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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.

Juanes to Twitter in Cuba Despite Exiles

August 26, 2009 | Print Print |

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


What's your opinion?

  • milagros Garcia Villamil

    First they fight you
    then they ignore
    then you win
    Your words
    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.

    My words…Its the Embargo! and i continue to blog albeit in my usual tones..It is the embargo Stupid!! Stupid by the way is used for anyone who blames Fidel or Cuba for the US continuation of thier efforts to control the world.
    JFK and his adm placed the enbargo on our country 50 yrs ago, yet yesterday i spent the day watching the many many good things done for immigrants and the amerikkkn people by his youngest sibling who finally went to his ancestors..Suffixce that, could not help but wonder ..If had Ted Kennedy, been Pres would the embargo been lifted yrs ago?..In hindsite..it does not matter.. the coulda, woulda, and shouldas..ITS STILL THE EMBARGO STUPID.

    NICE PIECE

  • milagros Garcia Villamil

    HOWEVER, I WILL BE THERE IN SUPPORT. I WILL ALSO BRING AS MANY OF MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AS POSSIBE, AND ENCOURAGE THOSE IN CUBA TO STAND WUTH ME(CUBANS) AND MEDIA TYPES..
    I CAN FEEL TRANSFORMATION COMING..ITS HAPPENING AND THE DIRECTORIO AND ITS ILK..SHOULD BE PREPARED TO SHUT UP SIT DOWN AND LET THE GAMES BEGIN..THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRE NEXT TIME..SMOKE AND ILLUSION ARE DONE..THEM DOGS DONT HUNT AND THEM COCKS DON’T CROW..

  • Manny

    Ana Belen refers to Cuban exiles as “Gusanos” worms.. Hardly representative of someone who has no other intention that to politically demonize people who think differently than her. I wounder what she would have been called during Franco’s dictatorship? What would Celia Cruz say now?

  • grok

    It’s a good thing that this artist stands on his principles in the face of dangerous intimidation. Anyone in Left politics in North America should be familiar with the dangerous, irrational, even lunatic nature of the ‘anti-communist’ Right — from any country. But it is the worst thing possible to give them an easy victory; because not being reasonable people, such backing down only encourages them to even uglier actions.

  • rafael

    A Juanes se le olvida que el tiene todo el derecho a hacer lo que le plazca y que al cubano se le niega ese derecho.

  • http://www.gabrieltorrecillas.blogspot.com Gabriel Torrecillas

    Hey thanks for using my photo in that article, i shot it at DURANGO MEXICO When he was here….

    Thanks for the credits!

    Gabriel Torrecillas

  • http://nestorAG@yahoo.com Nestor Alvarez Granados

    -Querido Juanes hoy desde Madri dijiste que no importaba que en el concierto estuviesen en las primeras filas los militantes del Partido Comunista y Los mienbros de la Union de Jovenes Comunista de Cuba, y me imagino que tanpoco te importe si un dia algunos artistas Cubanos y de otros paises dan un Concierto en tu Pais y que esten en primera fila los mienbros de las FAR y del ELN . A fin de cuenta son seres humanos y tienen derecho a pasar un buen rato.

  • http://notengo blanca diaz

    me gusto mucho el concierto y creo que hablo lo que tenia que hablar, no se deve criticar porque los mismos cubanos llega y enseguida van cargados de cosas y hasta artistas cubanos como niurka marcos, entonces cual es la critica y llevo aqui en este pais 44 anos y me mataron un hermano viva juanes y ojala hubiera muchos como el tambien miguel bose espanol yo lo admiro pues tambien mis padres era espanoles que emigraron despues de la guerra Y ADORABAN CUBA ….GRACIAS

  • http://hotmail Candi Baez

    Que bueno por Juanes y sus acompañantes.
    Como me gustaria que Silvio y otros artistas cubanos pudieran venie aqui sin sentirse amenazados por los fanaticos del exilio.\
    Tambien me guestaria que Juan Luiz, Ricardo Arjona y otros artistas de coinciencia fueran tambien a llevar en persona toda su musica.

    Que viva Juanes, Dany Rivera y todos los que se han atrevido a desafiar la tirania del exilio.

  • http://hotmail Candi Baez

    Que viva Juanes y los que se atrevieron a ir con el.

  • alex

    Eres el mejor gracias parcero

  • http://yahoo marina chagolla

    JUANES YO TE FELICITO POR TENER LOS HUEVOS K TUVISTE PARA NO CANCELAR EL CONCIERTO, FELICIDADES Y SI PUEDES VUELVELO A HACER RECUERDA PERRO K LADRA NO MUERDE.ADELANTE COMO UN GUERRERO VALIENTE

  • http://notengo barbaramora

    VIVA JUANES VIVA JUANES VIVA JUANES

  • http://notengo barbaramora

    a muchas personas no les gustan los comentarios que se hacen, pero aqui en E.u. se puede decir todo lo que uno quiera sin que se tenga que dar quejas para eso esta nacion es libre, por algo hay democracia, tu puedes hablar mal hasta del presidente y nadie se mete contigo, yo llevo aqui 45 anos y me han robado hasta mi nombre en facebook, no me importa quien fue, solo que no escribo mas ahi, no hace falta insultar a nadie ni decirles oprovios eso si es ofensa y se puede demandar,me perdonan mi espanol y mo ortografia, pero personas que llegan de Cuba se creen con derecho a ofender y parece que no saben que su techo es de cristal y pueden caerseles encima,aqui se sabe la vida de todo el mundo asi que es mejor callarse que ponerse a escrir ofensas en un imail, eso se puede terminar en una demanda. OK/

  • http://notengo barbaramora

    Personas que son verdaderas comunistas, y llegan hace poco aqui y tienen bastante caca en su vida se creen con derecho de escribir un imail personal a su casa diciendole persona inculta y de preprimer, esa persona nunca piso una universidad, no se que estudios tiene una tipa que vivio 8 anos con un otaliano casado y que se caso con un hombre por dinero y que tiene una madre que hay que decir mucho de ella, ofender a una persona que por ella esta aqui, es una prepotente estupida y poseida de si misma que se cree mucho, aqui en este pais todos somos iguales, democracia estupida,, lo que nunca tuvistes antes, la desconoces, lava tu boca primero antes de ofender, puedes ir a la carcel, eso no se puede hacer en este pais, las ofensas personales cuestan caro, aprende ingles y dedicate a trabajar no a vivir bien solamente, eres muy vieja para estar escribiendo imail a personas decentes y cuida a tu hijo que no sabes lo que va a salir de ahi. primero limpia tu casa y tu familia comunista y luego mira a los demas.

  • http://notengo barbaramora

    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…….

  • http://notengo barbaramora

    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.