Yotuel Romero, Cuban dissident rapper and one of the artists from Cuba’s freedom anthem “Patria y Vida,” has a message for Cuba’s communist Castro dictatorship.
Latin Grammy winner to Cuban leaders: ‘We’re done with your lies and indoctrination’
When Cuban-born rapper Yotuel went on stage at this year’s Latin Grammys, he couldn’t believe he was getting one of the most coveted awards of the night: Song of the Year.
“I was really surprised because … we were competing against songs that were much more popular than Patria y Vida and artists who are at their peak,” the singer, whose full name is Yotuel Romero, said recently in an interview.
The song, which also won a Latin Grammy for Best Urban Song, beat out Bad Bunny’s hit single Dákiti and J Balvin and Tainy’s Agua.
Patria y Vida, or homeland and life, is a poke at Fidel Castro’s slogan “Patria o Muerte,” which means “homeland or death.”
On a stage full of candles – almost as though it was a vigil, Yotuel sang a live acoustic version of the song with fellow Afro-Cuban singers Descemer Bueno, Eliecer Márquez Duany and the duo Gente de Zona.
Dedicated to political prisoners
During the ceremony, Márquez Duany, who goes by El Funky, dedicated the performance of Patria y Vida to all political prisoners in Cuba, especially Maykel Osorbo, one of the song’s co-writers, who has been languishing in a maximum-security prison since May for helping create the protest anthem.
Over the summer, the song – which the Cuban regime banned after it came out in February – became a rallying cry during largest anti-government protests in decades.
Hundreds of Cubans detained in connection with the demonstrations are still being held as political prisoners, including dozens of artists.
“This song says: Your time is up. … I was born in this century, and we’re done with your lies and indoctrination,” Yotuel said over Zoom from his home in Miami.