Cuban Salsa Singer Manolin Asks Castros to Retire

Manolin.  Foto: de su página en Facebook.
Manolin. Foto: de su página en Facebook.

HAVANA TIMES — Manuel González Hernández, known in the music world as Manolín the Doctor of Salsa, suggests that the Castro brothers and the people of their generation retire, saying they are out of step with the times.

“To Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, and all those who fought with them and are still in power, take it easy, don’t bother anymore, it’s easier,” he said in a message posted on his Facebook page titled “It’s not personal, it’s the law of life.”

“You have to give way to the young,” said the musician noting that the younger generations are “closer to the truth as you were at the time.”

“You have clung to the idea that only you can do and undo things in our country, and you are causing a huge damage to Cuba,” said Manolín.

“The very old (…) are hardest hit by life (…) and there are disappointments, prejudices, frustration, resentment, the accumulation of many enemies (…) you do not function the same, and I’m not talking about 60 or 70 year olds, since you are almost 90 and should rest,” he added.

“Young people come fresh, unbiased (…) with hard drives full of ideas and joy, they see life differently.”

Fidel and Raul Castro at a Cuban parliament session in 2013.  Photo:

Manolin further advised the island’s leaders, “You shouldn’t decree that anyone with other ideas is a traitor, and that betrayal is paid with life. That’s nonsense; that’s killing the country’s heart and soul. It neutralizes progress, binding the country by hand and foot so it cannot advance. It is like giving a shot in the temple to the Cuban nation,” he said.

“You mustn’t put yourselves as the center and absolute reference, don’t put yourselves above the country,” he noted.

If you “retire” he told the Castros, it will open “a new era for our country (…) and going with you, will be many enemies we have gained along the way, rightly or wrongly, but enemies in the end.”

“There is another way to recognize their [the leaders] merits, and not exactly by keeping them in power at any cost and forever, or by saying they are right about everything. Nobody should be above the country, neither they, nor anyone else,” said the musician.

The Doctor of Salsa returned to Cuba in October 2013 after residing 12 years in Miami and trying several times to get the Cuban government to let him return, noted Diario de Cuba.

“Before in Cuba I didn’t agree with almost anything and protested almost everything. One day I went to United States and found that there too I didn’t agree with almost anything and protested for almost everything, and besides, it wasn’t my country,” he said last year.

“One day I said to myself: I’m going back to my country, knowing I won’t agree with almost anything and will protest almost everything, but with the difference that I will be in my country. That’s what I did, and here I am happy.” he added.

30 thoughts on “Cuban Salsa Singer Manolin Asks Castros to Retire

  • All elections in Cuba only allow one party. You may consider those so elected as being the choice of the people but you are ignoring the fact that there is NO CHOICE! How much experience do you personally have of Cuba? Cuba is in bondage. How are you privileged to know that Fidel has no influence upon little brother Raul? Accusing others with personal knowledge of ignorance when apparently – and it is apparent – that you have never even been to Cuba is crass to say the least. As you obviously would like to be informed about Cuba you should go and stay there for a month or preferably more – but keep your mouth shut in case the CDR catch up with you until you return to freedom where you and I can say what we think without risk of imprisonment. How do you justify the lack of free speech in Cuba Mr. Goodrich – do you favour the introduction of free media? Do you favour full UN human rights in Cuba? Do you favour mutli-party elections in Cuba? Come clean!
    Never bother with quotes of various authors just give your own opinions. Thanks in advance!

  • The truth is that all Dictators are bad. That includes Batista, Stalin, Franco, Breschnev, Big Brother Fidel and little brother Raul, Pinochet, Kim Jung Un, Bashar Asad, Mugabe, Kruschev, etc. Poor Cuba has suffered a surfeit of dictatorship and the current generations know nothing of experiencing true freedom. However they yearn to possess it. The old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is correct.

  • I guess you want to ignore the fact, I can’t do anything about that, read, educate yourself, you don’t even know how to interpret the links you post!

  • I suppose next we’ll see an HT article where The Miami Sound Machine is recommending solutions to Cuba’s agrarian problems.

  • Yeah sure,
    IF Fidel or Raul were to be blamed by most Cubans for their problems this MIGHT be the case .
    Most Cubans know that for 54 years the GOUSA has been making their lives as miserable as possible .
    Unlike most people in the United Snakes, the Cuban people know that since the end of WWII, the GOUSA has attempted the overthrow of more than 60 countries’ governments and the crushing of more than 30 nationalist/populist movements .
    ( source: “Rogue State: William Blum” -check out the website for the list of countries )
    So , my friend, the problem is not Cuba nor its revolution, nor its government that is the problem for the Cuban people and the world.
    It is the 100 year old U.S. imperialist foreign policy .

