Peace without Borders

By Armando Chaguaceda

Juanes at the Peace Without Borders concert in Havana
Juanes at the Peace Without Borders concert in Havana, Photo: Juventud Rebelde

The Juanes concert just ended and-feeling excited-I wanted to write “something.”  Then I suddenly received an e-mail from a friend in Miami.  She’s the same person who called me a “stuck in the mud leftist,” until she understood my activism was far removed from the ploys of the “socialist” bureaucracy.  Likewise, I had considered her a “counter-revolutionary worm,” up to the time she confronted in class a racist Cuban-American youth who belittled Obama’s victory and ridiculed Latinos.

And now my friend’s words merge with my thoughts to trace an outline of the hope that this fiesta of peace has brought us.

“The end was very moving; I have to admit my eyes got misty knowing that love had prompted this initiative.  And to see all those faces satisfied with having fulfilled that aim was simply fantastic.

I didn’t like the intervals between the introductions, but I believe they were necessary to avoid the political moderators and sloganizing…

My friend continued: “This has been a big show in Miami… even in the Versailles Restaurant, the meeting ground of old Cubans, there could be found people who proclaimed themselves in support of the concert… On TV interviews there were interesting things, generations of exiles were united and a new image was seen that should be extended to the world… the unavoidably divided exiles, separated by generations and realities…. with important things in common… perhaps their opposition to the government and its methods… but with different priorities and divergent postures…. now they are closing certain chapters in this history… the old heads there, like here, are inevitably fewer and fewer….”

Peace without Borders concert, Havana, Cuba, Sept. 20, 2009. Photo: Cuban News Agency
Peace without Borders concert, Havana, Cuba, Sept. 20, 2009. Photo: Cuban News Agency

“I would have loved to have been there, dancing and singing and enjoying like way back when… Even from this distance… I thought a great deal about you and all the others from here and there….

“In the end, one way or another, Juanes and his colleagues united this dispersed and divided people… 1,150,000 people in Revolution Square… and all the millions of Cubans on and off the island experienced and felt this show.  Even those who were against it saw it, even if only to criticize… but they were there, along with all the others….

“It was a resounding success, if we base this on the aims of the concert… Tonight I’m going to bed contented… and feeling more Cuban than ever… because that is the homeland of us all…”

Yes, my friend, today we all are a little fuller, freer and more human because our “Cubanía” (Cubaness) unites us in the search for truth and the defense of hope.  I give a warm embrace to all my sisters and brothers.

Armando Chaguaceda

Armando Chaguaceda: My curriculum vitae presents me as a historian and political scientist. I'm from an unclassifiable generation who collected the achievements, frustrations and promises of the Cuban Revolution and now resists on the island or contributes through numerous websites, trying to remain human without dying in the attempt.

3 thoughts on “Peace without Borders

  • I Liked this article very much.

    I like the people I meet and read about in the havana Times.


  • It was more than just a concert. It spoke to the world, most especialy the USA, that not everything can be nor should it be couched in violence. I live near Washington DC, and both my wife (she’s Colombian) were thrilled to witness such a historic event. Sadly, there are those who will look at this as what it should be, but allow their “bigotry” to overrule common sense. Ofcourse, there are those in the US media who dispute the million+ who were there to enjoy this spectacle. Thank u Juanes and thank u Cuba!

  • por mi parte, yo me siento orgulloso de que olga tañón y danny rivera representaron al pueblo puertorriqueño en ese concierto con mucha valentía y ánimo.

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