The Cuban Regime is Not Afraid of Any Song

The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, at one point in the video clip of the song ‘Patria y Vida’. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yaiza Santos, Madrid, 27 May 2021 — The desperate war of songs unleashed by the Cuban Government after the release of the song Patria y Vida, which since February has added more than five million views on YouTube and which immediately became an opposition slogan inside and outside the Island, has gone from pathos to perversity with the theme that celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the Ministry of the Interior(Minint), released this Tuesday.

The same ministry that, through State Security, the National Revolutionary Police and other undercover agents, besieges activists, independent journalists and any citizen who makes public a minimum dissent against the communist regime, the Orwellian Minint itself, becomes a pop singer and presents Cuba es cierta (Cuba is True).

According to the agency itself in a statement, Lieutenant Colonel Dixan Marrero Jorge, author of the lyrics, won a contest launched at the end of 2020 as an “opportunity for the strong movement of amateur artists” within the agency. The jury was chaired by Israel Rojas, a member of the Buena Fe duo, who also orchestrated the song and who, in March,  had already issued an official song on Cuban vaccines, with the immense merit of fitting “bulb,, “container” and “dose” in something like a light song.

The lyrics of the lieutenant colonel, in fact, have verses borrowed from that song, such as the “call to slaughter” of the chorus (“Cuba is true, as true as the call to slaughter”). The beginning of the song is slow, like the guitar plucking of Patria y Vida before Randy Malcom, from Gente de Zona, starts: “You are my siren song because with your voice my sorrows go away.” And with the insistence on ‘patria o muerte’ (homeland or death) taking a detour (“knee on the ground until the last breath”), the song makes a spurious use of the axes of the theme of Yotuel Romero and company: “life”, “hope” and “freedom.”

Do not strain, good grief, the pageant costume.

The Ministry of the Interior has no need for a song. The Ministry of the Interior forcibly removed from his home the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara — who appears in the video clip for Patria y Vida wrapped in the flag hanging from the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement in November — and has held him for 25 days, without explanations, in a psychiatric ward of the Calixto García Hospital in Havana. The Ministry of the Interior has disappeared Maykel ’El Osorbo’ Castillo after arresting him accused of false crimes. The Ministry of the Interior has threatened Eliexer El Funky Márquez in home confinement.The Ministry of the Interior has five peaceful protesters in prison for shouting “homeland and life” on Obispo Street.

All the technological and weapons display that appears in the clip of Cuba is True, the modern patrols, the immaculate uniforms, the fresh agents, it is not necessary. Cubans know well what works on their island, the only thing greased and fed for 62 years: repression.

And yet the Ministry of the Interior makes a song. It is something evil. But at the same time, it shows a weakness: it cannot compose anything that comes close to Homeland and Life. Nothing that excites the people who lie so much in vain and who, in addition, collect in their melody the rhythm of the times, from La Marseillaise to Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón, passing through Va pensieroGrândola, vila morena and Libertad sin iraAll of them, hymns of a transition, of an imminent change.

Think of the prickling skin when Alexander Delgado bursts in with his ragged voice: “It’s over.” Of Cuba is True, one can only tremble, and of terror, the verse “I am the eyes of the dawn.” The Ministry of the Interior has lost the war of the songs. What was that like?

“A beginning, right from the bottom of a cave, can do more than an army.” [A quote from José Martí]


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