Arts & Entertainment

The Hip-Hop Song That’s Driving Cuba’s Unprecedented Protests

By Bill Chappell, NPR

Cuba is suffering through a summer of dire shortages, from food and electricity to medicine. Fed-up Cubans are taking to the streets in unprecedented protests — and they’re voicing their outrage through a song called Patria y Vida — homeland and life.

The slogan is a spin on the communist regime’s decades-old slogan of “patria o muerte” — homeland or death. In strong terms, the song accuses the government of destroying the quality of life in Cuba, a message that quickly found traction with protesters who are demanding change.

“No more lies. My people demand freedom. No more doctrines!” the song says. It calls for people to shout “patria y vida … and start building what we dreamed of/ what they destroyed with their hands.”

The viral hit has become a political slogan

Patria y Vida has been a phenomenon since its release this year. The song is a collaboration between a group of Afro-Cuban reggaeton and hip-hop stars based in Miami, such as Yotuel Romero and Alexander Delgado, along with rappers Maykel Osorbo and El Funky, who live in Cuba. A YouTube video of the song has been viewed nearly 6 million times.

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