Friday, April 2, 2010

Silvio Rodriguez: The suspicious trade of juggling.

Recently, the well-known Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodriguez has made a few meaningful declarations about Cuba’s reality, or what he has interpreted as Cuba’s reality which could be a bit different from his perspective. We’ve gotten used to listen to him with a bit of sarcasm and irony because his traditional ups and downs about Castro and his regime.Silvio Rodriguez and the trade of juggling

Silvio Rodriguez’s professional history is the symbol of how a well-know anti-establishment artist becomes swallow by the regime previously criticized by him.

His song “Ojala” (Let’s hope so) became a national underground anthem, and “El rey de los judios” (The king of the Jews) was passing hand to hand to become one of the most listened songs in Cuba underground at the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s from the new generation marked by the absence of religious spirituality. Silvio was attached by the regime with the feared label of dissident and immediately disappeared from the public eye.

The story of “Ojala” is a mirror where you can see the evolution of our Silvio dissident into Silvio sponsored by Cuba’s authorities. A story so many times repeated nowadays with many others. The lyrics of that song give hints here and there, with metaphors, about someone you want to kill “with a shot of snow”, or someone you want to erase suddenly. Word of mouth said he was talking about Fidel Castro.

During latest 70’s he moved on and whispered the version about that song was made to reflect what happened to him with the President of our National TV. In the early 80’s, the story changed again and his trademark song became just a song about a broken heart and broken lovers: something that anybody believe nowadays.

The evolution in Silvio shows the evolution in someone who passed from being an artist with a personal voice, non-conformist in essence and anti-establishment in lyrics, to be devoured by the same system he denounced with poetics metaphor in so many songs like “Sueño con Serpientes” (I deam with serpents). In the 60’s and 70’s, he was the most successful artist of Cuba even when nobody could see him in public spaces. With his success came his own devouring process by Castro’s establishment. Ironically, Silvio never wrote any other song like those written in Playa Giron’ ship: his dreams about serpents became reality. He was wolfed down by them.

Lately, Silvio has brought us a few hints of “official” dissidence talking publicly about that Cuba has to analyze why our youth is leaving the country massively or the necessity of an “evolution” within the “revolution”. His plays on words are so ambiguous and obscure that you never stop to ask yourself if it is just for the sake of his future or it is only to get prominence in the moment to reach out new audience. Don’t forget that his words were told when he was introducing his new album: a hint you never forget.

Anyway, the truth is Silvio Rodriguez has amassed a fortune from his record and copyrights as a trademark of Castro’s Revolution: Castro’s tyranny. There is no other way we can ignore that fact.

Tuesday, the official libel of Cuba’s Communist Party, GRANMA, published a caricature of Silvio in its graphic opinion (look at the picture in this post). The caricature shows the old troubadour bald and getting on in years and pounds and says: Yes, I sang for the poor of the earth. In another balloon the troubadour expresses: That was before I earned a lot of money with my songs”.

It looks like Castro’s regime, through GRANMA as many times, is pointing him with an accusing finger. Does it mean Silvio is in trouble with the old tyrant? Does it mean his honeymoon is over?

It is up to you to understand this brain breaker. In my case, I had made my mind for too long about the old troubadour. It is started when Silvio left us for his pockets fill of dollars and renting his songs to Castro for the worst. We cannot expect he is going to be a dissident or someone who is going to sign the petition for our political prisoners in Cuba. It is too far from his shaking hand and for his will. That’s all.

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