By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Yotuel Romero is a Cuban-born producer, actor, model, and singer who fled the island nation at 19.

At age 40, his song “Patria Y Vida,” or “fatherland and life,” has become the anthem for the struggle for freedom in Cuba.

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CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo met up with him recently at Crescent Moon Studios, the recording studios owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

“I wrote that song in December 2020,” he told Petrillo. “For me, this song means express yourself. It’s putting the lyrics on the table with everything you have from the inside.”

Since the protests began, the song exploded all over the world and has millions of views on YouTube.

“What went through your mind and your heart when the song was picked up by so many people?” asked Petrillo.

“It was powerful. I couldn’t believe it when I woke up on July 11th and I see that many friends of mine sent me the link saying look what happened in Cuba. I see thousands of people in the streets singing ‘Patria y Vida,’ screaming ‘Patria y Vida,’ and screaming ‘freedom, freedom, freedom.’ I said wow,” said Yotuel.

“You know when you make something from the heart this is the result,” he added.

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Yotuel was among several Cuban-American leaders and artists who met on July 30 with President Biden at the White House to talk about the change needed in Cuba.

“You went with Emilio Estefan to DC to visit with President Biden to talk about the change. Tell us how that went?” asked Petrillo

“It’s incredible that I’m a musician and the president invited me to ask me on what happened in Cuba with my music. It’s incredible. I never had this in my life,” Yotuel said. “Ten years ago I came to this country to fight for my future and 10 years after that I see the president to talk to him about Cuba, about the songs that I wrote that changed the minds of many young people in Cuba. It was magical.”

Yotuel plans to create more music. He’ll soon release a song with Gloria Estefan called “Cuba and Me.”

He said he remembers advice from his childhood idol, the queen of salsa herself, (the late) Celia Cruz.

“She told me not to forget Cuba and show all my fans that they need to leave my show and say Cuba libre. I said wow, she’s right. I need to go back to my show and continue to do my music and continue fighting for my people,” he said.

On Saturday, August 28th, Yotuel will kick off his “Patria y Vida World Tour” at the Miramar Park Regional Amphitheater.

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Click Here for ticket information.

Lisa Petrillo