the public screams "freedom" during the concert of Carlos Varela in the Sports City of Havana

the public screams "freedom" during the concert of Carlos Varela in the Sports City of Havana

Cries of “freedom” crept in on more than one occasion during Carlos Varela’s performance this Saturday at the Havana World Music Festival, at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum in Havana.

The attendees chanted the word in two moments, first when he finished singing Foto de familia, and later when he was performing The Fair of Fools, concert attendees refer to this newspaper. At the end of his performance, the singer-songwriter shouted “Long live free Cuba” and thanked the organizers – with Eme Alfonso at the head – of the event, whom he praised for “having the ovaries” to invite him to sing in Cuba.

The singer-songwriter Carlos Varela became the musical spokesman for the desire for change in Cuba, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the winds of perestroika and glasnost arrived from the USSR, which allowed the countries of Eastern Europe break free from Moscow’s influence.

At that time, his song Guillermo Tell became an anthem, where he talks about the need for a generational change of power in Cuba. This, along with other themes such as Jalisco Park, were not only manifestations of the desire for democracy in Cuba, they also portrayed the reality at that time, during the Special Period.

These positions led to ostracism and censorship. Varela has frequently been away from major Cuban events and his participation in this concert, in which Buena Fe or Haydée Milanés were also present, is striking. The official press, which covered the activity, barely mentioned the artist and did not, as might be expected, mention the exciting moment when the word “freedom” was heard shouted from the stands.

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