The sludge or media lapidating machine is once again the blackmail and compulsion tool against those Cuban artists who refuse to slander the Cuban Revolution. This imperialist crusade has been brewing for some time and now they target an outstanding artist because of her masterful vocal qualities, high level of improvisation, display of versatility and charisma, and owner of a scenic force capable of drawing the attention of any dancer or spectator: the very Cuban Haila María Mompié González.
It’s a kind of Prize or Punishment system for Cuban artists who visit Miami, which consists of publicly and viciously attacking those who defend Socialism. Their main punishment is to launch campaigns to achieve the cancellation of concerts, withdrawal of the US residence permit or simply the denial of entry visa to that country.
—There’s a prize or punishment policy targeting Cuban artists, in your opinion, how does this topic behave?
—“Of course, “it does exist. It is like that old saying: if you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy. I also think that it is aimed at the Cuban artists who live on the island and others who do not, but specifically at Cuban artists. It’s a phenomenon that has worsened and they target us with that kind of actions, which I deem as harassment, bullying, practices broadly used on social networkslately.
—What characterizes the discourse or questionnaire of the interviewers in their shows?
—I think that this time the thirst for talking to Haila intensified. All broadcasters began to call me constantly to grant them an interview. Once again, they apparently do not have many news or do not create contents to entertain the public, so they kick a dead horse again and get a video from the social networking uploaded on September 28, 2010, which has caused tongues to wag. The aim? I ignore it. Maybe, it is to continue tarnishing the career of an artist devoted to Cuban music for many years and export it throughout the world.
—What is the main aspiration of an artist when visiting Miami or anywhere else in the world?
—Miami is only part of the world, the fact is not that Cuban artists eager to be able to give concerts there, at least that’s my opinion. I have performed in that city many times, even after the video, and I don’t understand why the topic is intensifying now.
“Cultural exchange has always existed, although many think it is not true. Many US artists visit the island to take part in different jazz and salsa festivals and the US government is the one which gives the visa. Likewise, it grants it to us in order to be able to share our music in the United States. In my opinion, it’s not possible that someone can force another person not to attend a concert, go to see some artist or a visual art work. I think that everybody has the right to express themselves the way they want, as there’s also the right to decide what to do.”
Why should they tarnish the image of an artist and not make her more credible instead, by placing the other side of the coin on the scale, an artist beloved by many, altruist, defender of the genre and promoter of many campaigns, tutor of that very popular TV show Sonando en Cuba (Sounding in Cuba)? What has been your motivation to undertake such projects?
—I consider myself an ambassadress of Cuban music who carries her flag to many nations. Hence there are people identified with me, with my feelings, with my career… However, many people only know me from the prospect of the artist. Without going deeper, they take my career and use it for manipulation. What do Cubans like most? Music. What divides Cubans most? Politics. Divide and rule.
“We’re living difficult times, but suitable for enterprising women. I am an enterprising woman. I’ve made many favorable things for my country, for youth. I spare no efforts to help whoever knocks at my door and there you have the example of the contestants of the TV show “Sonando en Cuba”, who speak for themselves. All the young people who were prepared under my responsibility and those who were not as well. In short, people tend to reach their own conclusions; so it is important that they see the truth through their own eyes and not the lie from the eyes of others.”
In her almost 30-year-old career, the Diva of the People acknowledges that the artist must be self-sacrificing, disciplined and should offer the public a lot of affection. She states: “On stage, I am an artist devoted to my audience in soul, body, heart and life.”
Another issue that comforts her and brings her happiness most is having decided to live in Cuba. “I am totally happy in my country. My sole “crime”, my sole “felony” has been to remain living in Cuba, to love my homeland, my country, my people above all things and to give everything to them. I consider myself art and culture; I am Cuba too. I could have lived elsewhere, with a lot of money in a bank account, with a multinational contract and I decided to remain here. That is not reprehensible.
“In addition, here I have the support of the people who I love. I am a woman with 22 years of marriage. When a woman has a solid life, with calm and peace, a united family, everything flows easier. And that is demonstrated in my path as a women.”
—Haila, I would like you to talk about your next performances and the new projects in which you are involved.
—I'm still getting things out of that wonderful album, dedicated to one of the most important singers in Latin America in the last 60 years, maestro Armando Manzanero. We’ll soon release a DVD of that record production and I am confident that all my fans are going to welcome it a lot.
“Moreover, I want to dedicate a disc to children, I owe them that since the last performance of Maní (Peanut) song. I retook that children’s theme by composer Rosa Campos and now it reaches the public with a salsa version, with another cartoon. In this production I also have themes by maestro Kiki Corona and will approach topics like recycling.”
But our team did not want to remain on the artist’s amour or prospect. It’s proven that one needs to go deeper, because sometimes there can be a lot of feeling inside and thus Haila Maria Mompié González has demonstrated.
Translated Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff