Silvio Rodriguez Continues With His Very Personal Process of ‘Rectification of Errors’

Silvio Rodríguez at his concert in Madrid last October. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 14 February 2022 — The “Revolutionary Offensive of 1968” has done a lot of damage to the Cuban people, according to Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, who is once again critical of some aspects of Cuba’s historical and current ruling power in an interview with the Argentine news agency Télam.

The troubadour affirms that the US embargo must stop being used as a pretext, since many things have been done wrong or, simply, they have not been done. “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 wrong” Rodriguez argues.

The singer-songwriter maintains that, in the same way that science has been strengthened thanks to a strong initial investment — which he attributes to Fidel Castro – the same thing could have been done with other sectors and that now it is time to reverse “historical errors” such as the extreme interventionism carried out.

The journalist urges Rodríguez to confirm what he has said about the so-called Revolutionary Offensive and asks him if it was a mistake. “Yes, it was a mistake. Because it was like wanting to skip stages. As we were starting the relationship with the socialist camp, we said: ‘We are going to establish a type of trade that, because we are underdeveloped and coming to the table late they are obliged to be more supportive’ But that was a form of dependency,” he explains.

The troubadour even points out that there are industries that were prosperous and that sank with this policy and cites the sugar industry. “The Revolution made mistakes and we are paying for them,” he repeats.

Silvio Rodríguez speaks of the struggle between the reformist and orthodox sectors, two conflicting currents in the ruling party, although it is never talked about publicly.

Among the first, the troubadour places Díaz-Canel, despite the regression in rights that is taking place, because of his commitment to science. The artist believes that the closing of ranks that occurred in the face of “aggressions” in the first years of the Revolution caused great damage by becoming intolerance. “We got used to being like that. That benefited us, on the one hand, because it protected us. But it also hurt us, because it malformed us in some way,” he says.

Rodríguez admits to being aware that young people, to a great extent, are distanced from the Revolution and emigrate because they believe that they do not have opportunities on the Island. “It is assumed that the Revolution was made for the young, so that they could flourish, so that there would be a future for them. It is sad to see that our limitations led to the opposite: in some senses, there are young people who feel that they have no future in Cuba,” he comments.

Among that group, although he is already close to 40 years old, would be his son Silvito el Libre, who is a critic of the ruling party and about whom the 75-year-old troubadour speaks. “He is not so free, and nor am I so imprisoned. When you see him one day, ask him why I say that,” he says, and although he openly admits their political discrepancies, he points out that this does not get in the way of the mutual affection they feel.

“He and I never talk about the issues that separate us. We always talk about the things that unite us, family affection, solidarity, identity, the two granddaughters I have on his side. I do not agree with many things that he raises and he does not agree with things that I have said or what I do and think. But we have never fought, nor are we going to fight over that,” he defends.

Rodríguez also refers to Pablo Milanés – the interview was conducted before Milanés’s daughter Suylen died – a friend despite the opinions and life experiences of both regarding politics. According to Rodríguez, Milanés joined the Revolution despite having “suffered a lot” for it. The singer, as the publication recalls, spent almost two years in the Military Units to Aid Production (Umap), under an extremely severe work regimen, and two months in La Cabaña.

Rodríguez does shy away from positioning himself against the regimes of Nicaragua and Venezuela when the journalist gives him the opportunity to do so. Although the troubadour responds that “reality is very different from what was dreamed,” he goes on to affirm that Lenin’s predictions have come true and that not only has imperialism not fallen, but fascism is coming as the last of its stages. “Everything that is happening in the United States, even at the level of consciousness of large sectors, points to a kind of outbreak of fascism.”

The singer-songwriter also addresses the concept of large-scale solidarity, which he considers impossible, since the world is mostly capitalist and its system is supported by banks, although there are people who show solidarity. The counterweight, in his opinion, could be the socialist countries but this has not been demonstrated yet since, he affirms, China is the example that its system harms the environment.

“We would have to see what would happen if the whole world became socialist. Because there are countries that have very strong aspects of socialism, like China, and yet it is one of those that does the most damage to nature,” he argues.

It is not the first time that Rodríguez has been critical of some aspects of the Cuban regime of which he has been, and continues to be, one of its greatest propagandists in the artistic field. Last October, during a trip to Spain where he offered a massive concert at the Wizink Center in Madrid, he promoted a huge donation of medical supplies that left San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) last weekend and will arrive in Cuba in March.

The shipment, which contains antibiotics, antipyretics, anti-inflammatories, surgical and examination gloves, catheters, masks, epis, syringes and face shields, is valued at 300,000 euros and its organizers affirmed that it will not be the only one.

Among the donors, according to Prensa Latina, are the association MediCuba Spain; the Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba José Martí; the Miguel Hernandez of Alicante; Euskadi-Cuba; that of solidarity and cooperation Ernesto Guevara, of Torrejón de Ardoz; Hispanic-Cuban Friendship of Malaga; the Communist Party of Spain and the Defensem Cuba platform of Catalonia.


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