Sunday, September 20, 2009
On Juanes' "Peace Without Borders" Concert
I'm watching Univision's live webcast of Colombian singer Juanes' "Paz Sin Fronteras" (Peace W/Out Borders) concert in Havana and it's easy to forget, listening to acts like merenguera Olga Tañon singing about bad boys and dark-skinned hotties, that this is a major (x a million) event in Latin American politics. A free outdoor concert is a common occurrence anywhere in the world, but when the image of Che Guevara looms large in the background, the stakes are higher and everybody has to make their opinion heard.
More often than not, I find the Cuban exile community to be a little, um, militaristic and self-righteous. A lot of people in Miami are making a public spectacle of trashing Juanes' CDs and calling for a boycott of anything associated with the singer. And my response to that is really? Come on guys, we all know embargoes don't work. I'm no fan of Castro, but fifty years of towing the hardline of starving Cuba into democracy hasn't worked. Isn't it time to change our approach?
In the meantime, I do love The Simpsons rendering of Juanes as a Pied Piper of socialism.
Image: Adventures of the Coconut Caucus
I want to know where these exiles were when the U.S. was only too happy to play along with China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics? It was communism's greatest feat - having the world bow down before China, worshipping Chairman Mao's vision at the Bird's Nest stadium -- the whole world watched the opening ceremonies in awe and here we are, a year later, in debt to China, but anti-communist Cubans are in a nit over a concert. Como que les falta perspectiva, no? Perspective, people. Please.
Juanes lends a much-needed legitimacy to this latest attempt at dialogue with Cuba. As a Colombian, as someone who has seen the devastation that a socialist revolution can cause, as someone whose country is being threatened by a socialist agitator nation (that would be Venezuela), Juanes lends a spirit of compassion, understanding and forward-thinking that is sorely needed in this debate. If Juanes can extend an olive branch to Cuba, a country that is regarded by Colombia's leftist insurgents as a beacon of what government should look like, then maybe the U.S., which is not the least bit threatened by Cuba at this point, can cut the crap and help the country embrace democracy?
Well done, Juanes. And if Miami gets too hot for you, eff the haters and move to NYC.