  • The Cubans hold regular municipal elections . The municipal , provincial and national assemblies also hold regular elections.
    The electoral system is called Poder Popular ( People Power) .
    You might want to read a book or two on it so that you don’t appear quite as ignorant as you do.
    Were I you I would not bet the ranch that Diaz-Canel will succeed Raul.
    Fidel has completely stepped away from being part of the government’s decision making processes and only those who fail to notice his declining powers and have an anti-Fidel axe to grind would say he makes Raul’s decisions for him,
    The failings of capitalism are what brought about the Cuban and a great many other attempted revolutions so you really don’t have a clue that neo-liberal capitalism has not , does not and cannot work in developing Third World countries.
    Unfortunately for you, the Cuban people know what you don’t .They have lived under totalitarian neo-liberal capitalism and the present totalitarian Cuban state economy . and by a wide margin prefer to keep what they have now even under the harsh conditions imposed by the U.S. embargo which was specifically put in place to make life so difficult for all Cubans that they would overthrow their own revolution..
    In every election held in Cuba some 90-95% of eligible voters participate utilizing secret ballots so no one knows who voted for whom .
    They do not have to vote and were they to feel about their revolution and government as you do, they wouldn’t bother voting OR they would cast a defaced ballot OR write in Batista’s name .
    They don’t do this.
    You know what?
    I’m not going to waste my time batting back your soft lob errors
    Do yourself a favor and do some reading and fact finding that is not limited to Fox News and the like.
    Your stuff reads like a State Department release or a Limbaugh recital .
    Try reading ZNet .
    Have you looked at the “Killing Hope ” website as I recommended ?
    Please….just read the introduction to get some grasp on the reality of the U.S . foreign policy in force here.
    This is a history about which you know little or nothing.
    For instance: did you know that the United States invaded the (nascent) Soviet Union in 1918 ?
    Can you guess why ?
    Then tell me where I ( and author Blum) are incorrect .
    apitalism and the state economy

  • Note that the statistics are those of a U.S. corporate media outlet and for that reason do not mention income equality, how the poor of Cuba rarely got to eat meat and never saw a doctor nor finished school .
    Those of us on the (real) left call PBS ….Public Bull Shit and NPR…… National Pentagon Radio because of their content .
    What I do believe is the 30% poverty rate because that is right on the money in that just about all neo-liberal capitalist economies have that same poverty rate.
    What is deliberately not discussed is that averages do not reflect the depths of poverty nor the inequality of income/wealth distribution in capitalist economies.
    IMO- you can judge in whose interest a particular media outlet is operated by the daily broadcast of the financial news ( the Dow-Jones average, the foreign exchanges ) , that in which only the wealthy have any interest) and the rarely aired -infrequent airing of the unemployment and job losses and declining lifestyles that affect the working and poor classes.which is about 90%of us.
    Neither is it in the interest of the oligarchy in the USA to present the truth of pre-revolutionary conditions in Cuba for obvious reasons.
    Given the slant of the corporate media one would think that there was no good reason for the Cuban Revolution.
    That is, if one were idiot enough to believe the corporate media on U.S. foreign policy in the first place.

  • Hey rodrigvm!! Are you avoiding me dear?? Did you happen to see my last statistics with a link dear? You got something to share dear?

  • For those of us who love Cuba and study it seriously without hate or partisanship this is the outcome….Just read pp. 450-452 and the lie the mafia cubana spread about “La vieja Cuba” will dissipate.

    On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality and Culture Univ of North Carolina Press, 1999

    It is fascinating to me how many exiled Cubans live in a
    dream that was a nightmare for most peasants in Cuba.

    Reading is a good thing, extracting data from the internet
    even if it’s from “official sources” without background information leads to “errors
    garrafales” just like the ones you share.

    Sugar production and export was declining in 1922, Cuba exported 5 millon tons of Sugar with a population of 3 million, in 1956 exported 5.1 million with a population of 6.5 million exactly what Fidel was
    challenging the monoculture economy in the hands of a few white Cubans.

    “The purchasing power of exports between 1952 and 1956 remained at approximately the same levels as thirty years earlier. In other words, Cubans were worse off in the 1950s than they were in the 1920s.”!!! p.

    On a small improvement achieved in the 50s:

    “United Nations Economic Commission in 1955, “and
    particularly during the post war period, constitutes in large measure, a mere return to the income levels attained in Cuba in the past” and “Cuba is living in –and on– the past and weakened by events beyond her control.” pp. 451

    “The present per capita income is only slightly above that of the early 1920s…” International Bank for Reconstruction and Development p.

    The US department of commerce: “Per capita income in the 1950s was influx, moving irrevocably if irregularly downward. Between 1957 and 1958 per capita income declined again , this time by nearly 10 per cent from $370 to $355.” P. 451

    ‘The economy could not absorb the 1,200 young men and women graduating every year from the University of Havana.” P. 451

    If this was the middle class imagine the working class and peasants. That is why the middle class supported Fidel.

