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Ah… You’re Not in the “Package”

Ah… You’re Not in the “Package” / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on May 16, 2014

Climbing into a collective taxi at midday, with its whole body heated by
the sun and creaking at every pothole, is a shocking experience. You
duck your head and make yourself small to sit on the improvised seats. A
loose thread hanging from your pants leg or skirt catches on a badly set
screw, its metal tip never rounded off. Then comes the hardest test:
accepting the driver’s musical taste, which is playing full blast. But
it’s also a unique sociological experience, a journalistic look that
calls you to reflect on this peculiar reality we inhabit.

Some days ago I boarded one of these old “submersibles” that roll
through Havana. Pure scrap metal but with the powerful speakers of a
disco. The reggaeton was deafening. Most of the lyrics were sexist,
repetitive… predictable, until there was one that got me thinking. The
singer was making fun of someone and spit at them, “Ah… you’re not in
the package.” It only lasted a few seconds, “Ah… you’re not in the
package,” but it was enough. He was referring, perhaps, to another
musician or artist who didn’t appear in the compilations of the
so-called “combos,” selections of audiovisuals distributed in
alternative ways, which the government abhors.

It’s noteworthy that in the popular repertoire, to be left out of the
“package” means to be at the lowest rung of popularity. If a certain
video clip, documentary, or movie isn’t included in these alternative
compilations, it’s a sign of lack of fame. Most striking is when people
have the ability to put together their own “television programming,” in
those gigabytes of soap operas, documentaries or musicals… they never
include the official programs. That is, the Roundtable show could be the
target of the acid chorus, “Ah… you’re not in the package,” and it’s
true, of the primetime news, the political events and whatever speech or
government declaration is broadcast on the national channels.

The voice of the Cuban Communist Party has been left out of the
“package”… because it’s boring, bland, repetitive… and lacks credibility.

16 May 2014

Source: Ah… You’re Not in the “Package” / Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba –

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