Cuban Musicians Behind Viral Salsa Trump Song Say They Received Death Threats

Tirso Luis, left, Ana Paez, and German Pinelli, right, members of the band Los 3 de la Habana, pose for a photograph, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in Miami. The Cuban artists, who sought asylum in the U.S., have composed a salsa song in support of President Donald Trump, which is …
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The members of Los 3 de la Habana, a Cuban salsa group whose hit “Trump Song” crossed language and cultural barriers during the 2020 election campaigns, revealed on Sunday that they had received death threats, presumably in response to overwhelming election gains by Trump in the Cuban-American community.

Both Trump and challenger Joe Biden have claimed victory in last week’s election. Several left-leaning American mainstream outlets proclaimed Biden president-elect Saturday. Trump has vowed legal challenges in several swing states where conservatives say poll workers may have counted illegal votes, including votes from people who died before the election.

Trump’s definitive win in Florida triggered a deluge of hateful statements against the state’s Cuban-American population, where Trump made double-digit gains in support from 2016. A poll of Cuban-Americans released prior to the election showed that over 75 percent of Cuban refugees who fled the island between 2010 and 2015 identify as Republicans, contradicting left-wing conventional wisdom that only members of the historic Cuban exile community skew conservative. In response, Biden supporters, left-wing commentators, and celebrities have flooded social media with ethnic slurs and other insults against Cuban people.

Los 3 de la Habana grew to national prominence after releasing “Trump Song,” a lively dance hit whose chorus proclaims, “Oh my God, I will vote for Donald Trump.” The song became a fixture of Trump rallies and caravans and the band joined the Trump campaign and members of the Trump family for several events.

The members of the group – Ana Páez, Germán Pinelli, and Tirso Luis Páez – published a live video on social media Sunday to address the negative comments they had received. They also clarified that their absence from social media in the past week was not an attempt to hide from the political controversy the nation is currently facing; they simply had a planned family vacation.

In the Spanish-language video, titled “We Are Receiving Death Threats,” the band thanked both supporters and those who, through their negative comments, keep the band relevant.

“Thank you for sending us so many messages of love. Those are the ones that stay in our heart because those people who threatened us with death – poor people, poor souls,” Ana Páez said in the video. “Poor souls, because I would be incapable of offending anyone because they think differently from us. We come from a country where we all had to think the same and thanks to this great country and democracy, we all think how we like.”

Ana Páez also thanked those sending hateful comments and “those who make the memes … keep using the song, we make money off of that!”

Pinelli asserted that, despite the death threats, “there’s no fear here” and that the group has no intention of silencing itself in the face of offenses.

“Living in a country like this, with the opportunities we have, defending democracy, that we have to respect how each of us thinks – I want to tell our people, our fans, the people who took the song and made it their anthem: don’t feel bad at all, don’t feel embarrassed! We’re not embarrassed for saying what we think,” Pinelli said.

Pinelli noted that election disputes are not over and Biden is technically not the president-elect of the country.

“I feel very proud of these people you see right here, super proud, of saying what we feel,” he continued. “I feel super proud of our family … I feel very proud of all of you, so many friends from around the world writing to us every day, thanking us for saying what we feel”

“You don’t have to thank me, you have to join me every day [in demanding] that every human being has to be free to say what they think and express what they feel – That is how we are going to find a better future for us, for our family, and for all. That’s it,” he concluded.

Tirso Luis Páez noted favorably that supporters of the president had not erupted in violence in response to major news organizations crowned Biden the winner.

“I am super proud of the 71 million people who have not gone out to burn down cities, who have not looted Walmart. Let’s keep it up, let’s keep it up, please,” Páez said. “Losing elections in a democracy is normal, not losing democracy in an election. Trump has a right to challenge things and we will wait.”

“If Biden proves he did not cheat and he becomes president, he is going to be the president of all Americans and we are not going to burn down any homes or anything,” he concluded. “We are going to respect him for four years and then choose who to vote for in four years.”

Ana Páez, who revealed herself to be a Democrat supporting Trump, noted that she had handled personal disagreements in the aftermath of the election by choosing to keep Biden supporters in her life.

“I have a lot of friends who support Biden and I was pissed at them the first few days, but then no more, because love can do it all. I love them because the first thing is to respect each other. I have to respect them, she said.

The group concluded promising to perform “Trump Song” “wherever anyone asks for it.”

The news out of Florida, presumed to be a swing state before Trump’s solid victory there – and the victories of at least two new Cuban-American members of Congress, Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez, in the state – prompted an outpouring of hatred against Cuban-Americans in particular, and the growing minority of Venezuelan-Americans in the state who arrived fleeing socialism at home. Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, accused Cuban-Americans of supporting the “genocide” of their own families. Left-wing agitator Al Sharpton, a Fidel Castro supporter, dismissed the support for Trump in the community as a result of “propaganda.” Biden supporters on social media eagerly revived the ethnic slur gusano (“maggot”), adopted by Castro’s supporters in the 1960s to refer to counter-revolutionary Cubans and accused Cubans, whose culture is largely influenced by their Nigerian Yoruba heritage, of being white supremacists. Black Cuban dissidents have protested for years that the majority white Castro regime systematically discriminates against them.

[Graphic warning: language/ethnic slurs]

Cuban-Americans made significant gains in Congress, increasing their representation in the House of Representatives to three people. Joining Salazar and Gimenez will be Nicole Malliotakis, a conservative Cuban/Greek-American from New York in the House.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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