CUBA: Differing Voices, Different Protests – I

A ‘Protest Song’, the Singers, what else they sang for, A Wrong Protester Vis-à-vis other kind of Cuban ‘protesters’ least talked-of

#Patriayvida, @descemerbueno, @gentedezona, (René Pérez Joglar) @residente, @lajovencuba

A new Cuban ‘protest-song’ is now much talked about. It is “Patria y Vida” sang by Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona, and Yotuel, and written by Beatriz Luengo Gonzalez, Descemer Bueno, Alexander Delgado Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez Cardeneas, Randy Malcom, Manzanares Yotuel Omar Romero, Maikel Castillo Perez, and Eliexer Duany, released in youtube on Feb 17, 2021. That video already has about 7 million views! US Newspapers have given it a free promotion by good coverage. The youtube and the translation is given below.

NB: This article, after giving (i) the lyric and youtube link will give (ii) a short analysis of this song, then (iii) will tell a few words about some of the singers, (iv) will show how one of the supporters of this song, René Pérez Joglar from Puerto Rico of Caille-13 fame, is actually going against own his position regarding the USA by contradicting his own song here, giving youtube link of that song, lyric (in Spanish) and also presenting the translation of that song. (v) Then, in the next part of this article (to be published here soon) this article will show that there are many people, especially youth in Cuba who do not subscribe to the viewpoint of this protest song; though they oppose the highhandedness, bureaucracy and un-democratic attitude of the Cuban Communist Party and they want to follow ideals of socialism.


«Patria y Vida» — Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona, y Yotuel

