Puerto Rico's Oscar Lopez Rivera Honors Cuba's Fidel Castro

Mementos, songs and photos were brought out for the occasion to honor the revolutionary life of Cuban hero Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro's legacy is an example for the world, Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera said Wednesday during a tribute ceremony in Cuba for the Cuban revolutionary leader.

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Mementos, songs and photos were brought out for the occasion. The event, coordinated by the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the Casa del Cultura in Havana.

“I can say this afternoon for me has been a great honor and an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life, with the desire that other people around the world rise and follow the example of the leader in order to achieve a better world,” Lopez said to the crowd of 140 international guests and media personnel

With the assistance of the Tricontinental Audiovisual Space, Fidel's life became a living mobile of photos.

“The whole world must emulate the example that the commander in chief Fidel Castro Ruz left to us,” Lopez Rivera said.

During his visit to Cuba, the independence activist, who spent nearly four decades in U.S. prison as a political prisoner, also visited the University of Havana to speak with students.

“This country has achieved like no other poor country in the development of human resources and the system of university education has been a pillar,” Lopez Rivera told the students, adding that Cubans enjoy debt-free education.

Lopez described the strength and wealth of opportunity open to Cuban youth, saying he planned to leave the congregation of students more confident in their abilities.

He criticized the host of sanctions targeting the nation by U.S. President Donald Trump and he denounced the travel and economic bans as a means to disempower Cuban people.

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“We Puerto Ricans, those of us who love freedom, those of us who believe in independence, live deeply grateful to the Cuban people, to their government of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, and to all those who have been in solidarity with our struggle,” Lopez Rivera told the students.

“Youth is the future of every people, it is the driving force that has made this society achieve so many accomplishments. When I look at you, I see the best of this society,” he added.

The Puerto Rican activist spent two weeks touring Cuba and will bring his visit to a close after stopping for a short time in Guantanamo Bay.

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Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López arrives in Cuba (+Photos)

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 13 (ACN) Happy to visit Cuba for the first time, whose leaders and people he thanked for their support for his release, the Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar López Rivera arrived in Havana this morning.

At the José Martí international airport Oscar Lopez was met by Fernando González Llort, Hero of the Republic of Cuba and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), with whom the Puerto Rican patriot shared a four-year cell in the Terre Haute prison in Indiana, United States, in the midst of almost 36 years of unjust imprisonment, until being pardoned by former President Barack Obama.

In statements to the press, Lopez Rivera said he intends to enjoy as much time as possible with his brother Cuban people.

When referring to the situation in Puerto Rico, he recalled that it is a country colonized for more than 100 years that today suffers from the effects of hurricane Maria, while facing the lack of interest and support from the US government.

López Rivera will exchange during his visit to Cuba with the Five Cuban Heroes who served sentences in the United States, including Fernando, where in addition to the Order of Solidarity, conferred by the State Council, he will receive samples of affection and admiration of the authorities and the population.

Invited by ICAP, the independence leader will develop an extensive program of activities, which includes meetings with representatives of various sectors in various provinces, and the tribute to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, in Santiago de Cuba.

As part of the support for the case of López Rivera, during the more than three decades of imprisonment, Cuba promoted before the United Nations Decolonization Committee a resolution in which it requested recognition of the right to independence and self-determination of Puerto Rico, and demanded Lopez Rivera´s release and that of other freedom fighters imprisoned in the United States.

The project, supported by Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua, was approved as a resolution by said committee in 2012, but the US ignored it.

Now, on a memorable day for relations of brotherhood between Cuba and Puerto Rico, the island receives this Puerto Rican patriot.

Edwin González (I), delegado de la misión puertorriqueña en Cuba, recibe al luchador independentista puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera, en el aeropuerto internacional José Martí, en La Habana, el 12 de noviembre de 2017. ACN FOTO/Orlando PERERA/ICAP

Fernando González Llort (D), Héroe de la República de Cuba y presidente del Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP), recibe al luchador independentista puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera, en el aeropuerto internacional José Martí, en La Habana, el 12 de noviembre de 2017. ACN FOTO/Orlando PERERA/ICAP

Fernando González Llort (D), Héroe de la República de Cuba y presidente del Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP), recibe al luchador independentista puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera, en el aeropuerto internacional José Martí, en La Habana, el 12 de noviembre de 2017. ACN FOTO/Orlando PERERA/ICAP

El luchador independentista puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera (I), ofrece declaraciones a la prensa, a su llegada al aeropuerto internacional José Martí, en La Habana, el 12 de noviembre de 2017. ACN FOTO/Orlando PERERA/ICAP

 

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Silvio Rodriguez Puerto Rico Tour Hails Independence Fighters

Rodriguez formed part of Latin America’s socially conscious Nueva Trova songwriting movement of the 1960s.

About 10,000 people gathered in Puerto Rico's Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum Saturday to welcome back Cuban folk singer and songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, who dedicated a song to Ana Belen Montes, sentenced by a U.S. court to 25 years in prison in 2004 accused of conspiracy to commit espionage for the government of Cuba.

RELATED: Fidel Castro and Silvio Rodriguez: A Revolutionary Friendship

The singer dedicated his "Song of the Chosen One" to the leading figures of the Puerto Rican independence movement including Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Lolita Lebron, Filiberto Ojeda Rios and Oscar Lopez Rivera, citing the line, "This is not a story of a common man but of a human being from another world."

Rodriguez was actually able to meet with and hug Lopez Rivera on Friday in a historic visit after receiving permission to do so as the political prisoner serves out his 35-year U.S. sentence in San Juan under house arrest. Lopez Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner from Latin America in the U.S.

