Sunday, March 28, 2010

Walking the Tightrope Without Falling Into the Abyss

Getting right with both God and the Devil is very difficult, but not impossible. If anyone has any doubts they can ask the boys of Calle 13, they know the formula. So, for example, they invited Aldo from Los Aldeanos to play, but no one gave the rapper his musician’s pass, nor did they take him on the bus with the rest of the musicians, so when he arrived at the concert the security people would not let him pass. No one could say, however, that the reggaetoners had been complicit in censorship, nor even silent witnesses to it. Singing songs against the United States Interest Section in Havana and for the rights of everyone in Miami also works, although it is not very subtle. Finally, photos with the wives of the Ministry of the Interior’s five comrades imprisoned in the United States, and supporting the Ladies in White from Puerto Rico, lends it all a touch of cynicism that our superficiality can, in spite of everything, forgive.

Perhaps “Resident”* and “Visitor”* believed – a bit of ingenuity to succeed in the marketplace of “musical politics” – that the Five were political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, and then declared, from the other side of the pond, that they had met with the families of those imprisoned for their ideas here in Cuba. It must be very sad for a journalist, sentenced to twenty years in prison for what he has written, to hear such false confessions.

Of course all these reflections are not necessary to drive one’s hips when it’s time to dance reggaetón, which was the objective of the group on the Island, and one which they accomplished.

*Translator's note: The rappers go by the names: René Pérez "Residente" and Eduardo Cabra "Visitante"

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