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