Cerro Maravilla is Puerto Rico’s fourth highest peak, located close to the border with the municipality Jayuya and part of the Central Mountain Range. But beside being an important place on the Puerto Rican map, Cerro Maravilla was the place where two independence activists — Carlos Enrique Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado Torres — were slain on July 25, 1978, in a police ambush.
Known as the Cerro Maravilla murders, the killings happened 40 years ago last month and have become a day of remembrance for activists in Puerto Rico, who every year gather to pay tribute to the two men and call attention to the colonial status the island is still under. Today, the Cerro Maravilla murders are once again in the international spotlight, thanks to Ile, who chose this story for her new video “Odio.”
The song, whose title translates to “hate,” wants to carry the clear message that hate is a feeling that lives every day and needs to stopped. The Cerro Maravilla murders are an example of that hatred and re-created in the video as they happened.
To know more details of the new song and video, Billboard spoke with Ile, who explained why she chose the Cerro Maravilla murders for the video and why she created such a graphic visual when she wants to send a different message with the song.
Why did you re-create the Cerro Maravilla murders in your new video for “Odio”?
In the song, the hatred is presented in a psychological way and it is a subject that could be taken in many directions, but for me, it was important to present something where Puerto Rico can feel identified too. Our colonial situation has separated us from our history, our roots, what we are now. And it is always good to remember moments that, however hard they were, are part of our history.
In the video, you present graphic and violent images. Are you worried about how people will react?
The reality we live is raw and, in the video, is presented in a real way. It is very sad that it is what we are still living, it is a personal frustration of what I see in the news, Twitter and online.
The history of Cerro Maravilla comes from a problem that involves politics. What do you want the politicians to understand with this video?
The political side is the oppression. And this story is an example of many things that happen every day, such as racism, hatred toward the LGBT community. It is about recognizing our differences as people and from there arriving at the political solution as a social movement, and it is important to learn to understand each other. We have to find a way to understand ourselves better.
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