A bit disappointing, Colombia’s singer Juanes‘s Peace without Borders concert in Cuba’s capital Havana until now. He and the other musicians don’t go any further than talking about love and peace. Singer Cucu Diamantes even said that the world had to open to Cuba. “It is the language that is used in a beauty contest”, an editor of El Nuevo Herald said to tv station América TeVe. Only in a song with the Spanish singer Miguel Bosé Juanes sang about ‘an island in the middle of the sea that cries for freedom’. While the concert was going on, the Cuban punk singer Gorki Águila denounced that the Havana based blogger Ángel Santiesteban was summoned to go to the police. Santiesteban in his blog Los hijos que nadie quiso (The children nobody wanted) severely criticized Juanes’s initiative. “Of what peace is talking this gentleman when he doesn’t understand the reality of this country?”, Santiesteban wonders in his blog.
In the América TeVe programme Gorki Águila, who has been in prison for a while because of his criticisms, said that a great part of the public are people of the communist party. According to other Cuban participants of the Miami based programme many people were brought to the concert in buses. “It is a greatly controlled situation”, the Herald editor said. An América TeVe reporter who was in Havana was not allowed to transmit images via satellite. She had to answer questions from the tv studio by phone. Neither could she meet Cuba’s famous and critical blogger Yoani Sánchez.
Former political prisoner Elizardo Sánchez told América TeVe from Havana by telephone that he was disappointed about the lack of concrete criticism and that dissidents had been intimidated so that they would not go to the concert. His telephone had been blocked all afternoon and the police was watching his house.
It would have been better to organize a concert outside of Cuba and demand the political prisoners’ freedom, América TeVe’s concludes. In the meantime they are still hoping for a stronger sound than love and peace and an island in the sea that calls for freedom. Let’s see.
The concert has been finished now. ¡Cuba libre! (Cuba free!) Juanes shouted at the end. That is something.
The good thing, Cuban piano player Alina Brouwer says, is that through the concert the difficult situation is being talked about. And I must say that I learned a lot more. I knew there was no freedom, that there were political prisoners, but listening to Elizardo Sánchez, reading Ángel Santiesteban’s blog and remembering what I had read in Yoani Sánchez’s blog, I got much more aware of what is going on. It became more concrete. So in the end: thank you Juanes and thank you América TeVe!