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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘If I Was President’ By Las Cafeteras

The Las Cafeteras song “If I Was President” was released in 2017 on Presidents’ Day. Its message continues to resonate, and as the band embarks on a summer tour, it’s a good time to revisit.

Drawing from both traditional Mexican folk and hip-hop, the song’s verses alternate between Spanish and English. It imagines what the world would look like if the president truly worked for all people.

What would it look like if the president was anti-racist and created policies supporting free education, economic justice, and food justice? What if the president worked towards a world without wars, drone strikes, and corruption in general?

Throughout the song, the members of the band—Denise Carlos, Leah Gallegos, Daniel French, David Flores, Hector Flores, and Jose Cano—each sing about their visions for a more fair and just future.

On one verse, they sing: “I’d roll up my sleeves as I face the congregation / First thing I’d do is free education.” And later in the song: “We’d free my poor black and brown kids that got caught up in three strikes / And when they get out they gettin’ free bikes.”

In the refrain, the band sings, “Me gusta la lima / Me gusta limon / Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion,” which in English translates to, “I like lime / I like lemon / But I do not like so much corruption.”

“We wanted to engage people’s imaginations about the future of this country,” the Los Angeles-based band stated on their Bandcamp page. “Everyone knows what’s wrong but not many know what to do. We hope to push people to think about themselves as presidents of their homes, schools, workplaces and to create the kind of country they would like to see starting from the local and moving outward.”

Las Cafeteras describe themselves as “a product and reflection of the diverse, hard-working, politically active neighborhood of East Los Angeles.”

The video for “If I Was President” offers an inspiring portrait of a community coming together to support and educate each other.

Watch it below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XqqsuLl8hU

 

Maria Hernandez, a student who lives on the west side of Chicago, speaks at a press conference before city council vote on May 25. Photo by Aaron Cynic.
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Liz Pelly

Liz Pelly