Open Letter From an ‘Abnormal’ Follower to Israel Rojas of the Duo Buena Fe

Yoel Martínez and Israel Rojas, members of the duo Buena Fe. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Anabel Méndez Ruiz, Havana, 24 November 2021 — I still keep intact in my memory of the day I attended one of your concerts for the first time. To be honest, even though I had listened to your songs and found them great, I was more attracted to socializing with the young and intelligent audience that was chasing you everywhere. However, on that cold November night 13 years ago, in Havana’s Karl Marx Theater packed with people vehemently chanting your repertoire, I became one more fan, the sign was feeling my skin crawl with each song.

I identified with the double meaning developed in your songs and I left that place eager to build a better Cuba, a new Cuba. I thought so much that it was the beginning of a true social transformation in our beloved land, that at times I feared for you and your group. In order to support you, I traveled long distances just to see you and sing with you Catalejo, Nalgas, Pi 3.14, among others.  I was among the first row, we looked at each other several times and I sang along with your Dijo el diabloI confess that I also believed I was a wing in flight, although, apparently, not everything you believe ends up being so.

You’ve changed a long time ago, although you don’t want to publicly acknowledge it and you label as “abnormal” the people who, like me, once thought that Catalejo (Spyglass) was directed at the totalitarian and cruel system that oppresses and sinks us as a nation. I was offended, yes, a lot. But you know what? I remain at peace with myself. I prefer a thousand times more to be “a confused freak” who never understood what your songs were about than what you are today. Today I no longer believe in your good faith nor in Pi.

I felt terribly sad when I learned that on July 11 you were not there with me and the thousands of Cubans who took to the streets to ask for freedom. Even more disappointed when I saw you on television after those protests swearing to shed your blood alongside those powerful people who once considered you a danger, the same ones who now use you as a weapon against popular indignation.

You now proclaim yourself the “chief builder of the possible and the beautiful, while not allowing yourself to be trapped by the “foolishness and mongá” that an entire town demands. You dress up as a circus and you lend yourself to presenting the unpresentable by drawing a fake smile on your face. You suggest that the more than 600 political prisoners, including minors, are behind bars for nonsense. It would be more humane if you asked for the freedom of all of them, among which there are many of the followers of your music.

You use the double meaning of your songs to criticize at your convenience. Now you want us to believe that the target of these compositions is not the totalitarian system that misgoverns this country – the longest dictatorship in the hemisphere – but the large capitalist corporations that, in your opinion, “are the evil of every society.” Of course Israel, they are so bad that they are probably to blame for our fields not producing for more than 60 years, although at some point you wear yourself out saying that “nobody is to blame.”

I had to sell my Catalejo album to buy powdered milk for my children. I can no longer see the pinky on my foot, while yours was exchanged for a modern car, from where you now broadcast directly through Facebook. On the other hand, surely you use binoculars to monitor and pepper with your powerful lexicon anyone who disagrees and, perhaps incidentally, to catch by the neck and squeeze whoever dares to wear white and offer a rose to Martí.

Demanding your compatriots not to complain is cynical, especially doing it “from Mars or Pluto” where you have been located because of the official privileges you enjoy. The people who applauded you feel strangled by the situation that exists on this Island, but you don’t want to take it for granted because the headache and bad mood have passed from you, you no longer waste your time thinking about others, now you are only in the land to enjoy the perks of power.

Life is more than the “media constructions” that you denounce so much. It is also collaboration and love, struggle and freedom, something that under a dictatorship we cannot have.  I recommend to you, Israel, not to continue closing your eyes to the excesses of the One Party. Instead of disdaining those who believed in your songs, it would be good if you joined as a “heartfelt patchworker” to revive the heartbeat of this nation. We are not “abnormal,” we just believe that a Cuba where we all fit is possible.


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.