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‘Patria Y Vida’: Cuban Art And Protest

Cuban citizens residing in Ecuador demonstrate against the government of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in front of the Cuban embassy in Quito on July 13, 2021. - One person died and more than 100 others, including independent journalists and dissidents, have been arrested after unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba, with some remaining in custody on Tuesday, observers and activists said. (Photo by Cristina Vega RHOR / AFP) (Photo by CRISTINA VEGA RHOR/AFP via Getty Images)
Cuban citizens residing in Ecuador demonstrate against the government of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in front of the Cuban embassy in Quito on July 13, 2021. - One person died and more than 100 others, including independent journalists and dissidents, have been arrested after unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba, with some remaining in custody on Tuesday, observers and activists said. (Photo by Cristina Vega RHOR / AFP) (Photo by CRISTINA VEGA RHOR/AFP via Getty Images)

Arrests are underway in Cuba. President Miguel Díaz-Canel has called those who took to the streets this weekend “counter-revolutionaries.” Cuba’s foreign minister says the recent demonstrations had been financed and instigated by the United States.

Protesters are angry about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes, and the government’s handling of COVID-19.

Cubans are voicing their outrage through a song called “Patria y Vida” — homeland and life. It is a spin on the communist regime’s decades-old slogan of “patria o muerte” — homeland or death. The song has been viewed more than six million times on YouTube since its release earlier this year. It features a group of Afro-Cuban reggaeton and hip-hop stars based in Miami, including Yotuel Romero, Alexander Delgado, and rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky who live in Cuba.

We speak to the Cuban-based director of the music magazine Rafa G. Escalona about art, protest, and the latest police crackdown.

 

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