Juanes and the Plaza

A grey place, of concrete and marble, that makes people feel tiny and insignificant. I pass near the Plaza of the Revolution every day on my way home and cannot stop feeling overwhelmed, seeing myself crushed before that architecture so reminiscent of fascist megalomania. I was there once with a white and yellow banner shouting “freedom,” in front of a dove-shaped altar designed for the Pope. I’m not Catholic, but I wouldn’t have missed the chance for anything in the world to say another kind of slogan in that Plaza.

It appears that on the September 20th, Juanes will try to put a human face on an architectural ensemble where no one is going to go and sit placidly. I have never seen a couple or a Cuban family there who—without being called—find a corner to talk or laugh. A space without trees, designed to gather, overcrowded, for the leader to shout at us from his height, some meters above the pavement, and wait for us to respond with some repetitive slogan of, “We shall conquer!” “To the wall!” or “Viva!”

I think that Juanes should come and sing. If his subject is peace, he will have to know that this Island is not immersed in bellicose conflict, but neither does it know concord. He will raise his voice before a people who have been divided, classified according to a political color and compelled to confront any who think differently. A population that for years has not heard talk of harmony and that knows the punishment given to those who dare to voice their criticisms. We need his voice, but only if he comes to sing without forgetting any Cuban, without rejecting any difference.

We would like him to accompany his song with the cadence of Willy Chirino, the trumpet of Arturo Sandoval, the rhythm of Albita Rodríguez or the sensual sax of Paquito D´ Rivera… but none of them will be allowed to be there. Juanes will enjoy the privilege of the foreigner, who on this Island is worth much more than the natives. Everything he says between songs—if he says anything—will be interpreted as his support for a system that ebbs away, as the accolade to a group in power.

It was not an innocent decision to choose the Plaza of the Revolution as a stage for his music and he will not be able to shake the political weight that it carries. But if it has to be so, if there is no space in the poor neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, in my birthplace of Central Havana, on the brink of collapse, if he’s not allowed to immerse himself in San Miguel or Marianao, or even to use the Latin American Stadium, then let him sing under the statue of Martí, facing the image of Che Guevara, but at least let him sing for everyone.

*I wonder if the same thing will happen as at the last two concerts of Pedro Luís Ferrer, where they didn’t let some bloggers in.


29 thoughts on “Juanes and the Plaza

  1. Que lo reciban un millon o mas de jovenes y que en un furor incontrolable de extasis musical comiencen a demandar LIBERTAD, LIBERTAD, LIBERTAD……. Quien los puede parar? No sera un Tiannamen Square, la prensa internacional estara presente y los sicarios de la dictadura se tendran que esconder….. la lengua en el estuche……o….. correr por sus vidas. Basta ya, LIBERTAD PARA CUBA, ABAJO FIDEL y los demas criminales.

  2. For those of you who are able to read Spanish, please visit the Spanish Blog and read comment #2335, It deals with the type of security that the MININT will have at Plaza de la Robolucion during Juane’s concert. Very interesting!

  3. Yoanni,

    No soy cubano pero te leo hace tiempo. Me pareces valiente y espero que tu voz nunca sea silenciada. Algunos viejos te critican a ti y a tu generación porque segun ellos los jóvenes se han vuelto “laxos” contra el regimen y han olvidado… per estos mismos viejos no se preguntan por qué no han sido capaces en este medio siglo de lograr un cambio en Cuba? Creen ciegamente que el fuego se combate con fuego y por ello insultan y amenazan también a quien piense diferente a ellos. Sobre el que te declares “no Catolica”, te recuerdo que la iglesia es una institucion humana… nada mas y por ellos tiene sus defectos y virtudes. El amor de Dios es el que esta por encima de todo.

    Un abrazo.

  4. i suppose we suffer from something similar.The ‘security situation’ has ruined the morale of the people;the ‘terrorist attack’s’ have taken away everything from us; from the sport we love to watch,cricket,a bid to host it’s world cup,& the chapmion’s trophy.We have lost all form’s of entertainment.The people dont have much left to keep them here,or keep them going here.The ironic part:i’m writing this on my Independence day;& we’re still spectulating whether it’s the 62nd or the 63rd,although i say it’s the 62nd,as according to the math.But never mind.

