This isn't about music, it's about 'freedom': Why songs chanted at Cuba protests matter

If you listen closely to protesters in Cuba and Florida, you can hear people chanting “patria y vida,” translating to “homeland and life.” The chants reclaim a popular slogan from the Cuban revolution, homeland or death.

Protests in Cuba have been ongoing for years but reemerged last week when thousands of Cubans marched to protest food and medicine shortages, power outages and some even calling for political change.

But where did the slogan “patria y vida” come from? Cuban reggaetón musicians Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom of the duo Gente De Zona; Yotuel Romero, member of the Cuban band Orishas; and singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno.

The group collaborated to release a song and video titled “Patria Y Vida” in February and they are not the only artists releasing music in support of Cuba and the protesters.

Emilio Estefan, Cuban American music producer and businessman, produced a new song “Libertad” or “Freedom” in English. Estefan said the song, sung by artists Yailenys Pérez y Joncien, was created to shed light on the conditions in Cuba and support protesters.

“It’s more than just a song or lyrics, it’s an outcry and it’s all about freedom. Freedom for Cubans,” Estefan told USA TODAY.

Last week’s protests:Demonstrators around the world show solidarity with anti-government protesters in Cuba

Miami shows support:Miami rally supports protests in Cuba

So what is the meaning behind these songs and why are protesters chanting them in the streets? Here’s a breakdown below.

‘Patria y Vida’

The song not only reclaims the Cuban revolution slogan homeland or death, it highlights the difficult conditions Cubans are currently living in. Cuban American and activist Angelique Diaz said the song represents a new generation of Cubans ready to fight back with lyrics such as:

No more lies, My people call for freedom
No more doctrines, we no longer shout homeland or death, homeland and life instead
And start building what we’ve dreamed of
What they destroyed with their hands

“Patria y Vida” refutes the idea that Cuba is a “paradise” and addresses food shortages and poverty in the country. Varadero, is a popular tourist location, and Diaz said it’s often used to project a “pretty” image of life in Cuba, which isn’t accurate.

“In the past most images of Cuba showed the parts only open and given to tourists, it’s not the reality in Cuba. Food rations and poverty is,” Diaz told USA TODAY.

Everything has changed, nothing is the same
Between you and me there is an abyss
Advertising a paradise in Varadero
While mothers cry for their children who’ve gone

The song ends with the lyrics about those who were detained by the Cuban government, including Anamely Ramos and Omara Ruiz Urquiola. Ramos was detained and harassed by the government for writing poems demanding freedom for other detained, according to the International Service for Human Rights. While Urquiola was beaten and detained by police during a peaceful protest in Cuba, according to the ISHR.

The music video has garnered over 7 million views and continues to be chanted in protests both in Cuba and Florida.

News Related


Crisis after crisis in Jacob's B&B villa: ‘You are not a bad man, but not sincere' | show

saw B&B Full of Love-participant Jacob last night his beloved dung heap ruined after Segrun and Monica dumped the weeds from his garden in the box, not much later it ... Read more »

Podcasts from SPH Radio deejays to check out

SPH Radio DJs hosting The Land Before Bedtime (clockwise from top left) Carol Smith, Desiree Lai, Angel Teo, Tim Oh and Charmaine Phua. SINGAPORE – Here are podcasts from SPH ... Read more »

‘Sensual' Emma Heesters: ‘It's a party in bed every time' | Stars

Heesters says that she always wears lingerie sets, ‘because I can’t stand it when the bra and the thong don’t match’. “And it has to be quality, not that cheap ... Read more »

'He's my musical companion': Lady Gaga salutes, duets with Tony Bennett at emotional New York show

NEW YORK — On Tuesday night, two of New York’s finest entertainers made magic on one of the city’s most iconic stages. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga came together at ... Read more »

Vaccinations break up Jennifer Aniston's friendships | Stars

“There is still a large group of anti-vaxxers or people who just don’t want to listen to simple, scientific facts. It is a shame. It’s very annoying to have to ... Read more »

R. Kelly says he has no financial means for lawsuit | show

R. Kelly claims to be “completely broke,” which means he can no longer afford to purchase transcripts of his court hearings. The 54-year-old singer also says that he has gained ... Read more »

