Silvio Rodriguez Will Ask for ‘Amnesty’ for Cubans Arrested Who ‘Were Not Violent’

The government-supporting Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, in 2019. (EFE / Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 July 2021 — The playwright and actor Yunior García Aguilera said that Silvio Rodríguez promised to “advocate for the release of all the prisoners who participated in the protests.” The young artist met the official singer-songwriter this Wednesday in his recording studios – called Ojalá for its most famous song – after having urged him to do so through an “open letter to the owner of a lost unicorn.”

García Aguilera himself commented about the meeting on his networks, in which, he says, “neither invited the other to renounce their positions or principles.”

“We are focused on how to contribute, right now, to the good of Cuban society, as a whole,” wrote the playwright, who asserted that the singer “pledged” in front of him and the wives of each of them, to advocate for the detainees. “He gave his word, convincingly, that he will do everything in his power to achieve that goal,” Garcia Aguilera said.

Silvio Rodríguez, however, qualified this commitment in his version of the meeting, also published on Facebook. After referring, without further details, to an occasion in which he requested amnesty for prisoners in the so-called Anti-Imperialist Tribune, thanks to which, supposedly, 70 prisoners were released, he said: “I do not know how many prisoners there will be now, they say hundreds. I ask the same for those who were not violent and I keep my word.”

For the singer, “the most painful” part of the meeting, which he described as “good” and “fraternal,” was “hearing that they, as a generation, no longer felt part of the Cuban process but something else.” He did not allude to an announcement that García Aguilera had made in his post: the coming together of both in “a project (in due course it will be made public) that could serve for the beginning of a truly plural, inclusive, civic, respectful and broad debate.”

In the letter sent to Rodríguez via social networks, García Aguilera told him that he would have loved “that on November 27, when hundreds of young people went in search of a real and transformative dialogue, you would have come with your guitar, to sing with us , in the midst of so much uncertainty.”

“From time to time you surprise us with genuinely revolutionary opinions (in the deep sense of that term) and you return to mend our dreams and hopes,” he questioned. “But I’ll be honest: other times you raise an unbridgeable chasm between your utopias and ours. Not everything you say is a lie, nor is what many of my friends and I defend a lie.”

For this reason, he asked him: “Give us those 15 minutes that the ICRT denied us,” in reference to the demonstration of some artists on July 11 in front of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, artists who ended up imprisoned by the Police.

On his social networks, Yunior García has been very critical of the repression of the regime since last July 11, showing solidarity with those detained after the protests. “How dictatorships are alike! It does not matter what color they are presented to us or with what hand they give the orders!” he wrote this Tuesday.

Two days earlier, he sent a harsh message to “the silent left” that defends the Cuban government in the world. In it, he ruled that the power in Cuba, which he describes as “sinister”, “is not on the left.” “The state monopoly capitalism in Cuba uses the word ’socialism’ to support a class dictatorship that despises the poor,” he argued in his post. On July 11, he continued, the Government mobilized the military and Black Berets “to defend their stores in foreign currency, their air-conditioned offices, their cars, their mansions with swimming pools, their positions, their privileges. And they sent a group of poor Cubans to repress other Cubans who have nothing.”

In addition, he notes that “the Power cut off our internet, threw us in trucks, in patrol cars, locked up hundreds of us (there are no official figures) and then came out with the greatest cynicism in Cuban history to deny in front of the world a social outbreak unprecedented in this archipelago, in almost 100 years … of solitude.”

In Cuba there is no democracy, he declared, “neither socialist nor of any other kind,” and told socialist sympathizers that “Cuba is more complex than a semi-destroyed colonial Havana where you walk around in a convertible with a cigar, a mulatto woman and a Che shirt … Let’s grow up! — The United States is not interested in sending its troops to this country, we don’t have oil!” he wrote. “The bourgeois with Bolshevik berets and the Cuban thinki tanks have sold them a soap opera that has nothing to do with the reality of this country.”

When most of García Aguilera’s friends, he said, fleeing Cuba, hear the word left, “their stomachs turn over.” When they hear it, “they remember the failed, controlling, inefficient, corrupt, fake, macho, vigilant system … that made them jump into a sea full of sharks, that made them cross the Central American jungles looking for LIBERTAD [sic],” a word that, he asserts, cannot coexist with “left.”


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