Monday, December 10, 2012

The Background of "En Eso Llegó Fidel"

Revolutionary Songs


When the Cuban Revolution began, Castro and his "26th of July Movement" enjoyed broad support as they agitated against Fulgencio Batista, the corrupt American-backed dictator of Cuba. Cuban artists of the day captured the enthusiasm and optimism of the early days of the revolution through song, painting, and poetry, which allowed them to convey the emotion of the revolutionary spirit in ways that simple prose could not.

Carlos Puebla--a Cuban singer, guitarist, and composer--was one such artist. A strong supporter of Fidel Castro, Puebla shared Castro's disdain for Batista as well as his concern for the welfare of the Cuban working class. Puebla's political leanings and support for Castro eventually earned him the nickname "El Cantor de la Revolución," or "The Singer of the Revolution."

Puebla wrote En Eso Llegó Fidel ("And then Fidel Arrived") in 1959, following the overthrow of Batista's government. With anthem and marching rhythms, "En Eso Llegó Fidel" casts Fidel as a mythical savior as each stanza juxtaposes the corrupt past of the Batista regime with the redemptive moment "when Fidel arrived." The widespread popularity of this song and of Carlos Puebla's music more generally is testimony to the symbolic power of the Cuban Revolution in the early revolutionary imagination of Latin Americans.

Source: Primary Source - Educating for Global Understanding

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