Viewers not charmed by ‘knowledgeable' Bram Douwes: ‘Well, this is really who I am' | show

His nightmare was after one episode from TV quiz The smartest person to fly, so Bram Douwes prepared himself down to the last detail. He played old quizzes, pictured the ... Read more »

R. Kelly says he has no financial means for lawsuit | Stars

“His finances have shrunk considerably and that is cutting it down quite a bit. I have asked the court to send us daily copies of everything that is discussed, but ... Read more »

At The Movies: Ugly heroes, uglier situations add up to excitement in The Suicide Squad

Still from the film The Suicide Squad. The Suicide Squad (M18) 132 minutes, opens on Thursday (Aug 5) 4 stars The last outing for the squad in 2016 turned out ... Read more »

John Cena is master of freestyle roasting, says Suicide Squad co-star

John Cena at the premiere for the film “The Suicide Squad” in Los Angeles, California on Aug 2, 2021. SINGAPORE – The thing that had writer-director James Gunn excited about ... Read more »

Olly Murs' horrific mid-concert accident: 'Bones lodged in my knee'

Olly Murs has undergone surgery after getting a fragment of bone lodged in his knee. The 37-year-old singer suffered the agonising injury during a concert at Suffolk’s Newmarket racecourse on ... Read more »

'Left behind': Drummer Pete Parada dropped from The Offspring for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Musician Pete Parada, drummer for The Offspring, announced Tuesday that he’s been dropped from the American rock band over his failure to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “I’ve got some unfortunate ... Read more »

Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein teases poster of Impeachment series showing her as Monica Lewinsky

Booksmart star, Beanie Feldstein has shown off her radical transformation to play infamous White House intern Monica Lewinsky in an upcoming new series. The series will depict the controversial affair ... Read more »

Taylor Swift pays tribute to Simone Biles | show

After Biles previously withdrew from several events in the gymnastics championship, she did appear on beam and took the bronze medal. NBC takes a big hit in America with this ... Read more »

'Mogadishu' tops 1m admissions on 7th day of release

This file photo, provided by Lotte Entertainment, shows a scene from “Escape from Mogadishu,” a South Korean actioner released on July 28, 2021. (Lotte Entertainment)Homegrown actioner “Escape from Mogadishu” has ... Read more »

Taika Waititi and Rita Ora make their red carpet debut at The Suicide Squad premiere

Taika Waititi and Rita Ora appear to have made their relationship red carpet official. The Thor director, 45, appeared with the singer on Monday night at The Suicide Squad premiere ... Read more »

Sundance Film Festival will require attendees, filmmakers be vaccinated in 2022

Anyone looking to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next year is going to need more than a badge. All participants must be fully vaccinated too, festival director ... Read more »

John Corbett and Bo Derek secretly tied the knot last year after nearly 20 years together

Actor John Corbett revealed he married his girlfriend of nearly two decades, Bo Derek, at the end of last year. During an appearance on CBS’ “The Talk” on Tuesday, the ... Read more »

'An inspiration to a generation': Alvin Ing, 'Flower Drum Song' and screen star, dies at 89

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor and singer Alvin Ing, known for roles on Broadway and on tour in “Pacific Overtures” and “Flower Drum Song” as well as in films such ... Read more »

Why Jason Statham's 1990 Commonwealth Games appearance is going viral

We’re used to seeing Jason Statham on the big screen fighting the bad guys – but it turns out he could have had a whole different career. The English actor, ... Read more »

American rapper TI to the office after Amsterdam bicycle incident | Inland

It appears that TI ran a red light and then the police told him to stop. However, he did not stop immediately because the artist said he did not understand ... Read more »

Reese Witherspoon sells production company for $1.28 billion

Reese Witherspoon just became the world’s richest actress. The Legally Blonde star, 45, is now worth more than an estimated $500million after her production company, Hello Sunshine, sold for approximately ... Read more »

Danny Vera to Rutte and De Jonge: ‘You can't explain this anymore' | Stars

Vera says he zapped along RTL 7, where he saw well-filled stands in the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven during the match between PSV and FC Midtjylland for the preliminary rounds ... Read more »

