Audience Shouts ‘Freedom’ During Carlos Varela Concert in Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum

Carlos Varela’s performance this Saturday in Havana, when cries of “freedom” were heard. (Arbol Invertido)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2022 — Cries of “libertad” [freedom] crept in on more than one occasion during Carlos Varela’s performance this Sunday at the Havana World Music Festival, at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum in Havana.

The audience chanted the word at two moments, first when he finished singing Foto de familia, and later when he was interpreting La feria de los tontos [The Fair of Fools], according to what concert attendees shared with this newspaper. At the end of his performance, the singer-songwriter shouted “Viva Cuba libre” and thanked the organizers – with Eme Alfonso at the head – of the event, whom he praised for “having the ovaries” to invite him to sing in Cuba.

Text in tweet: It’s thrilling… the young people shouting “Libertad” [Freedom] from the Sports City Coliseum in Havana… it is the roar of a people silenced by repression and prison… the night will not be eternal! #Libertad

The singer-songwriter Carlos Varela became the musical spokesman for the desire for change in Cuba, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the winds of perestroika and glasnost arrived from the USSR, which allowed the countries of Eastern Europe break free from Moscow’s influence.

At that time, his song Guillermo Tell [William Tell] became an anthem, where he talks about the need for a generational change of power in Cuba. This, along with other themes such as Jalisco Park, were not only manifestations of the desire for democracy in Cuba, they also portrayed the reality at that time, during what called the ‘Special Period’.

Text in Tweet: According to sources who attended the Saturday concert in the Ciudad Deportiva, #Havana, the public screamed #LIBERTAD [Freedom] during the Carlos Verala @noeselfin concert as in the ’80s and ’90s he was in favor of the majority demanding change in #Cuba.

These positions led to ostracism and censorship. Varela has frequently been away from major Cuban events and his participation in this concert, in which Buena Fe and Haydée Milanés were also present, is striking. The official press, which covered the activity, barely mentioned the artist and did not, as might be expected, mention the exciting moment when the word “freedom” was heard shouted from the stands.


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