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Ileana Cabra’s Music for a Revolution

On July 25, 1978, Puerto Rican independence activists Carlos Enrique Soto-Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado-Torres took a taxi driver hostage and ordered him to drive to Cerro Maravilla, a mountain in central Puerto Rico. They planned to sabotage a TV tower there to protest the imprisonment of several Puerto Rican nationalists—an idea that had been encouraged by Alejandro González Malavé, whom the two men believed to be a fellow organizer. In fact, González Malavé was an undercover cop, and when the pair reached Cerro Maravilla, the police were waiting. Soto-Arriví and Rosado-Torres were ambushed and murdered execution-style as they begged for mercy on their knees. They were 18 and 24, respectively.

The Puerto Rican and US Justice departments initially held that the officers acted in self-defense, but later investigations exposed a possible conspiracy and a cover-up by both governments. Last year, when Puerto Rican singer Ileana Cabra (aka iLe) began composing her second album, Almadura, the police executions of Soto-Arriví and Rosado-Torres were on her mind as she began revisiting the glaring moments of injustice that Puerto Rico has experienced as a US-controlled territory, all while grappling with how her home has been brutally mismanaged and neglected by the Trump administration since Hurricane Maria hit.

Just after the 40th anniversary of the murders, Cabra released Almadura’s first single, “Odio” (“Hate”), along with a video that retraces the Cerro Maravilla killings in bloody detail. The song sets the tone for the entire album, as Cabra urges, “Que el odio se muera de hambre” (Let hatred die of hunger). The line is delivered evenly, building to a climax in which she unleashes her

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