Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez asked this Wednesday for an amnesty for the prisoners “who were not violent” during the massive protests that shook Cuba on July 11.
The artist, a regular defender of the Cuban revolution, left his position in a comment on his Segunda Cita blog.
This Wednesday the first prison sentences were known for some of those arrested during the largest protests in the last six decades on the island.
After a summary trial held on Tuesday in which most did not have a lawyer, 12 detainees received sentences of 10 months to 1 year in jail.
Organizations and activists estimate the total number of detainees at several hundred, most of whom remain in prison – awaiting charges or not – and others have been released. The government has not offered official data.
Rodríguez posted his comment after meeting with the playwright Yunior Garcia and the film production company Dayana Prieto, two artists who were arrested (already released) for their participation in the protests and who also attended the demonstrations on November 27 in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in Havana.
“They (García and Prieto) asked me to call someone and ask for amnesty for all the prisoners,” the troubadour wrote.
Rodríguez recalled that on one occasion he asked the government for amnesty for other prisoners in the past and that now “he is asking the same for those who were not violent.”
“Need for dialogue”
During the meeting that Rodríguez held with García, Prieto and others, he affirmed that “there were dialogues and exchanges.”
“For me the most painful thing was hearing that they, as a generation, no longer felt part of the Cuban process but something else“he added.
“There must be more bridges (…) 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 thing with the same words, decade after decade, as if the generations did not also come with their own words and illusions “.
For his part, Yunior García also recorded his meeting with Rodríguez:
“We were able to confront our differences with the utmost respect and we preferred to focus on our coincidences. We also did not 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. “
The troubadour’s meeting with the young artists comes days after Yunior García reproached him for not having supported the protests by artists last November.
Criticism and praise
For decades, Rodríguez has been criticized and praised in equal measure for his political stances.
His critics reproach him for defending a government that they consider authoritarian and inefficient.
Others applaud his involvement with the revolution and other left movements in Latin America during his artistic career.
Silvio Rodríguez’s songs are frequently played at official events of the Cuban government.
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