Monday, September 21, 2009

Cuban 'Peace Concert' a Big Success

Put together by Colombian pop star Juanes, and featuring a host of Cuban and other Latino music stars, a massive concert called "Peace Without Borders" was staged at Havana's Revolution Square this past Sunday, Sept. 20th, drawing some 1.15 million people according to estimates given by organizers.

Some have complained about the lack of proper coverage the concert received in the American press. But myopic as the coverage may have been, these news outlets are catering to a readership that, for the most part, could care less about this kind of event and very likely couldn't recognize one name on the bill. So they work it from the angle most familiar to their readers, which is to refer to it as
"an event criticized by some Cuban-Americans who said the performers were lending support to the island’s Communist government simply by showing up." It's not like they would know Juanes from Miguel Bosé (unless they were huge Almodóvar fans).
Or the great Cuban artists who also performed at the ground-breaking event. (And where were the ever-present, never-miss-a-gig-like-this Black-Eyed Peas, anyway?) Not saying it's right; they just know their audience. I'm not surprised.

It should be interesting to see if the international non-Cuban artists--especially the Florida-based--are actually penalized for their participation in this concert/event, as many other have been in the past by the powerful, staunchly conservative, anti-Castro, Cuban exile community in South Florida. After all, Miami is the Latino Hollywood, and for mainstream Hispanic artists, pissing off the exile can have dire career consequences. (Juanes, a Miami resident, has been the recipient of boycotts and death threats ever since he announced his intention to put on the concert.)

Let's hope, for their sake, the "handful of anguished people"--as one Cuban music scholar referred to them--protesting Juanes and the concert both on and off camera here in the US, don't include those with the power to hurt their careers.

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