14ymedio, Havana, 1 March 2021 — The Cuban government’s musical response to the video clip Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life) has not been long in coming. Two weeks after the release of the song, which harshly criticizes the regime in Havana, the island’s official media have broadcast this Monday Patria o Muerte por la Vida (Homeland or Death for Life) a replica to the rhythm of the conga and loaded with slogans.
The theme premiered on Cubadebate’s YouTube channel sung by the troubadour Raul Torres, the singers Annie Garcés, Dayana Karla Divo and Monier, along with rapper Yisi caliber. They all sing and dance with the Cuban flag in the background.
The title of the song, a slogan devised by Fidel Castro more than six decades ago, is a clear answer to the theme Patria y Vida, a collaboration of the duo Gente de Zona, Yotuel Romero and Descemer Bueno, with the musicians Maykel Castillo Osorbo and El Funky, which has caused a furor in the networks and is spread clandestinely within Cuba.
Torres, dressed in a guayabera, is the author of lyrics that constantly allude to the artists who participated in Patria y Vida : “It makes the shit profitable / The empire’s foolishness / It makes it profitable to lie / and confuse the people,” it says and assures that “the Revolution has more than 62,000 millennia left.”
The musician also does not miss an opportunity to advertise the vaccine candidates Soberana and Abdala. “Say what you want about me, all of it, I’m vaccinated. To the machete with Mambisa,” he warns.
“The lyrics are disgusting, they incite hatred, but I must say that they thought well of the music to get it out,” a musicologist told 14ymedio after seeing the video clip. “If this is the answer, I don’t think it will become a viral phenomenon as it happened with the other song. What young man is going to want to have all those slogans on his cell phone?”
The lyrics had already been published on February 18 by Cubadebate, which warned that it was a about a theme against an “anti-Cuban song.” “They have lost face again / The offenders of the people,” it says in one of his stanzas.
After seeing the video, highly criticized in some sectors on social networks, a Cuban singer who preferred not to identify himself told this newspaper: “That conga is actually a repudiation rally with music.”
Some network users have pointed out that the video clip tries to respond to that of Patria y Vida through symbolism. Thus, it resorts to the presence of numerous women, absent in its antagonist; the use of greater luminosity in front of the dark environment of Patria y Vida and the size of the flag, greater in the regime’s version.
In just two hours, the audiovisual accumulated more than 10,000 views on YouTube and more than a thousand “I do not like” in contrast to about 90 “I like.” According to the note that accompanies the video clip, the premiere on national television was scheduled for this Monday on the Roundtable TV program.
The singer-songwriter Raúl Torres has become the official musician closest to the Cuban Government and his presence at public events is frequent. He is the author of Cabalgando con Fidel, a song that sounded widely in the official media after the death of the former president. He also composed El Último Mambí, in honor of Raúl Castro; and El regreso del amigo, written for Hugo Chávez.
For its part, the song Patria y Vida continues to grow in popularity, with more than 2.5 million views on YouTube since it was released two weeks ago. In social networks, the phrase has become a label and has also been painted on some house facades and walls in some cities.
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