Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and it is full of rich culture and complex history. Over the decades, Cuba’s political parties, leaders and alliances have shifted dramatically, which has elicited criticisms from certain countries and praise from others. The United States was also very involved in the political happenings of the island, and these actions have forever changed the climate of Cuba and the ethnic make-up of South Florida.
A Brief History of Communism in Cuba
Socialism in Cuba began in 1925 with the founding of the Socialist Party, which eventually became the political root of the Communism Party. This move towards socialism was led by the infamously known political leader Fidel Castro in an effort to overthrow the leader at the time, Sergeant Fulgencio Batista. In 1959, after the United States withdrew its support for Batista, Fidel Castro officially became the new Prime Minister of Cuba alongside his brother, Raul. A few years later, the Bay of Pigs occurred, one of the first revolts led by the Cuban people against the Communist regime, which failed due to the United States pulling their support last minute. This also led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, where Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet USSR sent the United States into a panic. Castro allowed the USSR to house missiles on the island, which would bring war to America’s land if fired. Since these events, the United States has imposed various policies regarding the Cuban people, including the Wet Foot Dry Foot policy where Cubans fleeing the dictatorship would be granted asylum if they could make it to American soil on Florida’s coasts 90 miles north of the island. The United States has also implemented multiple trade restrictions on the island on commodities like cigars, rum and fruits.
Significance of “Patria Y Vida”
To this day, the Cuban people have been speaking out against what the Communist Party has done and the disarray of the island. Since the party has taken over, the lack of international support and the economy’s collapse has sent the island to the brink of breakdown. One of the newest ways Cubans have been able to revolt against the party’s ideologies is through music. “Patria Y Vida” is a rap song by artists Yotuel, Gente De Zona and Descemer Bueno. The title of the track, which translated means homeland and life, directly contradicts Cuba’s slogan Patria o Muerte, homeland or death. The song calls on the Cuban people and the government to change their ways and to restore the island to before the Cuban Revolution decades ago. The Cuban Communist Party has publicly condemned the song, which has only amplified the reach of the music with over four million views on Youtube.
Yotuel Romero is part of a Cuban group called Orisha, who has made countless other hits like “Cuba Isla Bella,” has been very vocal about what the members and their families have experienced under the Castro Regime, and they share those stories with the world in their music. Bueno and Gente de Zona are no longer allowed to have their music played in Cuba because of the similar messages they convey. Due to the censorship, they have developed strategies to get their voices heard on an international level in order to gain sympathetic ears and force the government to listen. So far, this has worked as Romero spoke to the European Parliament in their third EU-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue about the oppression the Cuban people face. This song and increased use of the internet have given Hispanic artists a platform to boost their opinions.