Freedoms are minimal in Cuba. Beyond the fact that Cubans now enjoy a very expensive Internet service, paid for by relatives abroad, opinions contrary to the revolution are not allowed on the island, criticism and questioning of the leaders are not accepted, and mockery can be paid for at very high prices. In short, freedom of expression is severely restricted.
This tension, fear and censorship, endured for decades, causes disgruntled citizens to harbor a series of negative feelings towards their oppressors. In this particular case, towards the Castro dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel.
These feelings can be expressed in many ways: with protests, articles on the Internet, videos, songs or simple publications via social media.
Cubans, as well as many other oppressed nations –such as Venezuela– found a way to express their hatred towards the dictator Díaz-Canel: they call him “singao.”
“Diaz-Canel is a singao”
“Singao” is a Cuban term or expletive that can be interpreted in several ways, but, in this case, it describes Diaz-Canel as a repudiable person who does unpleasant things. An evil, mean and vile person who has no empathy for anyone or anything. On the other hand, the term “singar” is a Cuban word admitted by the Royal Spanish Academy which means “to have sexual intercourse”. Therefore, there are also people who use and interpret it to insult the dictator using sexual connotations.
The phrase “Díaz-Canel is a singao” or simply “Díaz-Canel singao” has been all over the Internet, especially on Twitter, and also reached the demonstrations of Cubans around the world. The now famous phrase was used in demonstrations all over Cuba, Miami, Argentina, Spain and many other countries.
In one of the protests in the streets of Cuba, a demonstrator could be heard chanting “Díaz-Canel” and the rest of the crowd responded with a “singao.”
The term has even reached the United States and several Latin American countries and is being used by non-Cubans who support the cause of the citizens on the island.
The phrase was so widespread that even the reggaeton singer Arcangel called the communist dictator “singao”.
Another particular episode involved porn actress Mia Khalifa, who also called the dictator “singao”, “cabr*n” and “hijo de put*” in a video that quickly went viral.
Some people in the U.S., like Giancarlo Solo, a Cuban-American communications strategist who has been following the protests closely, ironically tweeted: “Good morning! Cuba’s dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel doesn’t like it when people call him UN SINGAO. It hurts his feelings when you call him UN SINGAO. We wouldn’t want “DIAZ-CANEL IS A SINGAO” trending on Twitter. Whatever you do, don’t tweet: DIAZ-CANEL IS A SINGAO!” to trend on Twitter. Whatever you do, do not tweet: DIAZ-CANEL IS A SINGAO!”.
Immediately, many tweeters joined the initiative and ironically asked not to call Díaz-Canel “singao” so as not to hurt susceptibilities.
“Wow, I can’t believe you insinuate I’d even consider tweeting “DIAZ-CANEL ES UN SINGAO.” I’m offended you assume I’d stoop to the level of saying, “DIAZ-CANEL ES UN SINGAO.” Not to beat a dead horse, but why would you think I’d ever utter, “DIAZ-CANEL ES UN SINGAO”?” one of the users wrote.
Reagan Battalion also joined the initiative, but without irony: “Diaz-Canel is a huge singao!”.
A curious fact is that Diaz-Canel apparently does not like to be called singao, as he alluded to the insult made by Mia Khalifa on national TV and did not seem to be very happy.
“They went to all youtubers and influencers, including a certain artist with certain characteristics,” Diaz-Canel said in chain referring to the physical attributes of the porn actress. “She started by supporting the blockade and it seems that later she was pressured and ended up saying that I am a tyrant.”
Clearly Díaz-Canel saw the video, is aware of the insult and did not want to give a place to the powerful message that the term “singao” is becoming.
There is an background to all this. Beyond the insult, derogatorily calling the man who represents the tyranny that oppressed a people for so long is a way of getting even. It is, in short, a means of protest that, in addition, irritates the dictator. Therefore, from now on, “Diaz-Canel is a singao” will be, more than a simple insult, an emblem of freedom of expression in Cuba.