Hundreds of Miami’s SOS Cuba protesters sing ‘Patria y Vida’ in Little Havana

MIAMI – A nostalgic protest song in Spanish reverberated Wednesday night on Miami’s Calle Ocho. The lyrics of “Patria y Vida,” Spanish for “Homeland and Life,” antagonize a more than half-a-century old Cuban government propaganda slogan.

The song urging Cubans to “no longer shout ‘Homeland and death!’ But, ‘Homeland and life!’” took a different meaning on the communist island during the coronavirus pandemic. For Cuban Americans, the lyrics had more meaning after the uprising Sunday.

SOS Cuba protesters meet Wednesday in Little Havana to watch Gente De Zona, or GDZ, perform a 'Patria Y Vida' song that became the anthem of the Sunday uprising in Cuba.

During the free concert in Little Havana, hundreds sang together. Some were in tears. Attendees said it wasn’t a party. Some said they participated in the “exercise on freedom of speech” after work to speak up for their relatives in Cuba who are being censored with violence.

“It can’t remain like this. The United States government has to do something,” Musician Alexander Delgado said in Spanish.

Delgado was standing next to his fellow members of Gente De Zona, Yotuel Omar Manzanarez Romero and Randy Malcom. They produced the song with Maykel “El Osorbo” Castillo, and El Funky de Cuba, both members of Havana’s The San Isidro Movement against censorship.

“We raised our voices for freedom in Cuba,” Malcom said in Spanish in a video he published on Instagram after the concert.

Members of Gente De Zona, or GDZ, Alexander Delgado, right, Yotuel Omar, center, and Randy Malcom, left, talk to Local 10 News Reporter Christian De La Rosa Wednesday in Miami's Little Havana. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

Others at the event said they wanted to remind U.S. officials that there are Americans of Cuban descent who want the U.S. to intervene because Cubans need political change. Estefani Moncada held up a “No More Communism” sign that she made at home and said she trusts God and “the good people” will help Cubans.

“I trust the president that we have. I didn’t vote for him but I trust him,” Moncada said.

Opposition leaders on the island report some Cubans with COVID are dying at home without access to healthcare. Cuban Americans said their relatives are dealing with shortages of food and medicine, power outages, old pipes that pollute the water, and an authoritarian regime that uses trained special forces units to brutally arrest protesters at their homes.

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The historic SOS Cuba protests in cities on the communist island on July 11 prompted a series of demonstrations in Miami-Dade County. (Historic Protests SOS Cuba)

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Cuban exiles rally at Versailles Restaurant in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood in support of protesters in Cuba, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Coverage on July 11

Police scuffle and detain an anti-government demonstrator during a protest in Havana, Cuba, Sunday July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs, amid the new coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

For more about the situation in Cuba, visit the Local 10 News’ “en español” page.

About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.