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Thursday, December 9, 2021

‘Patria y Vida’ — Homeland and Life — Watchwords in Cuba’s Protests

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CARTAGENA, Colombia — “Patria y Vida.” Homeland and Life.

That chant has echoed this week as protesters took to the streets of Cuba within the greatest anti-government demonstrations the Caribbean island had seen in many years.

The phrases are the brainchild of the San Isidro Motion, a small group of grass-roots artists that shaped in 2018 to push again towards censorship by Cuba’s communist authorities. And they’re an inversion of the phrase “Patria o muerte” — “homeland or demise” — which has been embedded in Cuban tradition for many years. “Patria o muerte” was repeated usually by Fidel Castro, is graffitied on partitions in Havana, and emblazoned on cash.

“It’s been a really symbolic narrative utilized by the federal government for the reason that revolution, saying you have to sacrifice every part to your nation,” mentioned Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director of Amnesty Worldwide. “It’s a propaganda that continues for use by the federal government.”

Members of the dissident motion performed off these phrases in a rap music, “Patria y Vida,” earlier this yr. The music was created by the Cuban rapper Yotuel, the singer Descemer Bueno, the reggaeton group Gente de Zona, and different Cuban artists like Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Maykel Osorbo and DJ El Funky.

In a music video, Yotuel has the phrases painted on his chest in capital letters whereas Gente de Zona sing: “Now we don’t yell ‘Patria o Muerte,’ we yell “Patria y Vida.”

The music exploded within the island nation, seeming to permeate the overall consciousness of Cubans in the identical manner “Patria o Muerte” as soon as did.

“This music has became an emblem of the motion, into an emblem of freedom for Cubans who’re drained, who need change,” D.J. Eliecer Márquez Duany, or El Funky, mentioned in an interview.

Mr. Márquez Duany mentioned listening to the music because it rippled throughout the nation, and its lyrics chanted within the streets of Havana, gave a sense of hope.

The protests that erupted on Sunday had been spurred by the financial disaster attributable to the pandemic, shortages in fundamental items and clampdowns on civil liberties. Protesters have referred to as for President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took the reins of Cuba in 2018, to step down.

Mrs. Guevara Rosas of Amnesty Worldwide mentioned the lyrics of the music grew to become emblematic within the protests as a result of they had been created by “bizarre folks” who symbolize traditionally marginalized communities.

“It’s a motion difficult energy, whereas not looking for political benefit,” she mentioned.

Mr. Márquez Duany mentioned he hoped the phrases spark change.

“We have to be heard, we’d like the correct to precise our frustrations,” he mentioned. “Cuba will not take it anymore.”

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