Los Van Van, Chucho Valdés and Leo Brouwer speak out in defense of protesting Cubans

Diario de Cuba reports that musicians such as Chucho Valdés and Leo Brouwer, who were signatories of the controversial letter supporting the executions of 2003, are speaking against the violence they consider is being promoted by Cuban President Díaz-Canel. Others such as Los Van Van and Haydée Milanés have also expressed their disappointment. Here are excerpts from Diario de Cuba.

Important figures of Cuban culture such as Lázaro Saavedra, winner of the National Prize for Visual Arts [Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas] and those deserving of the same recognition in the field of music, Leo Brouwer, Chucho Valdés, and Los Van Van, condemned the Cuban regime’s repression of the protesters in their social networks.

“What pain, what sadness to see this abuse of power going on! … I never imagined that the forces of order in Cuba would attack ordinary and peaceful people like us Cubans,” wrote Brouwer, one of the most important guitarists and composers of the island. “When Cubans protest, there is no doubt that politics, or rather, political and military power has gone too far! How can they live in peace?” Added the musician, referring to the repressive wave promoted by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

The most popular dance orchestra of Cuban music published a short note on its Facebook wall: “Los Van Van de Cuba exist thanks to our Cuban people, therefore, we will always support the people, whoever they are, whatever they think, or whatever ideology they defend, always with the utmost respect, let’s not forget that we are all Cubans, all the same people.”

“We support the thousands of Cubans who demand their rights; we must be heard. Let’s say no to violence and outrage. Let’s call for peace in our streets,” concludes the note, signed by Formell and Los Van Van.

Cuban visual artist Lázaro Saavedra went further and announced that he will no longer exhibit his works in state institutions in the country and he canceled the exhibition that he was going to present with his children at Galería Habana. “I just saw this video. I have watched it over and over again. Since yesterday, July 11, going through loads of data, I am trying to consume (as objectively as possible and trying to turn off my emotions) the images and videos that have been coming out. I’ve seen strong things, but this is too much,” he wrote next to the images of a brutal police beating. [. . .]

Jazz pianist Chucho Valdés, who along with Brouwer signed a controversial letter justifying the execution of a group of young Cubans in 2003, said he felt very sad for what the Cuban people, including his family, are suffering. “It hurts so much to see the subhuman conditions in which they subsist. Enough of deceit and lies. International humanitarian aid is essential,” added the artist.

Singer Haydee Milanés, for her part, said that the Cuban government has an obligation to listen to the people. “It is inadmissible that the authorities are calling for a confrontation between Cubans. Enough of the repression, enough of the violence!” she wrote on Facebook. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article, in Spanish, see https://diariodecuba.com/cuba/1626217537_32629.html

[Photo above, Chucho Valdés and Leo Brouwer at a concert in Havana, by ROBERTO RUIZ, ONCUBA.]

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