MUSIC: With Patria y Vida the Latin Grammys have already been politicized

And Luis Lacalle, the president of Uruguay, said: ‘I want to quote a very nice song’ “.

In the same room was Miguel Díaz-Canel, the president of Cuba.

“Let the blood not continue to flow for wanting to think differently, who told you that Cuba is yours …”, Lacalle read in the presence of dozens of presidents of state during the ECLAC session in Mexico.

At the end, Díaz-Canel asked for the floor and began by saying: “What bad taste he has …”.

This brief exchange featured the song Patria y Vida, composed by Cuban artists in exile in response to the repression on the island against the San Isidro Movement led by Cuban artists who demand political reforms in Cuba and which has shaped a global response that arrives this Thursday to the celebration of the Latin Grammy.

The song Patria y Vida, composed by Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona and Yotuel Romero, has been nominated for Best Song and Best Urban Song by the music academy.

Cuba present

Whether awarded or not, the presence of Cuba will be present during the ceremony when it is announced that the composers will present an acoustic version of the song, it is expected that the response will be overwhelming but that the real effects on the political situation in Cuba will be uncertain.

It is not the first time that Cuban artists living outside the island have led a movement of repudiation against the Cuban regime. One of the most visible has been the singer Gloria Estefan, who, supported by her overwhelming success with her husband Emilia, has made Miami a center for political demonstrations against the communist regime.

However, its impact has had scattered effects on the island, depending on the political relations between the US and Cuba. During the era of Barack Obama there was what for many was an advance in relations between the two countries. Policies were relaxed and there was greater cultural and artistic exchange. The artists traveled between the two countries without restriction. Greater political openness was expected but nothing happened. Faced with pressure from Republicans and the heavy hand of the Cuban exile in Florida, most of the reforms were reversed and endless requirements were requested for the migratory flow to continue.

Obama’s historic visit to Cuba was forgotten, under the presidency of Donald Trump, the policy against the island was hardened and, without a doubt, the Cuban regime continued to use the excuse of the blockade to implement greater control towards the interior.

Voices of protest

The arrival of the pandemic was not good news for the Díaz-Canel government. The largest source of foreign exchange, tourism, disappeared and, with it, a greater adjustment appeared in the already serious austerity. In this scenario, new voices of protest began to emerge.

Well-known and emerging artists took to the streets and were violently attacked by state security. Both Descemer, Gente de Zona and Yotuel have achieved world-renowned successes, the first two, thanks to their collaboration with artists such as Enrique Iglesias. And taking advantage of this showcase they composed a song that reflected the discontent not only of Cuban artists, but of a large part of the people.

Other Cuban artists residing on the island are also nominated, but they have not publicly declared themselves about the political situation in the country. These are: the legendary Omara Portuondo, Alaín Pérez, Isaac Delgado, the Orquesta Aragón and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among others.

Perhaps the synthesis of this demonstration is summarized by the Cuban writer, Leonardo Padura, who in the face of the demonstrations in favor of freedom, violence and the worldwide repercussion declared: “These cries deserve to be heard … we Cubans must resolve this.”

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MUSIC: With Patria y Vida the Latin Grammys have already been politicized