his criticism.
“As much as I see the video and reread what I said, I do not see why my ideas do not conform to the line of the Cuban Revolution , if we are trying to improve our system and if it takes courage to harm yourself saying what you think,” he said.
“Perhaps I was wrong to expect that my words would provide an image of tolerance and evolution of the current Cuban government,” he added.
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