“'Patria y Vida’ has been the anthem of this fight,” says Robin Pedraja, a Cuban journalist who publishes the respected music magazine Vistar, and who lives and works in Cuba. “I ratify what Yotuel has said: ‘Patria y Vida’ is the anthem of the Cuban people. For the past four days, it’s been our chorus. We greet each other by saying: ‘Hello brother. Patria y Vida.’ I believed myself to be a revolutionary because I’m in my country taking culture to another level. Now, I don’t know. But I do know I’m with the people."
Pedraja’s words are extraordinary considering he lives and works in Cuba, is free to travel in and out of the island, has “never” been censored in any way and, most importantly, has always considered himself a revolutionary.
Now, for the first time in seven years, Vistar published a post that is political in nature, outlining the chronology of Cuba’s protests and ensuing violence.
The violent confrontations began on July 11 when Cuba’s communist president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, exhorted “all revolutionaries and communists” to take to the streets and confront protesters. “The order to battle is given: Revolutionaries to the streets,” said Díaz-Canel in his address, broadcast in all media on the island.
His battle cry was taken to heart. In days since, the crowds protesting against Cuba’s repressive communist government have been attacked and beaten by police and government sympathizers, and dissidents have been yanked from their homes.
In response, people like Pedraja -- along with well-known influencers, artists and musicians -- have raised their voices in protest inside the island.
“We all want to live in a country that has rights and respects freedom of speech,” said popular rapper Yomil, whose longtime musical partner, El Dany, died a year ago due to what Yomil has said was medical negligence. One of the island’s best known and most commercial acts, Yomil has been marching despite, or rather because of, his fame.