Cuban American music producer and businessman Emilio Estefan is releasing a video for the song “Libertad” in support of protesters on the island that took to the streets in mass last week calling for freedom.
The song called “Libertad” or liberty was authored, produced, and musicalized by Estefan in collaboration with the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, a nonprofit group. The video will be released on Tuesday at noon.
“This is the first time that the image is more important than the music,” Estefan, who has won 19 Grammy awards, told NBC News. “It’s really hard. I was born in Cuba even though we’re 90 miles, away it feels so far away.”
Estefan, who is married to Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan, said, “Gloria and I pray for Cuba each day.”
Over one week ago, Cuba saw the largest protests since the 1959 revolution when thousands took the streets across the entire island, many of them chanting “Libertad,” like the song’s title and calling for change.
The video was shot in Cuba two months ago. The Foundation had proposed Estefan write a piece that reflected the conditions in Cuba, following a rare protest that took place in November 2020 with hundreds of young artists and activists in front of the Culture Ministry.
The November protest in Cuba was a result of authorities breaking up members of an artist’s collective known as the San Isidro Movement that had been gathered for days, with six members on a hunger strike.
While the video was in production, the July 11th protests broke out, prompting Estefan to speed up the work.
“I feel people need to know the truth of what happened in Cuba. For the first time, thanks to technology they are seeing the reality of what happened and the abuse,” said Estefan.
The song talks about silence being the “enemy of liberty,” “it’s a shame that with force they want to silence you,” and “every human being deserves freedom.”
Around the middle of the song, voices chanting “libertad” are heard and at the end they name activists that have died. Two of them, Pedro Luis Boitel and Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died while on hunger strikes during their years-long imprisonments.
Estefan, who left Cuba when he was 14, said that for him “it’s not about politics, it’s about human rights.”
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