Declaration by CAFE about the recent comments of Paquito de Rivera

CAFE deplores the statements of the pro-embargo musician Paquito de Rivera made during Felix Guillermo's program on channel 41 in Miami. Mr. De Rivera is a remarkable multi-instrumentalist who has every right to express his opinion granted by the first amendment of the U.S. constitution. Other Cuban-Americans who also enjoy the protection of freedom of speech have the right to say that even though Mr. De Rivera has represented Cuban music in the highest order his statements are a disgraceful insult to Cubans everywhere, especially on the island.

Mr. De Rivera's statements claiming that the Cuban people are made up of "beggars and prostitutes" are not, unfortunately, the exception to the extremely hateful language used by pro-embargo groups such as the Cuban American National Foundation, the US-Cuba Democracy PAC, and the Cuban Freedom Council. The musician has raised funds for such groups and has repeatedly approved of the postures taken by these organizations. The unjustified denigration of the Cuban people in order to defend a political ideology is a shameful act for which De Rivera will have to answer.

CAFE calls upon all Cuban-American organizations, particularly those that have coordinated activities with this artist and who may or may not share his pro-embargo views, to distance themselves from said statements and denounce such language. We also exhort the local Miami media - including Channel 41 and other television outlets, the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and Radio Marti TV (where the musician has been revered for his politics) to declare their positions towards these statements.