  5. Any action different than every day’s happenings is a possibility.May Good bless you,because even when you decided to post yourself as a non religious person or non catholic or whatever you want and have the right to be.I still feel there is a lot of Christ in you.

  6. I love Juanes and I hope that he is going to Cuba with the best of intentions; to play some great music and give the people time to enjoy the freedom of feeling joy and inspiration through song. If his voice can lend to that, than good. If he can do more than that, even better, but let us not hold our breaths.

  7. So…. Castro invited Panfilo to celebrate his 83 birthday today…. Panfilo was treated like a King… he was offered 8 gallons of water, which he drank very fast and he was very happy… after all, he could not believe that he was at the Commander in chief birthday.. After a while he asked to go to the bathroom .. of course he had to take a leak…later on he was invited to sit at the same table with Fidel . The great leader offererd him many treats , shrimp, lobter , roasted pig among others things. Panfilo could’nt eat anything Castro insisted and insisted and Panfilo refused and refused. After pausing and maditating for a while Fidel told everybody at the table….. Panfilo… you weren’t HUNGRY…. you were….THIRSTY…

  8. ***
    Juanes is a very good musical group–I like their music. I hope he will not help the evil government.
    Yoani Sanchez’s best sentence is THE PRIVILEGE OF THE FOREIGNER…IS BETTER THAN THE NATIVES. What a disgrace. The communist Cuban government does not care about the people. Cuba for the people!
    Juanes es muy buen grupo musical–me gusta su musica. Espero que el no ayudara el gobierno malo.
    Yoani Sanchez’s mejor phrase es EL PRIVILIGEO DEL EXTRANERO…ES MEJOR QUE EL DE LOS NATIVOS. Que desgracia! El gobierno Cubano communista no quiere la gente Cubana. Cuba por la gente Cubano!
    John Bibb

  9. Greed and ego is what drives Juanes to Cuba. I think he reached as high as he can. Not, be ready for his fall. Next concert will be in Caracas, Venezula, for the birthday celebration His Majesty Hugo Chavez, the bastard son of Fidel Castro, the oldest living eunuco.

  10. The human memory is short. That is good and bad. Good because it allow us to forget and forgive. Bad, because it allows younger generation not to know and even never to learn about the past. So, they come with their own dreams of unity, change, thinking that the old people were dome and stupid and were always old and factuals. No, the old people of today had dreams that were shattered by individuals like Fidel Castro. The young ones do not recognize how they will be used in favor of their cause to legitimate somehow all the killings in name of the revolution. I am not Cuban, I am Colombian, and we have shed more tears and provided more deads than anybody because of Fidel Castro’s support of the Farc. I cannot see how Juanes who has been the inspiration of many Colombians makes this mistake. Like Ebert Castro (a Chilean comedian nacionalized in Colombia) said: Se le dijo, se le advirtio, se paso la adertencia por la faja, y miren lo que sucedio. Juanes, lo siento por Karen, a wonderful woman you do not deserve.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more, Yoani. So many Cubans in Miami are fighting this. I truly believe that this is a good thing. True, there aren’t any battle fields in Cuba and they are not in situations resembling Irag, Honduras or Afghanistan, but if anyone can tell me that people in Cuba live in peace, I’d have to disagree. I’ve been there more than once and I have many family members living there; not once have I felt peace there. There is a feeling and despair and fear. I don’t know if his going there will have a great political impact, or if it will change anything. But I do know that sometimes you have to try to do whatever you can. Even if it just means taking your guitar and singing.

  12. Anónimo will be present at the concert for one reason, to thanks his Master for allowing such a farse.

    I wonder how Juanes will feel if Silvio Rodríguez host a concert in the jungle of Colombia in an area controlled by the FARC?

    Bunch of useful idiots!

  13. Georgina, de acuerdo 100X100 con tu comentario! Posiblemente porque seamos más o menos de la misma época.
    Georgina, I agree 100% with your comment! Maybe we are from the same era.

  14. 13
    Agosto 13th, 2009 at 05:22

    Something will happen if Panfilo ………..
    Dear Ettore….. Panfilo is in jail……. found guilty of “pre-criminal behavior” (Ley de Peligrosidad)…. this “law” says you can be condemned up to 4 years in prison if suspected of a possible criminal behavior in the future!!!!!!
    Panfilo got a 2 years sanction.