Patria y Vida* Homeland and Life*
{*During or after revolution of 1959 Fidel coined the slogan “Patria o Muerte” – homeland or death. Che ended his speech at the United Nations with this slogan. The song-writers of this protest song coined a slogan opposing that Fidel’s and Che’s slogan – they are saying: Homeland AND Life.}
Y eres tú mi canto de sirena And you are my siren song*
Porque con tu voz se van mis penas Because with your voice my sorrows go away
Y este sentimiento ya está añejo And this is already an old feeling
Tú me dueles tanto, aunque estés lejos You pain me so much even though you are far away
{* siren song means an enticing call one cannot avoid to follow, which leads one to astray or some danger.}
Hoy yo te invito a caminar por mis solares Today I invite you to walk through my shanty town
Pa’ demostrarte de que sirven tus ideales To show you what is the use of your ideals
Somos humanos, aunque no pensemos iguales We are human although we do not think alike
No nos tratemos ni dañemos como animales Let’s not treat or harm ourselves like animals
Esta es mi forma de decírtelo This is my way of telling you
Llora mi pueblo y siento yo su voz My people cry and I feel their voice
Tu cinco nueve yo, doble dos You five nine, * me, double two**
Sesenta años trancado el dominó Sixty years the domino (is) locked***
  {* & ** may mean 1959 – the year of revolution and 2020 when they were planning this song, in that case *** means an immensely popular board-game of Cuba is not going on anymore. ALTERNATIVELY, 5 and 9 are a domino card/pair in one hand whereas 2 and 2 also the same in partner’s hand, while the other pair of players call “LA TRANCA” submitting all cards in order and the game is thus LOCKED.}
Bombo y platillo a los quinientos de la Habana Grandiose on five-hundredth (year celebration) of Havana
Mientras en casa en las cazuelas ya no tienen jama While at home in the pots they no longer have food for hungry bellies
¿Qué celebramos si la gente anda deprisa? What do we celebrate if people walk fast? *
Cambiando al Che Guevara y a Martí por locked Trading Che Guevara and Martí ** for convertible currency
{* walking fast to avoid danger chasing from back; **Che Guevara and Marti signify Cuban currency notes of various denominations with Che’s and Marti’s image on those, and some people are exchanging those for convertible currency which can be exchanged to $ or € in Cuba, etc for buying foreign made things.}
Todo ha cambiado ya no es lo mismo Everything has changed, it is no longer the same
Entre tú y yo hay un abismo Between you and me there is an abyss
Publicidad de un paraíso en Varadero Advertising a paradise in Varadero*
Mientras las madres lloran por sus hijos que se fueron While mothers cry for their children who left**
{* is a famous tourist destination in Cuba and among world’s most famous seabeach with annual footfall is 1.5-2 million! mothers cry for children who were arrested by police or may have fled abroad for a decent life.}
tu cinco nueve, yo, doble dos you five-nine, me, double two
(Ya se acabó) sesenta años trancado el dominó, mira (It’s over*) sixty years locked the dominoes, look
(Se acabó) tu cinco nueve, yo, doble dos (It’s over) your five nine, me, double two
(Ya se acabó) sesenta años trancando el dominó (It’s over) sixty years locking the domino
{* it’s over – ‘your’ i.e., present govt’s rule is over now, they will soon be toppled.}
Somos artistas, somos sensibilidad We are artists, we are sensitive
La historia verdadera, no la mal contada The true story, not the wrong one
Somos la dignidad de un pueblo entero pisoteada We are the dignity of a town entirely trampled
A punta de pistola y de palabras que aún son nada At gunpoint and words that are still nothing
No más mentiras No more lies
Mi pueblo pide libertad, no más doctrinas My people ask for freedom, no more doctrines
Ya no gritemos patria o muerte sino patria y vida Let’s no longer shout “homeland or death” but “homeland and life”*
Y empezar a construir lo que soñamos And start building what we dream of
Lo que destruyeron con sus manos What they destroyed with their hands
{* opposing Fidel’s and Che’s revolutionary slogan inspiring people of Latin America for independence from imperialist powers.)
Que no siga corriendo la sangre So that the blood no longer flows
Por querer pensar diferente For wanting to think differently*
¿Quién le dijo que Cuba es de ustedes? Who told them that Cuba is theirs?
Si mi Cuba es de toda mi gente Yes, my Cuba belongs to all my people
{* differing in opinion from ruling clique means blood will spill by police firing.}
ya se venció tu tiempo, se rompió el silencio your time is up, the silence is broken
(Ya se acabó) ya se acabó la risa y el llanto ya está corriendo (It’s over) the laughter is over and the crying is already running
(Se acabó) y no tenemos miedo, se acabó el engaño (It’s over) and we’re not afraid, the deception is over
(Ya se acabó) son sesenta y dos haciendo daño (It’s over) it’s sixty-two hurting*
{* 62 years since 1959 is 2021.}
Allí vivimos con la incertidumbre del pasado, plantado There we live with the uncertainty of the past, planted
Quince amigos puestos, listos pa’ morirnos Fifteen friends on, ready to die
Izamos la bandera todavía la represión del régimen al día We raise the flag still the repression of the regime to the day
Anamel y Ramón firme con su poesía Anamel and Ramón firm with their poetry
Omara Ruiz Urquiola dándonos aliento, de vida Omara Ruiz Urquiola* giving us encouragement, of life
Rompieron nuestra puerta, violaron nuestro templo They broke down our door, they raped our temple
Y el mundo ‘tá consciente And the world is conscious
De que el movimiento San Isidro continua, puesto That the San Isidro movement** continues, well-attended
{* Ms Omara, a senior professor of history of design, was dismissed from job on suspicion of being anti-regime – his brother is also a protester who was in jail for a year; **San Isidro movement is an Artists’ Protest Movement that started in 2018, protesting the stringent censor rules on art and literary works enforced from that time.}
Seguimos en las mismas, la seguridad metiendo prisma We continue in the same, security putting prism
Esas cosas a mí como me indignan, se acabó el enigma These things make me indignant; the enigma is over
Ya sa’ tu revolución maligna, soy Funky style, aquí tienes mi firma Here goes your evil revolution, I am Funky style, here is my signature
Ya ustedes están sobrando, ya no le queda nada, ya se van bajando You are already left over, you have nothing left, you are already going down
El pueblo se cansó de estar aguantando The town got tired of holding on
Un nuevo amanecer estamos esperando A new dawn we are waiting for
Se acabó, tu cinco nueve, yo, doble dos It’s over, you five nine, me, double two
Ya se acabó, sesenta años trancado el dominó, mira It’s over, sixty years locked dominoes, look
Se acabó, tu cinco nueve, yo, doble dos It’s over, you five nine, me, double two
Ya se acabó, sesenta años trancando el dominó It’s over, sixty years locking the domino
Patria y vida Homeland and life
Patria y vida Homeland and life
Patria y vida Homeland and life
Sesenta años trancado el domino Sixty years locked the domino



