Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez called for the release of the detainees “who were not violent.” in the protests on Sunday July 11 in Cuba, after meeting with young people who were arrested during one of the demonstrations. “I don’t know how many prisoners there will be now; they say hundreds. I ask the same (freedom) for those who were not violent and I keep my word,” wrote Rodríguez, 74, on his Segunda Cita blog.
The singer told there a meeting with the actor and playwright Yunior García Aguilera (39) and his wife, the film producer Dayana Prieto. García, director of Trébol Teatro, was the one who requested the interview with Rodríguez. On July 11, he was arrested when he was leading a group of fellow artists who protested in front of the state Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), and was released a day later.
“The meeting with Yunior and Dayana was good, I am not exaggerating if I say fraternal; there was dialogue, exchange, we listened to each other with attention and respect,” Rodríguez wrote. For the author of enormous classics of the so-called “Cuban trova”, the most painful thing “was to hear that they, as a generation, no longer felt part of the Cuban process, but something else.” “They explained their arguments to me, their frustrations,” he said.
García was also one of those who on November 27 started a symbolic protest in front of the Ministry of Culture, where 300 young artists demanded freedom of expression and to be heard.
“There must be more bridges, there must be more dialogues, there must be less prejudice; less desire to hit and more desire to resolve the mountain of pending economic and political issues,” added Rodríguez.
Thousands of Cubans protested two Sundays ago, in various cities on the island and with very different claims, in demonstrations that the Government deemed promoted by the United States and which responded with a massive concentration in Havana.
After the meeting, the two shared their impressions.
The complete exchange of Silvio Rodríguez and Yunior García
Silvio Rodríguez’s message:
The meeting with Yunior and Dayana was good, I am not exaggerating if I say fraternal; there was dialogue, exchange, we listened to each other with attention and respect. The most painful thing for me was hearing that they, as a generation, no longer felt part of the Cuban process but something else. They explained their arguments, their frustrations to me. I tried to make them understand that at my age, too, everything was much slower than we expected it to be. Guilt of what, of whom? And we talk about misunderstandings between different ages, between different interests and understandings. Too painful for me to plead out; I cannot accept that failure not even in the name of pain for misunderstandings. I suffered them too and I never felt out of it. But I think that my generation was the immediate one to the insurrectionary and that we inherited the motives of our parents and later, growing up, we suffered with them how much it has cost to be sovereign and also socialist.
There must be more bridges, there must be more dialogues, there must be less prejudice; less desire to hit and more desire to resolve the mountain of pending economic and political issues; less habit of listening to those who speak the same with the same words, decade after decade, as if the generations did not also come with their own words and illusions.
They asked me to call someone and ask for amnesty for all the prisoners. I remember the last time I asked for an amnesty. It was in the Anti-Imperialist Tribune. A second before uploading an authority he told me not to say it. If I don’t say that, I don’t say anything, I replied. And I was able to get to the microphone. And among many other things I asked for the freedom of those people with whom I did not agree. And a couple of weeks later (not my fault) 70 lives were set free. I don’t know how many prisoners there will be now, they say hundreds. I ask the same for those who were not violent and I keep my word. They have nothing to do with me because I asked for nothing. I hope they never sit outside again (wish thrown into the air).
We already talked.
It was 70 minutes of frankness at the Ojalá studios. Neither invited the other to renounce their positions or principles. We were able to confront our differences with the utmost respect and we preferred to focus on our coincidences. Nor did we waste time discussing issues that none of us can resolve in practice. We focus on how to contribute, right now, to the good of Cuban society as a whole.
Silvio pledged in front of Dayana, Niurka and in front of me, to advocate for the release of all the prisoners who participated in the protests. He gave his word, convincingly, that he will do everything in his power to achieve that goal.
We also agree on a project (in due course it will be made public) that could serve as the beginning of a truly plural, inclusive, civic, respectful and broad debate that finds consensus among the diversity that today characterizes us as Cubans.
Today’s match was not about a fight to find a winner. It was about Cuba. And I think we left there with the certainty that real changes are needed, driven by non-violent means, without interference and where no Cuban feels excluded.
Thanks to all who contributed, with their opinions and comments, to make this meeting possible. There is still much to do. And we will do it without hatred.