  15. Something will happen if Panfilo gets there drunk out of his mind and speaks the truth about the hunger in Cuba that he knows all too well. Follow the link to see Panfilo tell it like it is:

    “jamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa lo que hace falta es jammmmmaaaaaa, que hay tremenda hambre en Cuba, tremendo descaro, pollo viejo, mira esto picadillo de soyaaaa, comidaaa!!!!”

    Jamma (Food) what is needed is jamma (food), there is tremendous hunger in Cuba, tremendously shameful, old chicken, look at this chopped soya (not beef), food!!!!

    Only drunks and children dare to speak the truth in Cuba…

    But I fear that MINIT grabbed him and he will never be seen again…

  16. Being out of the country, not aware of everyday details, and dependent on Yoani, Miriam and Claudia to keep us abreast of what goes on in the island, I would not dare make any recommendations or suggestions as to what people in Cuba should do to confront the dynasty, now that there is a window of opportunity when this concert takes place. This is a personal decision that only the person on site can make and execute.

    I’d be great to see the regime shouted down as they did to the Ceaucescus in Bucharest, Romania, as the then Dictator, in plain view of television cameras, refused to accept, wearing a fake smile, that the masses no longer supported him and his wife as the “Father and Mother of the Motherland” and that they actually wanted him and her dead and buried, as they jeered and would not let him speak.

    If interested, see Ceaucescu’s Last Speech at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEZHZHNByCs

    In the case of Cuba, we have a little General in power who, as usually happens with small characters like these, has a chip on his shoulder, – i.e. a murderous brother to live up to. In his case, it is said that he would not hesitate to open fire on anything that moves, and do so with relish as if hunting deer.

    I myself don’t believe this and think that having a family and grand children, with the right crowd shouting him down, he might actually cower and flee for his life and that of his family on the nearest plane, if given the chance.

  17. Cada vez que se de cosas como estas no puedo comprender como la actual generacion de los cubanos han olvidado cuanto dolor y penas hemos sufrido a causa de ” La Revolucion”…Como es posible que un extrano como Juanes crea que puede borrar todo lo pasado yendo a Cuba.”La Cuba que nosotros los nacidos en ella no podemos visitar o en tiempos pasados no se nos concedio el permiso de asistir al funeral de un ser querido.En mi caso “MI HIJO”….Solo pienso que “el Juanes es un aprovechado que utiliza ese concierto para publicidad y vender discos..haciendose pasar como UN INOCENTE CREYENTE DE LA PAZ….Dios quiera que nunca tenga que pasar por lo que nosotros los cubanos hemos y seguimos sufriendo.Desdichadamente nuestra Cuba ya no existe…EL viento se la llevo…la generacion de ahora..”.mejor me guardo mi comentario al respecto…..”…solo conocen lo que ahora viven….que saben de LIBERTAD…de valores….solo saben de Castro y su calana….y de Castro yo si se.. lo conoci en mi juventud….
    . .

  18. Candido
    That is exactly my point .I based my comment in recent history. Osacr de Leon is great example. I did not of that though.
    Hope is a wonderful thing…

  19. Concubino:

    I know that, we all know that, but, What else we can do?,,Hope is the last thing that we have!!!!! hope or miracles in Cuba’s case are more or less the same thing!!!!.

    Remember when in 82 or 83 (I don’t recall exactly) Oscar de Leon wnent to Cuba?!!!!,,,That was something incredible,,,,he was able to mobilize half the country,,,,but at the end,,what happened?,,,noting,,,when came back, he had to retracted and speak against the Cuba’s Government,,,,but once again,,,nothing happened!!!!.

    With Juanes, it will be the same thing,,,that is why I did say “I hope,,,just that”!!!!

    Anyways, I can’t denied that I would like to participate in something like what happened with Mussolini, but with Fidel Castro and his brother!!!!would be a great pleasure!!!!!

    I’m going to check out the Miriam Celaya Blog, I will let you know.


  20. Candido;
    I wrote something in Miriam Celaya (sin Evasion Blog)if you want you can check it out. Her post was about the similarities betwen Cuba and Noth Corea . Her post is very interesting and well written.

