Exclusive: Yotuel, Gente de Zona, and Descemer Bueno on Speaking Up for Cuba
With their new music video "Patria y Vida", Yotuel, Gente de Zona, and Descemer Bueno have garnered over 2 million YouTube views and put their native Cuba in the spotlight. The video denounces the injustices on the island and the violence faced by those who oppose Cuba's totalitarian regime. Cuban rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky — and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the Cuban group of artists and activists Movimiento San Isidro — are also featured in the music video.
The reaction from many Cubans on the island who want democracy has been to paint "Patria y Vida" on their bodies and houses, as a way to show support for the cause. Some have been detained or have been victimized by mobs organized by the administration of Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba's president, as a way to repress them.
Yotuel Romero, Gente de Zona, and Descemer Bueno spoke to People CHICA about this powerful hymn. "They write to you, they threaten you," Yotuel says of the Cuban government's reaction to the song and the criticism it has generated worldwide. "It's so sad that we still have to endure this because we think differently. That in our country thinking differently leads to a physical confrontation."
Yotuel says he won't be intimidated by threats and spoke today before the European Parliament about the abuse endured by the Cuban people under a dictatorship that has lasted over 60 years. He also plans to speak to President Joe Biden, whose team approached him for a meeting after the music video went viral.
Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom of Cuban reggaeton duo Gente de Zona also opened up about the song. Delgado says Cuba is undergoing one of the most difficult times in its history, with the shortage of food and medicine reaching a peak during the pandemic.
He says this song is not an attempt to gain more fame and money, but rather a cry for help to end their country's humanitarian crisis. "Our families are on our side, they support us, our kids give us the motivation to keep going in favor of the truth," he says. Malcom is hopeful about Cuba's future. "When over 11 million Cubans inside and outside [of the country] unite, change will come."
Descemer Bueno adds about the battle for a democratic and prosperous Cuba: "I think this is the beginning. We have many years of fight ahead." The singer says through art and music they are speaking out against the poverty and lack of freedom Cubans face every day on the island, and they won't be silenced. "This our way to erode the system."