Rodriguez was accompanied on stage by Jorge Aragon (piano), Jorge Reyes (double bass), Oliver Valdes (drums), Emilio Vega (vibraphone and drums) and Trio Trovarroco, with musicians Rachid Lopez, Maykel Elizarde and Cesar Bacaro, as well as the only woman on stage, flutist Niurka Gonzalez.

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The prolific musician, who has released more than 20 albums, has always supported Fidel and the Cuban Revolution and he recently condemned the blockade imposed by the United States.

Rodriguez was one of the guests of the Cuban government at the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. in July 2015, the day of the formal reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

In 2010, the 68-year-old played his first concert in the U.S. since 1980, to a rapturous reception.

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Cuban and Puerto Rican Musicians Mix Their Rhythms

Havana, Mar 24 (Prensa Latina) Cuban rap music group ORISHAS expects that soon everyone sings and has fun, with the music of new song ''Pegadito al Piso'' (Right Close to the Floor), recorded in collaboration with Puerto Rican band ''La Tribu de Abrante.''

'The song is mixing the Afro-Cuban and Afro Puerto Rican cultures, and I am sure this song can go round the world, because it is a very joyful song, with a spectacular video clip filmed in Cuba,' said one of the members of Orishas, Yotuel Romero, to reporters of Prensa Latina

'The sound of the drums, make those who don't know how to dance move', stated Puerto Rican band's director, singer and composer Hiram Abrante.

Abrante sees this kind of collaboration as a chance to let know the Puerto Rican cultural roots, and is a great admirer of the music by Orishas.

For his part, Yotuel Romero was invited to a party in Miami, and there was some attractive music, that called his attention, he asked who was playing the music, and it was the Puerto Rican group 'la Tribu de Abrante'.

'I saw what they did, and I saw a very fresh and current musical proposal, I saw young people trying to rescue the essence of Afro Puerto Rican rhythms and as Orishas does the same thing with the Afro-Cuban music, blended with the rap, I said: it is necessary to make a song with these guys,' the singer told the reporters.

After eight years of absence in their native Cuba, Romero decided to revive Orishas, the best band of hip hop in the Cuban music's history that had been founded at the end of the decade of the 1990's, together with Hiram Riverí (Ruzzo), Roldán González and Liván Núñez.

For the reunification, they recorded the video clip 'Cuba Beautiful Island', in collaboration with popular local musicians as the duet Buena Fe, Leoni Torres, Laritza Bacallao, Isaac Delgado, Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona and Waldo Mendoza.

Rosemary assumed the visual part, with a friend photographer with the intention of reflecting in a very subtle and natural way of the Cuban idiosyncracy.

'I wanted to make a non nostalgic song, a song that stands,' he underlined and exposed satisfaction to direct audiovisuals for their group and other artists, as he made it recently in this capital for Spanish Beatriz Luengo and the vocalist of the Mexican band Reik.

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Residente Drops First Solo Single: Somos Anormales

Recorded in South Siberia, Somos Anormales, or We Are Abnormal, is the first single from Residente’s much-anticipated massive solo project. 

On the always strange day of Friday the 13th, Residente – the 25-time Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist for his work with Calle 13 – released the first single, Somos Anormales, or We Are Abnormal, from his highly anticipated solo project.

Twitter was understandably pleased, and #somosanormales began quickly trending.

For the past two years, Puerto Rican rapper and activist Rene Perez – known by his stage-name, Residente – has been working on a solo project “inspired by his ancestors” which has taken him to four different continents to collaborate with local musicians and explore the multilayered heritage he discovered after taking a DNA test.

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In what he calls his “most ambitious project to date,” Perez – celebrated for both the virtuosity and politics of his lyrics – set out to explore his genetic roots through music traveling to and collaborating with musicians from China, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Spain, England, and Puerto Rico.

"Everything that surrounds me affects me and as an artist, I feel the responsibility to reflect that. That's why I collaborated with talented artists, artists that the musical industry doesn't know of because they don't pay attention to them, artists that make music without expecting something in return, artists whom I share DNA with, just how they shared their stories with me," Residente said in a statement on the launch of the project’s website.

The single released Friday was recorded in Kyzyl, the capital of the South Siberian state of Tuva, along with the Tuvan throat singing group Chirgilchin. The video accompanying the track was filmed largely in Madrid, and directed by Residente himself.

With lines like “beauty is fed by faults,” the song proudly proclaims that “we are all abnormal” and celebrates the unique “labyrinth” of our genetics:

Our genetics, a labyrinth
We are equally different
What mixes is more interesting
Like a fly with elephant ears
Colors triplicate, nobody loses
Yellow with blue make green
They can not copy it
What’s impure can not be duplicated

The release comes just one month after Perez launched a website to accompany his vast project and ahead of a world tour which will begin spring.

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Cuban Residents in Costa Rican Condemn U.S. Blockade

Cuban residents in Costa Rica on Sunday repeated their demand for the elimination of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba and the return of the naval base in Guantanamo, which is illegally occupied by the United States.

The demand was contained in a statement issued in this capital by the national meeting of the ‘Antonio Maceo' Cultural Association of Cubans Residents in Costa Rica, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The text supports the Cuban government's statement that despite the historic vote at the UN General Assembly against the blockade, where no country voted against it, that siege 'remains and will remain the major obstacle for the economic development' of the Caribbean island.

The document, presented by the president of the association, Juan Mesa Lloret, condemns the United States' intention to destroy constitutional order in Cuba through the direct financing of counterrevolutionary groups and individuals.

We will continue coveying to the new generations of Cubans born anywhere in the world the knowledge of Cuba's history, culture, patriotic symbols and our principles of independence, sovereignty and national identity, the statement concludes.

Cuban Ambassador to Costa Rica Danilo Sanchez and other officials from the Cuban diplomatic mission in this Central American country attended the meeting as guests.

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