Posted on Tuesday, 09.17.13
Cuban singer’s blast at the government draws support, criticism
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Reaction to singer Roberto Carcassés’ decision to castigate the Cuban
government during a televised concert last week was mixed Tuesday as
other artists came out in his support, criticized him or just danced
gingerly around the issue.
Silvio Rodríguez, Cuba’s best-known singer-composer and a government
supporter on many issues, said he would include Carcassés in his own
concerts to offset the Culture Ministry’s indefinite ban on
presentations by the 41-year old singer who inserted his criticism of
the government into a concert in honor of four Cuban spies jailed in the
“I took the decision to do this precisely in the next two concerts,
after learning that he had been sanctioned with an indefinite”
suspension from concerts and other public activities sponsored by the
ministry, Rodríguez declared.
“I do not agree with the excessive sanction of barring a musician from
doing his work,” he wrote in his blog, Segunda Cita (Second Meeting).
But Rodríguez also criticized Carcassés’ calls during the concert for
direct presidential elections in Cuba and freedom of information and
opinion in the communist-run country. The concert was held last Thursday
in front of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Havana.
“As a Cuban citizen Robertico has the right to say what he thinks,” he
wrote. “I would have preferred that he would do this in another concert,
in a record, somewhere else, because the struggle for the freedom of
(the spies) is sacred for the Cuban people.”
“Sadly, the clumsiness of my friend was followed by another” committed
by officials in the Culture Ministry, he added. “It seems to me horrific
that the cause on behalf of the (spies) could be used as a pretext for
an act of repression.”
Cuba argues that the five spies arrested in 1998 are “heroes” because
they spied on exiles planning terror attacks. Evidence at their trial
showed they also spied on U.S. military installations.
One of the group known as the Cuban Five served his sentence and
returned to Cuba this year.
Tanmy López Moreno, violinist in Carcassés’ fusion music group,
Interactivo, was quoted as criticizing the singer in a note posted by
government official Iroel Sánchez in his blog La Pupila Insomne (The
“This incident has been very painful for me on a personal level, and
absolutely foreign to me on the ethical and professional level,” Lopez
reportedly wrote. “Foreign to my individual position, reflected in my
record and concert work.”
More directly critical was singer Conrado Monier. In a declaration sent
to a government website, La Jiribilla (The Spin), he accused Carcassés
of “damaging” the work of many other Cuban artists.
“What you said is not exactly the worst, although it shows a lack of
political culture that if I were you, I would try to overcome,” Monier
wrote. “What is unforgivable is who you said it to, where and when …”
Digna Guerra, director of the internationally known National Chorus of
Cuba, declared in another note to La Jiribilla that she was “infuriated”
with Carcassés’ comments.
“It’s not a matter that we cannot have different opinions,’’ she said.
“It’s a matter of having the ethics and responsibility to express our
opinions at the right time and place.
“To use that concert, in which many of us artists were representing an
entire people in a battle sacred to the nation, is an absolutely
reproachable act…,” Guerra added.
Singer Eduardo Sosa criticized Carcassés as “clumsy but not a total loss
… naive but never mediocre,” in another note to La Jiribilla and
attacked the foreign news media for reporting on the singer’s rare
public blast at the government.
Source: “Cuban singer’s blast at the government draws support, criticism
- Cuba – MiamiHerald.com” –
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