Saturday, September 19, 2009

Juanes: "Our only message is one of peace"

Juanes speaks to reporters after reaching Havana on Friday. Photo credit: Roberto Suarez
Juanes says he wants to encourage "hopes and dreams"

A half million people are expected to stream into Revolution Square for Sunday's controversial concert. Anti-Castro activists accuse Juanes of siding with the socialist government. But the Colombian musician, a winner of 17 Grammys, told the Miami Herald his "Peace Without Borders" concert isn't political. He said:
I am not a communist. I am not aligned with the government. Our only message is one of peace, of humanitarianism, of tolerance, a message of interacting with the people.
The concert will feature Juanes along with Los Van Van and others. They'll perform from around 2 p.m. until sometime before 7 p.m., Granma reports. The show will end before nightfall because performers didn't bring lighting equipment for a night concert.

I wonder if any anti-Castro dissidents or pro-democracy activists in Cuba will try to use the concert to gain attention for their fight against human rights abuses. I am sure the authorities will be looking out for that kind of thing.


Mambi_Watch said...

Hey Tracy,

Yeah, there already seems to be reports of arrests of some political dissidents warning them to stay away from the concert. Some have been confined to house arrest, according to these reports.

It's very likely true and typical of Cuba's political repression. But, some dissidents, like Yoani Sanchez, have made it clear that they feel it their duty to raise their voices about human rights and political prisoners at the concert.

Hope, they can do so safely, and respect with respect to the larger audience.

Tracey Eaton said...

Thanks for the information. We'll see what happens. Cuban authorities are pretty good at organizing these mass events - they've got a lot of practice!