“Motherland And Life”: A Rap Song That Infuriates The Cuban Regime

2021-02-22   |   by CusiGO

According to official Cuban history, during the revolution of the 1950s, one of the symbols of Fidel Castro and other guerrillas during the war was “homeland” or “death.”. A badge repeated millions of times in speeches, statues, or official propaganda, so famous until victory. But nearly 60 years later, a group of musicians dared to insult the official logo, and the Cuban government was furious that it failed to stop the digital spread of the song. All this began last week, Tuesday, February 16, when musicians released a song called “motherland” on multiple platforms. And life.

The songs of Cuban rapper maykel osorbo and El funky, who live on the island, as well as other musicians living outside Cuba, such as yotuel, locals and descemer buen, say: “we are the dignity of an entire people that has been trampled upon. With guns and words, we are still nothing.”. “There are no more lies, my people demand freedom, there are no more doctrines; let’s not cry ‘motherland or death’, but ‘motherland and life'”

“It’s going to be a free hymn,” he told trendy rapper cubanet in Havana. “It’s quite difficult to make a video because in this case, people don’t want to take risks. They don’t want to rent your lights, they don’t want to rent your cameras. Everything went well. In a house, under a huge mystery, we could hang up those black curtains so that we could take a video. Thank God, it came out. But you know, under pressure, everything is under pressure. ”

Although artists sing in the dark living room, the editing of the video is as important as the lyrics. It starts with the burning of a painting by the Cuban hero Jose Marty, with a dollar behind the ashes and the face of George Washington on it (“exchange cheguevara and Marty for money,” says the song about the power of the dollar). In the second half of the video, you can see the police suppressing the youth movement in San Isidro and the movement’s leader artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara embracing the Cuban flag: three weeks ago, Othello and rapper Merkel were temporarily detained after demonstrating to Parliament demanding the resignation of the culture minister.

“The world is aware that the San Isidro movement continues,” the song tells of hundreds of young people taking to the streets after rapper Daniel Solis was jailed last November to demand free speech on the island. The song talks about the importance of tolerating political differences on the island (“don’t bleed because you want to change your mind”), Or he criticizes the affluence of foreigners in Cuban resorts, as their citizens continue to seek to immigrate to the United States to get rid of abject poverty (“preaching paradise in varadello; when mothers cry for their children who have left”).

In less than a week, the song has been broadcast more than 1.5 million times on youtube, and although the Cuban government has been trying to control political speech on the Internet for years, it can’t stop the song from spreading like fire. “They want to delete our slogan and Cuba has turned it into the Internet,” Cuban President Miguel D í AZ canel tweeted on Friday.

On Thursday night, the government also managed to cut off normal broadcasting on the official channel so that the National Anthem could be broadcast at 9 p.m., and several articles in the official newspapers criticized the rappers’ songs. “This art smells like sulphur, and it originates from the will of those who at all costs attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty of a country from the most serious political intervention,” the official magazine of grama wrote, implying the so-called foreign interference in the island’s criticism. Another official article explains that “the text is an undisguised bet on the restoration of capitalism and the overthrow of the revolutionary regime.”.

The effort to suppress the rapper reinforces the song rather than condemns it. Last night, two independent activists (osmel Adri á n Rubio and anyell vald é s) wrote “motherland and life” in front of their home in Havana. Today, the regime’s security forces surrounded the house and cut off their Internet. “This song makes the regime so nervous,” Jose Miguel vivenco, head of Human Rights Watch, tweeted. Dita chalanzova, deputy speaker of the European Parliament, also shared the video.

“I think this song reflects the orphan situation in this country, and I can hardly find any president to respond to the slander of artists except Donald Trump. Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Alvarez told Le Nationale. “This situation reflects the vulnerability or fear of the Cuban government, which may think that a song composed by six or seven musicians endangers its political stability.”

This episode is a new chapter in the exciting political history of Cuban music, in which some singers maintain close ties with the regime (such as bard Silvio Rodriguez), others become symbols of Cuban exile (such as Queen Celia Cruz of SALSA), Recently, many young rappers living on the island have clashed with the government, and their lyrics are inspired by the most critical hip-hop music in the United States (for example, the rapper villagers now in Miami, who talked about Havana “exchanging Che Guevara for money” a few years ago).

There is a saying in the song of motherland and life: “it’s over, your May 9th, my double two; it’s over, the domino of 60 years.” This is a mystery: the number of the famous domino game on the island is 9, while there are only 6 domino games in other Caribbean countries. When there are no more chips to play, it will be in a daze. 59 is a glorious year for Fidel to win the war. Rappers appeal that this is the government’s record for 60 years, just to shout for the motherland or death and stop the competition. By contrast, rappers describe the future in this story: twice as much, either to strengthen the San Isidro movement in 2020 or to see a life and death Cuba in 2022.

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