At first sight, one very odd matter surfaces. There are many persons in the world, probably most of the human beings in the present days, who do not support the idea of socialism and/or communism; and if a vote is taken with “for” and “against” options only, then “against” will win with a large margin, sans doute, and most of them will also say that communist countries are dictatorial. But many such individuals, who know about the present condition in Cuba, feel differently than @descemerbueno, @gentedezona et al and will say that they missed a vital point regarding tremendous misery in Cuba. Let us see only three examples below.

Nobody will say His Excellency Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina, is pro-communist. On July 13, 2 days after the anti-govt protest started in Cuba, he issued a statement: «At the recent G-20 meeting I asked for the [US] blockades to be lifted. They are doing incalculable damage to Cuba, they prevented Cuba from getting respirators. There is nothing more inhumane in a pandemic than to block a country economically. » Then, look at the signatories in a petition «Germany with Europe: For an end to the blockade against Cuba» An anti-communist person can google the name of the signatories to see their political views, and to her/his relief s/he may say: OK. Anyway, that petition is a bit old. The General Assembly of the United Nations took a resolution on June 23, 2021. The heading was «Adopting Annual Resolution, Delegates in General Assembly Urge Immediate Repeal of Embargo on Cuba, Especially amid Global Efforts to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic». Thus we see that a large number of persons and nations, irrespective of their political affiliations, found that the US Blockade surrounding Cuba is very inhuman and it is making a devastating effect on the conditions in Cuba for at least a couple of year. But, this song, #Patriayvida, is silent regarding this! It is really strange. Why were they silent regarding the main reason behind present acute crisis in Cuba?


Though they are silent regarding the main reason behind present acute crisis in Cuba, they accused the govt, not only the present govt, but everything since the 1959 revolution (Here goes your evil revolution – Line 12 from end). Their anti-communist anger is such that they upturned Fidel’s and Che’s slogan Patria O Muerte and thus made the title of the song Patria Y Vida, and even they did not mention at all the US imperialist embargo against Cuba!

So, are they anti-govt and pro-USA Cuban protesters, like the émigré Cuban bourgeoisie in Florida and elsewhere, for whom the govt of the USA is Patron-Saint and not José Julián Martí!


We would like to keep this section very brief. Descemer Bueno @descemerbueno and Gente De Zona @gentedezona are famous singers. Gente appeared in the Grammy (Latin) winning number BAILANDO with Enrique Iglesias and that song crossed 3 billion viewership some days ago! Besides, they have many Grammy nominations and wins in their names. Before recording the protest song Patria Y Vida all of the concerned artists moved to the USA, as can be seen from their Facebook posts. At least two Facebook posts of Descemer Bueno is shocking.

In one post on April 9 (you may visit photo of which is given above, he reacts to a news of alleged US annexation of Cuba «Annexation of Cuba? An US American neoconservative pleads for converting that island into a state part of the United States of America» positively, saying, I also [want that] and ended his statement with «We deserve so much the same as Puerto Rico has». Now, everybody knows that Puerto Rico is an US colony and a freedom movement has been going on there for decade after decade. So, he desires that Cuba becomes a US colony! How can any freedom loving people in Latin America support this desire of a singer of the famous protest song! Can they?

