Photo: Desiderio MAURO

‘Patria Y Vida’ Becomes The Anthemic Song For Cuban Protesters

With Cuba suffering through a summer of dire shortages, from food and electricity to medicine, its citizens are taking to the streets in unprecedented protests and voicing their outrage through a song called Patria y Vida — homeland and life.

A take off of the communist regime’s decades-old slogan “patria o muerte” — homeland or death, the song accuses the Cuban government of destroying the quality of life, a message that gained immediate traction with protesters who are demanding change.

With lyrics “No more lies. My people demand freedom. No more doctrines!” the song calls out for people to shout “patria y vida … and start building what we dreamed of/ what they destroyed with their hands.”

Patria y Vida is a collaboration between a group of Miami-based Afro-Cuban Reggaeton and Hip-Hop stars, Yotuel Romero and Alexander Delgado and rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky, who live in Cuba. With 6,000,000 YouTube views, the video of the song has since become an international phenomenon.

When the single was first released, Romero, who is part of the group Orishas, said that for him, the song was motivated by a look back at Cuba’s long history. In February he told Billboard magazine, “Before the revolution, we had a beautiful Havana; now we have ruins,” “From that point on, I said, ‘I’m not going to be quiet anymore.’ “

Following the song’s release, Cuban authorities arrested Osorbo after which his supporters have submitted complaints to the United Nations over his treatment, saying that the government is persecuting him for expressing his views and for helping create the song.

Whereas the original Castro-era slogan was a call to arms for its people to stand against outside influence, the new version tells people to hit the streets and take back their country or as the song declares, “It’s over now! And we’re not afraid.”

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Author: Brad LeBeau

Photo: Desiderio MAURO