Sarah Ferguson stands up for son-in-law after private party | Royals

According to Fergie, Jack was simply doing his job as an ambassador for George Clooney’s tequila brand Casamigos. She says that the tabloids have placed the photos completely in the ... Read more »

Every DC superhero movie (including James Gunn's 'The Suicide Squad'), definitively ranked

Who needs Batman and Superman around when you’ve got Harley Quinn and Polka-Dot Man? The DC superhero film universe celebrates its quirky villains with writer/director James Gunn’s new R-rated adventure ... Read more »

Trailer Tuesdays: 'The Suicide Squad' and the top superhero teams to help save the world

Ahead of “The Suicide Squad” hitting theaters, USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt lists the top superhero groups that could help save the world. Read more »

Soleil Moon Frye reveals 3 of her kids tested positive for COVID-19: 'I have shed many tears'

Actress Soleil Moon Frye is urging parents to get their kids tested for COVID-19, after revealing three of her children contracted the coronavirus. The former “Punky Brewster” star took to ... Read more »

Ex-lovers compete against each other in The smartest person: ‘Milan broke up' | show

Try to maintain that supreme concentration when you suddenly have to compete against your ex-lover in TV quiz The smartest person. It happened to sports journalist Milan van Dongen and ... Read more »

Festival season almost over for homophobic rapper DaBaby | entertainment

Earlier, the organization of Lollapalooza already announced that DaBaby is no longer welcome at the major American festival. Invitations to events in New York, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Manchester, among ... Read more »

Lil Nas X compares 'terrifying' BET Awards performance to 'jumping in a lake full of sharks'

Lil Nas X is known for standing up to online trolls but he admits he isn’t as fearless as he may seem. The “Old Town Road” artist opened up about ... Read more »

The Mandalorian season 3 will start shooting 'soon' – so when will it arrive?

The Mandalorian season 3 is set to begin filming soon, according to one of the Disney Plus show’s supporting cast members. Giancarlo Esposito, who portrays Moff Gideon on the Star ... Read more »

House of the Dragon: everything we know so far

Westeros isn’t going anywhere. While Game of Thrones ended two whole years ago, House of the Dragon takes us back into George RR Martin’s fantasy universe – 300 years before ... Read more »

Funimation - subscriptions, how to sign up, and free account explained

Calling all anime fans! More than just a streaming service, Funimation goes one step further than being the place to watch anime and celebrate this incredible Japanese art form. Funimation ... Read more »

Relationship reality star Michael van der Plas over | Stars

In a short video, Michael gives text and less explanation: “Lately I often get the question if I’m still with Naomi… That’s not the case, we’ve been apart for a ... Read more »

More festivals refuse rapper DaBaby after homophobic statements | show

DaBaby has again been pulled from the lineup by several festivals because of the homophobic statements the rapper made during a show in Miami last week. The rapper will no ... Read more »

Herald morning quiz: August 4

Test your brains with the Herald’s morning quiz. Be sure to check back on at 3pm for the afternoon quiz. To challenge yourself with more quizzes, CLICK HERE. Read more »

Yoo Teo to star in new film by A24, CJ ENM

Yoo Teo (C-Jes Entertainment)Actor Yoo Teo is joining A24’s “Past Lives,” written by screenwriter Song Celine, US online entertainment publication Deadline reported Monday. Shooting of the film starring Yoo and ... Read more »

Margot Robbie says Harley Quinn dating is 'hilarious'

At the world premiere for “The Suicide Squad,” star Margot Robbie says she had fun playing a single Harley Quinn. (Aug. 3) Read more »

Record company Warner Music earns more money from streams | show

Warner Music Group is doing much better thanks to an increase in the number of music streams. The record company behind artists such as Bruno Mars, Cardi B and Ed ... Read more »

Lily James spent three to five hours a day in makeup to become Pamela Anderson | Stars

The transformation from Lily to Pamela took “between three and five hours each day before we started filming,” Moe says. According to the hairstylist, a total of 25 wigs were ... Read more »