Another day, in Facebook, pointing to some communist leaders of past, he openly said communists are racists. And nowhere, in recent time, he criticised the USA for their racist state-machinery as was often exemplified in so many episodes like George Floyd killing (on May 25, 2020). Al Jazeera on May 25, 2021 headlined: “How many people have been killed by US police since George Floyd?

At least 1,068 people have been killed by police since the death of the unarmed Black man a year ago.” (, and yet Gente De Zona and his friends want Cuba to be ‘democratic’ like the USA!

But surprisingly, many these group of singers including the two mentioned, appealed for ending US blockade tolet Cuba and Cubans live, just a year ago! What happened to them so that they dropped this demand and became so friendly to everything EEUU (USA)? «  »


It was very surprising to see René Pérez Joglar or @residente of Calle-13 (calle trece) fame coming in support of this protest song and the singers of that song. Has he not seen that the protesters are silent about US blockade against Cuba? Did he not know that one singer supports US annexation of Cuba and wants to be like Puerto Rico, a colony of the USA? Has he forgotten his own role, his own position in the freedom struggle of Puerto Ricans? It is so astonishing, so disheartening!

We remember the year 2005. The old guard Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, still at his age of 73, was continuing the freedom struggle of Puerto Rico. He was abducted from his home and then killed by FBI, the agents of US imperialism, very much like the CIA. It was September 23. At about 6:30 in the evening. News started spreading the next day. The much beloved singer @residente of Calle-13, René Pérez Joglar, was recording a song in the studio of White Lion Record Company when the news reached the studio. René stopped recording. Took some paper and pencil and started writing a song in protest of the killing. He completed within 30 minutes and asked for recording. He also asked DJ Danny to put song on the internet immediately. And this was the song Querido FBI or Dear FBI. Such rebellious anti US imperialist songs are rare. The Madres De La Plaza Del Mayo or the organisation of mothers of thousands and thousands of ‘disappeared’ sons and daughters in Argentina during the military dictatorship by Jorge Rafael Videla. Mothers started protesting in 1977. And on the completion of Year 30, in 2007, René Pérez Joglar was called there to present this song, as whole of the Latin America know who is the main imperialist sponsor of all dictatorships in the Americas. In the video, at the beginning, readers can watch the gathering of those mothers and nation’s grandchildren who were by then grown-up kids. The last speech of the Mother who was conducting the event ended like: We have been pleading for 30 long year, we have been requesting, took legal path of redressal, and what not. But of no avail. Only way remains: Battle. Fight! Boys and Girls, Fight! Lucha!

Querido FBI, Calle-13. youtube:

