About Juanes’ Concert

Like an event without the relevance it truly deserves, the Cuban cultural authorities have announced a possible concert by the Colombian singer Juanes. A friend of mine who I depend on when I need some efficient information explained to me that as a result of the news, a wave of criticism has started up from a sector intolerant of anything that benefits Cuba, or more exactly, the Cuban government. Obviously they have this right, and I am not able to stop them, but it is important to understand that when Juanes delights us with his music he doesn’t do it to please Obama, Uribe, Chávez, or Raúl Castro.

He sings for all the people and is very clear about this in his declarations: “I sing for peace”. Identifying himself with us Cubans is necessary. If we want to open up to the world and have the world open up to us we have to learn to tolerate, but more importantly we have to learn to love without barriers. By saying this I am not giving approval to the government of Havana. They have imprisoned me for writing what I think, and I believe that counts for something.

Certain questions begin taking shape: How many talented singers have stopped performing on the Cuban stage in the last 50 years? Or, how many spaces of freedom have been lost?

I am sure that in Miami there is a tiny community that opposes Juan Esteban Aristizabal’s – Juanes’ – performance in Havana. I, on the other hand, long for the live voices of Willy Chirino, Gloria Estefan, Albita Rodríguez, Maggy Carles and other great Cuban singers.

Imagine that here for those of us who have remained in Cuba, even in captivity, we are denied the right to simply see the acting of Andy Garcia. I hope that my doubts are dispelled about possible manipulation by the Ministry of Culture of Juanes, and I hope that Miguel Bose does not give up. In that same light, I ask that Olga Tañon overcome her fear, and I know that there is no justifiable conspiracy against her. She is not only an idol in Miami or in Havana- she is a universal idol. And we Cubans deserve to see such artists perform among us.

Juanes, 5-time Grammy award winner in 2008 for his CD “La Vida es un Ratico” (“Life is Just a Little While”), assured the international press that he will sing for peace. He deserves respect and hopefully other greats of the musical world will join him for this project.

We Cubans are eager to see the most brilliant and talented artists perform.

Pablo Pacheco
Independent Journalist, Group of the 75
Provincial Prison of Canaleta, Ciego de Avila


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