Cuban band leader and communist apparatchik Juan Formell dies

The leader of the famous Los Van Van Cuban musical group Juan Formell died in Cuba yesterday at the age of 71. Formell was a talented musician and songwriter who used his gifts to not only entertain Cubans and the world, but as a communist apparatchik, he also used his talents to defend, promote, and dutifully do the bidding of the most repressive and murderous dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

Humberto Fontova has more on Formell from a 2009 Babalú article:

Juan Formell makes Alicia Alonso look like a Cuban dissident. His Castro regime ass-kissery revolts all who witnessed it up-close (just ask Arturo Sandoval and Paquito d’ Rivera.)

Formell signed in favor of the firing-squad murder (the term “execution” implies some form of judicial process, you see. And as Che Guevara made very clear to his tribunals in La Cabana “judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail,” hence my use of the term murder) of the three hapless black youths who tried to escape Cuba in 2003

…and on, and on, and on, regarding Juan Formell’s prompt and enthusiastic compliance with every Castro directive.



7 thoughts on “Cuban band leader and communist apparatchik Juan Formell dies

  1. I expect he was after the same thing the Alonso witch was: stardom/VIP status for life, which could only be guaranteed by a state that that puts absolute political loyalty and reliability above all else. Under normal circumstances, even someone with great talent will eventually fall out of fashion or become too old to remain front and center, but some people are willing to make Faustian deals to get around that.

  2. And btw, some people really have no problem kissing totalitarian dictator ass forever if it pays well enough.

  3. Humberto, I don’t believe he actually signed that particular letter, but he was apparently careful to “excuse” himself for not doing so by saying he wasn’t in Cuba at the time and that his religion (whatever it may have been) did not approve of the death penalty for anybody. He would never, of course, criticize anything the regime did.

  4. Not only was he a subservient faggot gladly serving as a cash collecting propagandist in exchange for perks and perpetual state sponsored stardom, his music was a generic stupidity from beginning to end.

    During Salsa’s heyday he was far from a major player, he was insignificant. Next to his contemporaries outside of Cuba (the likes of Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, etc.) his self-proclaimed “revolutionary sound” was elevator music.

    In a place with no real music industry since 1960 and where art, as well as its outlets, are controlled and dictated upon by the state, he was the product of favoritism and no competition.

    The successful reemergence of pre-communism Cuban musicians during the late 1990s as The Buena Vista Social Club (thanks to the efforts of an American musician and a German cinematographer) also eclipsed him, this time in his own territory. All of them had been rotting in misery and all of them were better than him, far better.

    Granted, some of the members of Buena Vista, not all, upon displacing Formell’s group as Cuba’s musical poster boys, gladly became vociferous propagandists as well in order to get the perks that come with being the tyrant’s pet. To be fair, some others never did a single photo-op with Castro nor ever mentioned his name.

  5. You know, if no media outlet in Castrolandia mentioned Celia Cruz’s death, of all musicians, why are media outlets in Miami commemorating, promoting, and validating this hyped c*^k-sucker whose “incredible” music never made it outside local Colombian venues full of menopausal women who couldn’t care less if it was him or Jerry Rivera (the poster boy for generic salsa, a.k.a trash).

    There seems to be no dignity, respect, nor any brains to see the plays of the opponent and play accordingly.

    That said, the man’s music was corny generic crap and his perpetual stardom was the result of totalitarian patronage. Why didn’t he leave Cuba like all other Cuban musicians from Arsenio Rodriguez to Xavier Cugat? Why if he was that good did he willingly loose millions of dollars? Because next to the likes Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Perez Prado, Tito Puente, and Mongo Santamaria he was nothing but forgettable boredom. He figured out he was better off serving a manager who controls all national media outlets to his favor.

    That said, talk to most Cubans who lived in Castrolandia during the 1970/80s and they have no idea who Willie Colon or Hector Lavoe are. Cuban radio never played them and record stores were as absent as hardware stores and milk. Anyone can be #1 like that for 40+ years, give me a break.

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