The Cuban artists testifying before the European Parliament didn’t tell its members anything they didn’t already know about the communist Castro dictatorship’s repression, but they did force them to acknowledge it.
Cuba artists testify about rights violations before European Parliament
Cuban artists and dissidents presented testimony to the European Parliament Friday claiming violations of human rights by the Cuban government. They testified, based on their own experiences, about the censorship each of them has suffered because of their political beliefs.
The event was hosted by MPs Dita Charanzová and Leopoldo López Gil. Members of the European Parliament stated their concerns about the situation in Cuba and showed solidarity with the Cuban cause. The meeting was scheduled after the attacks Cuban artists have suffered following the release of the song “Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life).
On February 16, Grammy winner Yotuel Romero and his compatriots December Bueno, Gente de Zona with the collaboration of dissident rappers from Cuba Maykel Osorbo and El Funky—members of the San Isidro Movement—joined their voices to launch the song, which advocates for the dignity and freedom of the Cuban people. The title of the song is a complete turn to the famous phrase that dictator Fidel Castro repeated until it was worn out–”Patria o Muerte” (Homeland or Death). Since 1959, that phrase has been present in every regime propaganda and must be repeated at schools, work centers, and television.
The song has rattled the Cuban regime. Since it was published, the Cuban media, and especially those related to the government, launched insults and criticism against the authors of “Patria y Vida,” calling the song “an aggression against the national security of Cuba” and “trash” and calling its authors “whores” and “mercenaries.” They have condemned the song through television reports and social media comments, including three tweets in a single day from Cuban dictator Miguel Diaz Canel.
In response to those attacks and to condemn daily human rights violations in Cuba, Yotuel Romero secured a conversation with the European Parliament. He stated that “we Cubans have the right to life. With this song what we do is claim the right to live. And if the Government of our country does not agree, it is because all these fundamental rights are being violated.”
Participants in the event included Luis Manuel Alcantara (member of San Isidro Movement), Alexis Valdes (famous comedian), Willy Chirino (singer), Anamely Ramos (artist), Ariel Ruiz Urquiola (scientific), Yoel Romero (athlete), Wendy Guerra (writer), Randy Malcom (member of duo Gente de Zona), Asiel Babastro (audiovisual director), Arturo Sandoval (singer). Venezuelan leader, Juan Guaidó, also participated in the event.
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