The majority of the time I live my life with the utmost pride that I am a Cuban exile, and that I have never been and never will be part and parcel of that communist scourge that plagues the island of my birth. Yet there are moments, very few and very far between, that a profound and all encompassing sense of shame of being a Cuban Exile envelops me.
As I type this, I live in that envelop. Never have I ever felt such embarrassment and such remorse and self-disgust.
I just got off the phone with Emilio Estefan and I will state here publicly, in no uncertain terms, that he and Gloria deserve an apology from each and every one of us for our trampling of their reputations vis-a-vis their upcoming album 90 Millas. I feel ashamed simply for even having the slightest doubt as to their convictions, whether or not I stated these publicly or not.
So here it is, like it or not:
I support Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s new work 90 Millas completely and wholeheartedly and I will not allow any further slander of their persons or conviction on this blog. It seems, my first instinct were 100% correct when Henry posted on this subject last week.
No one here knows what is exactly on that album.
No one here knows what conversations the Estefans had prior, during and after the recording with Carlos Santana.
No one here knows what the album is truly about, who else is featured on same and what the accompanying documentary features and focuses on.
Moreover, you can criticize their music til your hearts content, but as I’ve stated here and elsewhere, the Estefans have been impeccable examples of the Cuban exile community their entire lives and have represented our community and its convictions with dignity, class and honesty, with little or no thought to their professional careers and despite being in an industry where their particular views – our views – are less, much less, than popular and constantly criticized and denigrated.
There are some folks out their who are of the belief that the Estefans dont do enough for the freedom of Cuba given their public exposure and notoriety. To those folks all I can say is you are dead wrong. While they may not be constantly in the news spouting the evils of fidel castro and his regime, they have taken on industries, kings, presidents, the United Nations and countless other people and entities and are always fighting for what all of you here and I are fighting for on a daily basis., only they have been doing so their entire adult lives.
Our passion sometimes get the better of us and when we jump the gun, as in this case, we only hurt ourselves and our cause. And then we certainly live up to that stigma that we are always trying to rectify.
In the words of Emilio: “Some of the comments directed at me and Gloria questioning our convictions as Cubans and as exiles are like mentandome la madre.”
I apologize to Gloria and Emilio, personally, for any discord or detriment this blog may have caused and I hope you all will do the same.
Update: I forgot to menton that Emilio will be issuing a press release tonight or tomorrow regarding this which Ill post as soon as it’s recieved.
Someone mentioned to me that perhaps Emilio may be doing some PR damage control and that perhaps the call and the subsequent media appearances – Emilio was on a phone interview on TV just after speaking to me – are an attempt to diffuse waht could be a major issue regarding 90 Millas. That may be so, but from my conversation and what I took from it, he is more angry about criticisms regarding their convictions from their own community. That said and my conversation being off the record, time will most certainly tell. Should I have been duped or be wrong, Ill be the first to publicly eat crow.
UPDATE: Here’s the press release, just received:
Por los últimos 32 años de nuestra carrera ha sido extremadamente clara nuestra posición anti-Castrista frente a Presidentes, La Realeza de varios países, el Papa Juan Pablo, la prensa mundial y cualquier persona que haya tocado el tema de Cuba con nosotros. Incluso cuando hubiese sido mas fácil callar hemos expresado nuestro desacuerdo con la dictadura en Cuba y hemos tratado de transmitir el dolor del pueblo Cubano a través del mundo.
Jamás hemos colaborado ni colaboraríamos con ninguna persona que apoye el régimen de Fidel Castro ni al Che Guevara. Eso debería estar completamente claro al ver nuestra trayectoria.
Carlos Santana expresó estas palabras a través de su representante después de su presentación en Los Óscars del 2005:
4/18/2005. The image was not intended to project a single note of the hatred, anger or revolutionary ruthlessness displayed when Che Guevara was a revolutionary leader in Cuba. It was worn to honor the soulful young man portrayed in the movie, who awoke to the struggle of the disenfranchised and who had a profound political epiphany during a journey across South America. The image was not meant to be an endorsement about a man who helped to establish the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.
Quizás algunas personas que vieron su actuación y su vestuario no vieron lo que expreso después al respecto. El Sr. Santana hablo decisivamente durante las entrevistas que se lograron para el documental que acompañara a nuestro nuevo proyecto, “90 Millas” y expreso su deseo de poder actuar en una Cuba Libre.
Gloria y Emilio Estefan
What goes well with crow?