Thursday, July 30, 2009


Paquito D'Rivera, Cuban exiled Musician and Author

( It's been more than 5 decades since Fidel
Castro jumped to power, and upon his arrival, a real army of "defenders
of Cuba", carrying on with an uncontrollable compassioned spirit,
started to come out of nowhere and everywhere.

Direct descendents of those legendary admirers of so out of fashion
figures like Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, after Che Guevarra's death in the
Bolivian jungle in 1967, the image of the argentine bandit fit them like
a glove, in substituting those discredited idols of the past.

The problem is that this exclusive "Cuban compassion" package seems to
apply only to those that sympathize with the longest–lasting
dictatorship on the planet, while ignoring the hundreds of thousand of
exiled, separated families, people marginalized for their political
and/or religious believes, prisoners of conscience, executed, and those
who have died at sea trying to escape Castro's paradise, actual
playground of these tourists of foreign revolutions that so often spent
their ideological vacations there (paid in dollars) with or without
permission of the America authorities. The psychological embargo, we
could call it.

Recently, a group of artists, educators, academics, professionals and
American impresarios, have written a letter to President Obama,
complaining how adversely they have been affected by the embargo imposed
by the US government against the Castro dictatorshi p. They demand
their right to freely go to the Island, and to welcome any Artist that
the Cuban cultural authorities send to the US without any pre–conditions.

Not a single word towards the millions of Cubans who wish to exercise
their rights to leave and enter their country freely. What an egotistic
and uncompassionate position! To speak of the free flow of art, culture,
information, ideas and debate, when it is denied to millions of Cubans
the access to the internet and other most basic sources of information,
and while dozens of independent journalists live threatened or already
are serving long jail terms, just to inform and try to be informed.

This really sounds like a bad joke to me. What Cuban citizen or group
on the island could possibly send a similar document to Raul Castro,
without ending up in jail, after receiving a Marxist and sovereign
whipping? If not, ask the poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela, whom they made
her swallow the paper on which she had written her denouncement to Fidel

That this out-of-place petition be signed by the likes of Harry
Belanfonte and Carlos Santana, does not surprise me. But the adherence
of some of my compatriots and music colleagues, knowing so well what a
"respectful dialogue with the government of Cuba" really means, it seems
at most, ridiculous.

Much more appropriate would be to send a similar petition to the Castro
government, demanding the right of ALL Cubans to express themselves
without20coaxing, to travel freely in and out of our country, to
democratically elect our leaders, and then, ask for the signature of
these artists, educators, academics, professional and American
impresarios, that are so interested in the free flow of ideas between
our peoples. In the meantime, the music can wait. Don't you think so?

Paquito D'Rivera
Cuban exiled musician and author.
July 29-2009

MUSIC CAN WAIT - Misceláneas de Cuba (29 July 2009)

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