Silvio Rodriguez Calls the Leadership in Power in Cuba a ‘Sect’ and Laments the Conviction of Lescay

Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez has once again made statements questioning the Díaz-Canel government. (La Tercera)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 13 April 2022 — The greatest troubadour of the Revolution, Silvio Rodríguez, raises the tone in his criticism of the Cuban regime by describing the Government of Miguel Díaz-Canel as a “sect” and coming out in defense of the young musician Abel González Lescay, recently sentenced to six years in prison after demonstrating in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, on July 11.

On Monday, Rodríguez published on his blog, Segunda Cita, the post of an economist on the necessary measures to straighten out the economy, starting with the reduction of excessive bureaucracy. The singer-songwriter is the first to leave a comment on the post, and he expresses his own opinion thus: “I have no faith that verticality will be rectified. As I have said other times, it is still a very small group of people, practically a sect, that makes decisions,” he laments.

The troubadour continues his argument by pointing out that the new imposition of the requirement that Cubans traveling through countries such as Panama and the Dominican Republic must have transit visas shows that the United States – which he refers to without naming it – presses to prevent informal trade that, in his opinion, would relieve the island and he believes that the intention is “that the pot continues to gain pressure.”

However, Rodríguez does not exempt the current leadership of the Party and the State from responsibility. “But it does not seem that we are learning that customs and borders must be made as flexible as possible, even though it is proven that this opening solves the survival of more and more people. And while “youth flee en masse,” what “miracle are we waiting for?” he demands.

The more than one hundred comments on the post, among friends and followers, stick to the economic and ideological debate, many from different positions but in a relaxed atmosphere. Until Walter Frías, a university professor, sends the link to the note released this Monday by the University Council of the University of the Arts (ISA) regarding the letter sent by the Facebook group FreeAbelLescay in which he asked the head of State for a reversal of the sentence against the young student.

The note attacked the group head-on, accusing it of carrying out “campaigns that seek to discredit the Revolution” despite the fact that the institution has maintained, according to Lescay himself, a behavior of support and respect towards its student. The musician, who reiterated his thanks to ISA, accused the editors of the note as being “shameless” and “ass kissers.”

The statement from ISA also said that there were representatives of the institution who “attended the oral trial” of Lescay and “attested to the practice of all constitutional guarantees.”

Thus, Silvio Rodríguez reacts to the message demanding that the process be broadcast on television if there is really nothing to fear. “If they don’t want the facts for which the young Abel Lescay has been ordered to serve six years in prison to be ’simplified’, they should clearly explain those facts or put the trial on television, so that it can be seen. Giving attention to a university student involved in a criminal trial is nothing extraordinary; it is a duty of the University,” replies the singer-songwriter.

Rodríguez, who had already been in favor of reversing the high prison sentences for the peaceful demonstrators  of July 11, yesterday emphasized on the specific case of Lescay. “Hopefully in the current appeal there will be enough courage to rectify the error, if there is one, in the very high sanction requested by the Prosecutor’s Office,” says the singer-songwriter. In reality, the six years in prison are the sentence of the court, since the Prosecutor’s Office requested one year more than that in prison. What does exist is, as Rodríguez says, the possibility of modifying the sentence at a higher level.

The troubadour closes that message by adding “Long live free Cuba. Down with the blockade,” but according to his statements in recent years, Rodríguez’s faith is cracking. The artist has directed multiple criticisms at the decisions of the Díaz-Canel government, although he had already rejected some of Raúl Castro’s policies and has even admitted that the “revolutionary offensive” of 1968 did “a lot of damage to the Cuban people.”

Although he has not stopped defending the socialist state and criticizing the US “blockade,” in recent times he has not stopped suggesting that the regime has not been able to be efficient so that it is not affected by foreign economic measures.

“We cannot spend our lives believing that everything we cannot do is because there is a very powerful neighbor that blocks us and prevents us from doing things. If in 60 years we have not been able to develop a creativity that overcomes the blockade, we are in the wrong,” he said in an interview with an Argentine media outlet at the beginning of the year.


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