Presence of some ‘filthy’ slang words be kindly excused considering the anger of that moment
Esto es un mensaje… This is a message …
De parte del residente ‘e Calle 13… On behalf of the resident of the 13th Street …
Pa’ to’ el gobierno… For all the governments …
Y pa’ to’ los puertorriqueños… And for all the Puerto Ricans …
Danny, métele ahí… Danny, take it there …
Queridos compatriotas… Dear fellow citizens …
Abogados, maestros, alcaldes, y chotas Lawyers, teachers, mayors and kids
Doctores, bichotes, bomberos, enfermeros Doctors, dicks, firefighters, nurses
Contables, traqueteros, piragüeros, to’ el mundo entero Accountants, rattlers, kulfi-ice sellers, all within this world
Por mi madre que hoy me disfrazo de machetero Because it is my mother who today dressed me with a machete
Y esta noche voy a ahorcar a diez marineros And tonight, I’m going to hang ten (US) Marines
Hoy tengo la mano aniquela’ y a mano pela’ Today I have one hand armed and one hand bare
Les vo’a dar una pela pa’ que vean que el gas pela Going to give them a beating so that they see how it burns
Nuestra bandera la han llena’o de meao Our flag, they filled her with piss
Murió desangra’o, mi gente, que murió desangra’o Died bled out, my people, who bled dry and died
Nunca arrodilla’o, lo van a tener que enterrar para’o Never knelt down, they are going to put him in grave
Con el machete al la’o With the sickle by his side
Que se activen La Perla, Lloren, Barbosa They who have blasted La Perla, Lloren, Barbosa*
Manuela, Caimito, Vista Hermosa Manuela*, Caimito, Vista Hermosa
Covadonga, Camarones, Alturas, Torres Sabanas Covadonga, Camarones, Alturas, Torres Sabanas
Villa Esperanza, Sabana Abajo, Villa Fontana Villa Esperanza, Sabana Abajo, Villa Fortuna
Gladiolas, Villa Carolina, el pueblo de Trujillo Gladiolas, Villa Carolina, the people of Trujillo
Las parcelas, San John, Monte Hatillo Las parcelas, San John, Monte Hatillo
Canales, San José, Río Grande, Luquillo Canales*, San José, Río Grande, Luqillo
Puerta de Tierra, Santurce, Monasillo Puerta de Tierra, Santurce, Monasillo
Urbanizaciones, caseríos, el FBI se ha metido en un lío Housing estates, country houses, the FBI got itself in trouble
Están jodidos, se jodio la Casa Blanca They are fucked, they are fucked by the White House
{*all the names with asterix are nnames of persons, all others are place names. Only one of the persons will be mentioned here is detail, after the end of the lyric}
Ahora voy a explotar con estilo Now I am going to explode with style
En el nombre de Filiberto Ojeda Ríos In the name of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos*.
Me tumbaron el pulmón derecho, pero todavía respiro They knocked down my right lung, but still I can breathe,
Me voy a los tiros, pero todavía respiro I am going to shoot them, still I can breathe,
A los federales con piedras les tiro Those Federals, I’ll throw stones to them
Y si no hay piedras pues les tiro con güiro And if there is no stone, well, I’ll throw them güiro*
{* güiro is a wooden musical instrument}
Con lo que sea, tumbaron al hombre, pero no a la idea With whatever was there they knocked him down but not his idea
A to’ los federales los escupo con diarrea All those Federals who are sick with diarrhoea
Me dan nausea, me dan asco They give me nausea, they are loathsome
Yo se que estoy perdiendo los cascos I know that I am going to loose my skull
Por culpa de ustedes, jodios brutos Because of you, brute fuckers
La Calle 13 esta de luto The 13th Street is in mourning
(¡Con calma, Compi, ¡hay que ser astuto!) ¡Cállate! (With calmness, guy, must be cunning) Silence!
Fucking federales, gandules y guardias estatales Fucking Federals, lazy-guys and guards of the states
Que no hicieron na’, con las manos cruzadas They did not do anything with hands crossed
Se quedaron mamándose un bicho They will remain worried, beasts,
Fucking cabron gobierno que permite esto Fucking bastard government who permitted this
Chorro ‘e puercos, son todos unos insectos Filthy jets, are all some insects.
Y por eso protesto And for all these I protest
Protesto por una masacre en Ponce I Protest for the massacre in Ponce
Protesto por un Cerro Maravilla I Protest for a Cerro Maravilla
Y hasta por un septiembre 11 And also for a September 11*
