Nothing in Cuba is apolitical. A day in the life of a Cuban is a constant barrage of politics; you have to be careful what you say, where you go, who you speak to, and if you think too much, you worry the State may have found a way to monitor your thoughts. Not even the dreams of Cubans are free from the politics imposed on their daily lives as every fiber of their existence is permeated with it. Yet we continue to hear from Juanes and the supporters of his concert that somehow, on an island where merely stating publicly you are hungry is considered subversive political speech, this concert will accomplish what no Cuban or foreigner on the island has been able to accomplish since January of 1959.
Some people believe that Juanes is simply being naive. As a typical artist living in a fantasy world of limousines and private jets with the popping sound of champagne corks in the background, he is incapable of understanding reality. He prefers instead to view the world in the same way he views his songs–an escape from reality. It would be easy to explain this situation if that were the case, but Juanes is not naive. He is a self-described “political animal,” and when given a forum where he feels safe to express what he truly believes, he has sung–figuratively and literally–the praises of leftist dictators.
The issue here is not whether Juanes is being naive or not, but that he and his supporters are hiding behind the lie that this concert is apolitical. Nothing could be further from the truth.
With only a few days to go before this musical political extravaganza, the Cuban dictatorship is already cashing in on the political capital this concert provides them.
HAVANA – Cuba’s foreign minister contrasted the U.S. economic embargo against the island with the upcoming “Peace Without Borders” concert here headlined by Colombian superstar Juanes.
The concert “seems to me (to be) a demonstration in favor of peace; the embargo is an act of economic war,” Bruno Rodriguez said upon being asked at a press conference for the Cuban government’s opinion of the controversial concert set for Sunday in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion.
The minister said that it was up to the artists whether to give an opinion on the embargo, but he said that “the artists who are going to sing for peace here on Sunday in no way would (want for) this absurd embargo policy to continue.”
So soaked in politics is the life of a Cuban, that even the dissidents have unwittingly fallen into the trap and are being used as pawns by the regime that oppresses them. Their own expressions are being used to promote the dictatorship they have fought against.
More than 20 members of a group of 75 Cuban democracy activists jailed in a Spring 2003 crackdown recently issued a statement supporting the Juanes concert.
“We think this concert … is a great opportunity to further the process of reconciliation among all Cubans and leave behind the hate that has poisoned our homeland for so many years,” the statement read.
Nothing in Cuba is apolitical, and everyone, including Juanes, is well aware of it. They can try and hide behind that lie, but sooner rather than later, the Cuban regime will prove otherwise.