By Alfredo Prieto

Juanes is holding firm on his Havana Peace Concert, photo: Gabriel Torreciallas
Juanes is holding firm on his Havana Peace Concert, photo: Gabriel Torreciallas

Juanes has not backed down or become disheartened.  In cardinal points as distant as Orlando and Madrid, diverse voices – Olga Tañón and Miguel Bosé for example- have reiterated their willingness to accompany him to Cuba.  Others such as Víctor Manuel and Ana Belén have even come out in open defiance of the Miami rabble.

A few days ago at a well-known local in SW Miami, a vigilante group went beyond verbal protest and smashed several of the Colombian’s CDs and burned a black shirt in reference to one of his most famous tunes.

In the past they set fire to a painting by Cuban Manuel Mendive, and another time a tombstone of a famous Mexican artist was smashed for having spent an evening at Havana’s Tropicana cabaret, to give an example similar vandalism.

Meanwhile, Juanes’ residence in the exclusive Key Biscayne neighborhood of Miami-Dade is being guarded by police because he has received death threats via Twitter.  A message to the artist said, “I hate what you are saying, but you will die for defending your right to say it,” distorting a famous Voltaire quote.

A conspicuous representative of the Miami exile hardcore said that these acts were organized by the Cuban government, “as has been demonstrated in the trial of the five spies,” a statement which, among other things, ignores the vast history of bomb threats and attacks perpetrated in Miami since they themselves invented the contemptuous “dialoguers” – those who deviated from their odd behaviour to seek out lines of communication with the Island.

Cuban Artist Manuel Mendive during this year’s Havana Biennale.
Cuban Artist Manuel Mendive during this year’s Havana Biennale.

Of course it is commonly known that numerous internal struggles among exile groups, even documented by the FBI, in many cases have ended up with exploding cars or gunfire.  The culture of violence entwines the political activities of these veterans like moss on a rock.

But let’s be clear that we are talking about the typical reaction of minority groups, not of Miami as a whole.  In the spectrum of opinions concerning Juanes’ plans, other exile organizations have chosen to support the concert, reflecting the classic problem of agreeing with the end, but not with the means.

These groups have their own agenda.  They project a narrow view of the nation’s reality and tend to attribute changes and openings to external factors such as visits by the so-called Cuban community in 1978 or of Pope John Paul II in 1998.

Although the latter event, equally controversial in Miami, led to an improvement in church-state relations and the status of Cuban believers, it was not however the imagined Armageddon fall of the political regime.

Similarly, Cuban-American visits were not the cause of the massive Mariel emigration (1980). These were ultimately due to accumulated internal contradictions of the island’s own society and the historical stance of U.S. migration policy.

As far as I know, no scholars from either side, who have studied the Mariel event in depth, have blamed the departure of around 125,000 Cubans on family connections.  However, “cause” and “influence” are different verbs.

On the other hand, Ricardo Arjona has added his to the flood of opinions, referring to the “circus atmosphere” the concert has provoked.  Cuban cultural promoters in Miami and Juanes’ own fans are encouraging the Colombian to go on with the show and not be intimidated.

The arrow, as the Romans would say, is already launched and in less than a month Juanes will perform, with other artists, his peace concert in the Plaza of the Revolution


Alfredo Prieto

Alfredo Prieto: I was born in Havana, a fact that’s not so common around here these days. Most of my family emigrated a long time ago to the United States, something that motivated me to study that country a little to try and understand it. I learned some English, and later I improved a bit more through direct contact with US citizens in their homes and above all in their universities. Later I found out that this was called “sleeping with the enemy”, but I confess that I never saw one in front of me. I’ve had many invitations, but as of six years ago I can’t go back because they changed the rules of the game. I’ve been the editor of the magazines, Cuadernos de Nuestra América, Temas and Caminos. I now work at the publishing house of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association (UNEAC) and I’m writing another book. Like my aunt, I am a declared fan of strawberry cheesecakes… and of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac’s ex. If any of you know her, please give her a flower for me.

17 thoughts on “Juanes to Twitter in Cuba Despite Exiles

  • Personas envidiosas y prepotentes, que se creen tener el mundo en sus manos, porque llegan y creen tener todo,no saben que loc cubanos que llegaron aqui hace mas de 40 anos, han pasado mucho y sin embargo no son tan poseidos y orgullosos, total ni educacion universitaria tienen, es mejor que miren hacia atras y se den cuenta de su error. Sean mas agradecidos y nobles, hay Dios para todo el Mundo.Y este Pais merece personas nobles y trabajadoras, porque es un Pais que nos ha dado la libertad que muchos que llegan hace poco ignoran conocerla.Paz para todos.

  • no hable de embargo senora villamil, no hay ningun embargo, en cuba los comunistas tienen de todo comprar en tiendas diplomaticas como le llaman, que para mi es en un pulguero, pero ellos lo llaman asi, el pueblo no tiene nada, pero los del gobierno tienen una aristrocracia que si la ve se reiria,a mi me parece cuba otro mundo y mire que he viajado, ellos son todos unos prepotentes indignos, han puesto a cuba por el suelo y no hable de embargo porque no hay tal embargo…….

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