{*This September 11 is of 1973, the US backed military coup in Chile, killing president Allende among many others}
(¡Lucha, lucha!) (Fight! Fight!)
(¡Como lucha libre!) (For the Fight for freedom!)
(¡Por la libre, viva Puerto Rico libre!) (For Freedom, Long Live Free Puerto Rico!)
(¡Hay mucho tiburón en el Caribe!) (There are many sharks in The Caribbean!)
(¡100 x 35 es el calibre!) (100 X 35 is the size!)
(¡Lucha, lucha!) (Fight! Fight!)
(¡Como lucha libre!) (For the Fight for freedom!)
(¡Por la libre, viva Puerto Rico libre!) (For Freedom, Long Live Free Puerto Rico!)
(¡Hay mucho tiburón en el Caribe!) (There are many sharks in The Caribbean!)
(¡100 x 35 es el calibre!) (100 X 35 is the size!)
Pa’ explotar a esos cabrones los colmillos To explode those bastards canines
Hay 3.9 millones de cuchillos There are 3.9 million knives
Esto es sencillo, se me prendió el bombillo This is simple, the detonators fired me,
Lo que hay es que activar a los corillos That is what there is that detonates the choir
En vez de apuntar pa’ los mismos caseríos In the time of aiming down those same country houses
Apuntar pa’ arriba, pa’ donde hace frío Aiming up there, where it is cold
Pa’ los del Norte, sin cojones la radio y las ventas The North, without-balls, the radio-advertisements and the markets
White Lion me dio el pasaporte pa’ tirar este corte White Lion gave me the passport to tear down in this style
(¡Lucha, lucha!) (Fight! Fight!)
(¡Como lucha libre!) (For the Fight for freedom!)
(¡Por la libre, viva Puerto Rico libre!) (For Freedom, Long Live Free Puerto Rico!)
(¡Hay mucho tiburón en el Caribe!) (There are many sharks in The Caribbean!)
(¡100 x 35 es el calibre!) (100 X 35 is the size!)
(¡Lucha, lucha!) (Fight! Fight!)
(¡Como lucha libre!) (For the Fight for freedom!)
(¡Por la libre, viva Puerto Rico libre!) (For Freedom, Long Live Free Puerto Rico!)
(¡Hay mucho tiburón en el Caribe!) (There are many sharks in The Caribbean!)
(¡100 x 35 es el calibre!) (100 X 35 is the size!)
¡Este fue el residente ‘e Calle 13! This was the resident of the 13th Street!
¡Acuérdense de mi nombre! Remember my name!
¡Porque lo van a tener en las carpetas! Because they are going to have it in the folders!
¡Con to’ el peso de la calle! They are going to fall in the 13th Street completely!
¡Les va a caer la Calle 13 completa! So that they respect
¡Pa’ que respeten! Here he is respected and that is told to you in a straight way
¡Aquí se respeta o se te espeta! he is respected and that is told to you
¡Se respeta o se te espeta! he is respected and that is told to you
¡Se respeta o se te espeta, puñeta! he is respected and that is told to you. Go masturbate!

Manuela Santiago Collazo (1936–2010) was a Puerto Rican politician who was the mayor, and the first female mayor of the city of Vieques (1985–2001). In 1995, many important political figures wrote a letter to United States president Bill Clinton, asking for an investigation into an incident where an atomic bomb hit Vieques supposedly by accident in 1966. Santiago Collazo as Mayor signed the letter. It was a small beginning of a later large mass protests by Vieques citizens against the presence of the military there. After David Sanes’ death by a military bomb in 1999, the protests intensified, and, by 2003, the military had to leave the island of Vieques.

René Pérez Joglar, @residente of Calle-13, is hereby requested to dissociate from this protest song and this group of protestors, considering their pro-US imperialist inclination.

The next part of this article will contain some comments on things written here and mainly focus on the fact that (v) there are many people, especially youth in Cuba who do not subscribe to the viewpoint of this protest song #partiayvida; though they oppose the highhandedness, bureaucracy and un-democratic attitude of the Cuban Communist Party and they want to follow ideals of socialism.

Sandeep Banerjee is an activist who writes on political and socioeconomic issues and also on environmental issues. Some of his articles are published in Frontier Weekly. He lives in West Bengal, India.  Presently he is a research worker. He can be reached at [email protected]

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