  • In my reading of a number of histories of Cuba I discovered that the official Castro-regime approved histories were false. The reality was much more complex and contradictory than the conventional story tell it.

    Following the coup against Machado in 1933, Batista headed the military junta which had significant influence over the Cuban government for the next 7 years, but his power was not absolute. The presidential Pentarchy & included politicians who sometimes clashed with Batista & the military. During this era, Batista’s power & influence fluctuated and grew, but he was not the president, nor was he a dictator.

    Batista was elected in a free & fair election in 1940, as a member of the Democratic Socialist Coalition. He was supported by the Communist-run trade unions. He stepped down from 1944 when Ramon Grau of the Athentico Party (not Batista’s party, by the way) was elected, followed by Carlos Prio in 1948, also from the Athentico. During this period, Batista was not a dictator of any sort, he had been elected into office, and then left office when the presidency was held by another party.

    Batista’s era as dictator began in 1952 when he lead a coup and seized power. That era ended when he fled Cuba in December 31, 1958.

    This is why it is a fact that Batista was dictator for less than 8 years. However, if you want to stretch that term out of all meaning, and insist that Batista held supreme power from the day he arrived in Cuban political scene in 1933 to the day he left in 1959, (and ignoring the fact he didn’t even live in Cuba from 1945 to 1952) then he was “dictator” for just over 25 years. That’s still less than half the time the Castro brothers have been dictator of Cuba.

  • rodrigvm!! Maybe you should find a credible source to your statements and provide link! You know, like I do! Here are mos statistics to show that Cuba was par with Costa Rica and just behind Chile & Argentina in literacy dear! I have other documents that match these numbers.

    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 30)

    TABLE 5: Number and percentage of illiterates in the population 15 years old and COUNTRY: Year – Total number of persons – Cannot read and write – Per cent illiterate
    COSTA RICA: 1950 – 457,786 – 94,492 – 20.6%
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : 1950 – 1,185, 424 – 677,293 – 57.1%
    PANAMA: 1950 – 442 249 – 132,978 – 30.1%
    PUERTO RICO: 1950 – 1,255,328 – 335,799 – 26.7%
    ARGENTINA: 1947 – I I,318,896 –
    1,541,678 – 13.6%
    (could not find Cuba on this table)
    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 41)

    CUBA: 1950 – 3,400,000 – 680 to 850,000 – 20-25%

  • Quite right Griffin. Racism in Cuba is rife, led by the regime. Question number 6 in the 2012 Government Census was:
    What is the colour of your skin?
    There followed three choices;
    The regime is still using the 2002 census figures and says that only10.02% of the poulation is black. Obviously there can be no Indians and no Chinese in Cuba (based on the question). Ask anyone who has visited Cuba if they believe that only 10.02% of the population is black! Mixed race couples are stopped in the streets of Havana by the police and questioned. Being white is the preferred colour! I know!

  • I do live there! My home is in Cuba where I spend more than half the year, I spend a shorter part of the year in North America. The views I express reflect those of Cubans in a non-tourist destination city and friends in various parts of Cuba – both east and west. I do the shopping – ie: I wait at the empresa for bread, I buy fruit and vegetables from folks selling from their doorsteps, I also shop at the government and militarily owned shops and live in the dual economy system. My wife is a Cubana and profesionally a schoolteacher. How does that stack up against your own sources of information? Do please list! My contributions to the Havana Times blog are limited to when I am not in Cuba – for as you may know, Cubans do not have access to the Internet as the Castro regime controls all media information.
    Time to address reality rodrigvm don’t let the Castro regime propaganda fool you, it’s ‘quality’ is high and would have drawn admiration from Dr. Goebbels! Socialismo in reality leads to a dreary life for those subjected to it by compulsion and very many of them yearn for freedom – just like the people of those nations which were imprisoned by the Soviet regime.

  • Visit Cuba and talk with people, Cubans are very open to talking in favor or against….overwhelming support, you can’t have a system like that without support. Don’t believe the propaganda that millions of US dollars have created…Cuba is neither heaven or hell, somewhere in between, visit it and you will know…

  • So a dictators who is the power behind the throne is not a dictator? semantics! Batista never failed to have influence in Cuban politics, I suggest some better sources or talk with some of the viejitos….

  • Anyone who visited Cuba in the 1950s like my relatives did talked about the contrast between Habana and the rest of the country. These stats are flawed. Cuba always had one of the highest rates of inequality at the same time it had very modern sectors especially for the white population. As I said, read experts not mouthpieces for the Cuban mafia. Those who say there is poverty in Cuba should visit Central America and Mexico, Dominican Republic to see the children with their extended bellies, not from foo but from parasites. I have yet to see that in “poor” Cuba don’t compare US with Cuba is like comparing the US football team to the German team….

