“Homeland and Life”: The Hymn That Calls For Reason

There is no shame in “Homeland and Life,” nor is there a lack of patriotism, quite the opposite

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Raudel García Bringas, Washington, 21 February 2021 — “Homeland and Life” has been, by far, the most popular news in the official Cuban media in its futile desire to annihilate the performers of this great music video, the same people who have been successful representatives of national music for years.

Could one think that they were excellent in one performance, while in another they have now been traitors to the homeland that gave us birth, bought by that imaginary and eternal enemy that is so despised but that at the same time is essential for life?

The slogans have been a hallmark of the Cuban system. The now-worn official slogan of “be continuity” necessarily contains a question: continuity of what? What do they defend? Does what they stand for make sense or is it worth it, if they even know what ‘it’ is?

“Homeland or death” was a slogan that Fidel Castro imposed on the Cuban people, but not on him or his family. “Homeland or death” does not suit the Castro family, which has luxuries, yachts, fortunes and the good life that the people are not allowed. It would be another task altogether to find out which motto would suit them best.

“Homeland or death” is not a motto for Miguel Diaz-Canel, who wears expensive and luxurious garments, totally inaccessible on the salary of any Cuban professional. “Homeland or death” is not the motto for the small group of key sectors of the Government that enjoy other kinds of benefits.

Obviously, it is better for them to “be continuity” than to think about that other gloomy and dire statement of death to which none of them is willing to succumb. The latter is rather for the masses whom they prefer not to think about or interpret.

It remains for the automatons, those military agents of all branches who do not enjoy the privileges of their superiors. Those others who have to keep shouting: “Homeland or death” to keep their small monthly benefits, their bag with oil and chicken, or their card allowing them twenty liters of gasoline a month. And others do the same for much less than that. And in these people’s minds is the conception that one cannot be different without being “an employee of the CIA,” as all of us who do not agree with them tend to be called.

“Homeland or death” does not evoke anything to be proud of. Beyond what it could say, it makes us reflect on millions of Cubans who have had to leave their homes, their families, and go into exile.

It reminds us of the loss of rights and of terror, when the repressive apparatus of the regime has been in charge of fabricating cases, and the overcrowding of the prisons with thousands of young Cubans who were only trying to find ways to survive. It reminds us of the victims of the March 13 tugboat, who were not mercenaries or terrorists, just people who wanted to flee like many others.

It reminds us today, with the “Ordering Task*,” that there is a lack of everything necessary for life because our salaries are still insufficient and the main products can only be purchased in a currency, the dollar, which workers do not receive. With the Ordering Task, it is no longer a matter of living decently, rather it is about surviving in the face of “save himself who can” or dying, as the motto says.

There is no shame in “Homeland and Life,” nor is there a lack of patriotism, quite the opposite. “Patria y Vida” is a much more rational and positive anthem than the nonsense of a “continuity” without a clear direction.

*Translator’s note: Tarea ordenamiento = the [so-called] ‘Ordering Task’ which is a collection of measures that includes eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and others. 


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.