  • Analyser has got it wrong. It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the US who put pressure upon Batista to leave office by placing an embargo upon Cuba! By so doing he and the US actually aided Castro. The current embargo is not the first!
    North Americans freely visit Cuba – 45% of Cuba’s tourists 920,000 per year are from North America. It is only US citizens who are subjected to controls. Yes, the US Governments and many of those who help to elect them are guilty of myopia.

  • Raul Castro is due to retire in 2018 not 2016, leaving the power in the hands of Diaz-Canel his personal selection. There is no proof whatever that the people of Cuba support the Castro regime – no election in 55 years! The victims of both the Castro regime and the US embargo (note it is not as claimed by the regime a blockade and Cuba government agents purchase lots of product from the US – check the government shops) are the people of Cuba. Their increasing misery can only be relieved by the introduction of capitalism and many Cubans realise that. Even Raul has made tentative steps in that direction but is inhibited by Fidel who has continuously blamed capitalism for all his own failings. The much longed for future choice by Cubans will not be between Castro and Batista supported by the US. it will be between dictatorship and freedom.

  • The statistics Humberto cited did account for the rural poverty (approx 30%), and the profound cultural racial discrimination. The fact is there were many countries in Latin America with far worse poverty and more extreme racism.

    Today, the poverty in Cuba is universal, (party leadership and senior military excluded) and racism lives on.

  • Batista was a force behind the presidency from 1933 to to 1940, but not supreme. He was elected president in 1940 & then stepped down in 1944. He moved to New York for several years and had no influence in Cuban politics. In 1952, he ran for election and the struck with a coup. So the dictator Batista was in power for 7 years only.

    The dictator Fidel was in power for or 49 years, from 1959 to 2008.

    7 years vs 49 years.

  • Advice to the ” ‘Doctor’ of Salsa:” heal thyself! Preferably with one of Dr. Kavorkian’s machines.

  • let the revolution rise and rid itself of castro. give him the same justice that the italians gave mussolini .

  • Those statistics were not authentic and did not account for the rural poverty, or for racial differences….Batista may not have been in power directly but he was behing the throne for many years, read Cuban history pliiiis! Start with Louis Perez, not a communist…

  • He should go back to Miami, this lose is a loser anywhere he goes…

  • Manolin is not even a great singer and is definitely a bad political analyst. It has been Raul Castro, the former chief of the armed forces who has brought more changes to Cuba than his brother, go figure. I agree, step down Manolin and let other younger musicians to take your place.

  • Cuba was no hell hole dear! And Batista only lasted about 12 years on and off in power!


    Success by the Numbers Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility.


  • Ironically, I suspect many singers would regard Manolin as over the hill and that he should make way for those who are actually young.

  • But the US much preferred the days of Batista whereby ‘The Pearl of the Caribbean’, (CUBA) was their playground, wall to wall gambling den, brothel and doing just as they pleased.
    What is amazing is how so called intelligent beings can swallow all the propaganda fed to them by their trigger happy, war mongering so called leaders.
    As much as I love my excursions to Cuba, I shudder to think that North Americans will in my lifetime freely visit the Country.

  • OK, now here’s what Cubans say about this guy. He left Cuban for Miami and tried to make a go of it. He never rose to more than a lounge act or the back-up at a salsa festival. Frustrated and realizing that in Miami he would never achieve the fame that he had in Cuba before he left, he decided to pack up and go back home. Besides, he had saved a few coins so he was guaranteed to live a lot better in Havana the second time around. Worst case, he could always return to Miami. His comments reflect what 12 years in Miami will do to the Cuban mind. He is accustomed to speaking freely. Just about everybody I know in Cuba less than 50 years old feels exactly the same way but are afraid to say so publicly. It will be interesting to see how many concert gigs the Castros approve for him to play after these comments. He may even get a visit from guys in plaid shirts and no names who tell him to keep his mouth shut and to remind him that he doesn’t live in Miami anymore.

  • HELLO ????
    Is there anybody in there?
    (Just nod if you can hear me .)
    Fidel retired about six years ago .
    Raul is due to retire by 2016 at the latest .
    BUT…IMO Cuba’s systems will remain the same because the PEOPLE of Cuba choose to support their revolution and almost as important, oppose all U.S. attempts to have them return to the Batista days .
    If you want change in Cuba , you’d best work toward a change in the U.S. IMPERIALIST foreign policy FIRST.
    You need to stop blaming the victims and go after the criminals.
    You’ve lived in the heart of the beast and seen just some of its failings.
    some of its immoralities . It is far worse than most people can imagine. m
    and most people treat Uncle Sam’s predations as they traditionally have pedophile priests and incestuous fathers; by pretending that nasty history just never happened or that it , as horrific as it was and is , is done with the best of intentions.

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