  21. Candido:

    Nothing is gonna happens. I do believe that change in Cuba is going to come from the top -down, no from the cuaban people.100 maleconazos will change nothing, but more reppression, abuse and brutality against teh people
    Change will happen when somebody from the top decide that enough is enough,and decide to become the Gorbachov of Cuba.Then Perestroika and Glasnot.
    Then the fall of Cuba, and as the domino effect Venezuela and all these countries who want to build the Socialism of the XXI century. Like East Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall after Gorbachov fallow the suggestions of Reagan to “tear down this wall”
    Remember Cuba supplies the Inteligentsia and couterinteligentsia , Chavez the petrodollars.That is what is sustaining all that “Absurdity”

    “Mocking” for now will remain our only weapon.It may be not effective on bringing down the regime, but it is extremely bothersome to them.

    Check The Aldeanos and el b in youtube.Those kids have big balls, they do a very “in your face” kind of music.

  22. Concubino:

    I hope your comment becomes reality !!!!!!.

    Can you image the Murderer in Chief, almost blind, with his body shaking like dancing a regueton!!!!!!!with his beard, which now has only 6 or 7 hairs!!!!! how happy the Cuban people will be,,,what a feelings that the Cuban people will fell!!!! Could be happiness? Could be freedom?, Could be “that’s it, this is the end”?,,,anything,,,anything!!!!! , but hurt or commiseration,,,,because for a murderer of that magnitude,,,,for an abuser so huge,,,,I think, that the only feelings- seen that coward in such conditions- that any human being can feel would be contempt, disgust, revenge, etc, etc,,,,,and to end in the trash!!!!!.

    This concert could be the spark plug that could detonate the big bomb!!!!!, since nobody knows what can be done by a massive quantity of people reunited at the same time!!!!,,remember Cheauchesku!!!!!!

    I’ll pray for that!!!!!!!!!! Godspeed!!!!!!!!!!


  23. From Prensa Latina:
    The Cuban revolutionary government is going to install a giant screen at the side of the Cuban National hero Jose Marti’s monument, in the Revolutionary Square for Juanes concert.Assuming that all the native and international guests take part of this important event,the tentative program next September 20th will be as follow:

    1)Panfilo speech I’m hungryyyy!!.”Jama”..( youtube)
    2)Panfilo deniying previous speech (youtube).
    3)Panfilo in Havana malecon (youtube).
    4)Panfilo in Villa Marista retracting againg .
    5)Cuban Supreme Court announcing that Panfilo is guilty of dangerous behavior,he will spend three years and six months in jail.
    6)The Aldeanos y el “B”(La Naranja se pico’) youtube
    7)Native artists like Van-Van salsa band ,Amaury Perez Vidal, Omara Portuondo among others.
    8)Internationals artists like Olga Tanon, Miguel Bose and other internationals guets.
    9) JUANES.(one song and a half of another one).We don’t know which one and which half.He informed to this agency that he has to sensorship himself and then the songs have to go through the official sensorship.
    10)Towards the end we will see Panfilo from East Havana Complex Prision. Retracting himself from previous comments for the eleventh time.
    11)The Aldeanos y el “B” dedicating his performance to all internationals artists that honor the cuban people with their presence,the song: “Mangos Bajitos”(youtube)
    12)Tania Bruguera Performance in Havana(youtube)where Yoani Sanchez, Reinaldo Escobar, Claudia Cadelo among others performed.White dove included.
    13)For the Grand Finale:Our Dear Commander in Chief,Fidel Castro ,dressed for the last time in his green olive uniform, in our glorious Revolution Square.This time,the white dove will take a SHIT in his uniform .

  24. We may not be doing much better…this from one of today’s. ‘Health Care’ forums. This one in New Hampshire and given by President Obama.

    “Send [illegal immigrants] home with a bullet in the head the second time”

    “Read what Jefferson said about the Tree of Liberty – it’s coming baby.”

    [Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”]

    So, I think I would rather go to the Juanes concert!

  25. I’m sorry, but I have to be blunt about this.. Cubans need to gather and protest. COME WHAT MAY. I understand People are fearful and that it’s hard, but fearful of what? How could the situations the Cuban people face day to day get ANY worse? Jose Marti did not fear as he rode into battle vs. the Spanish! They have so many statues of Marti and hold him as a huge idol (Castro of course, manipulating his image to better suit his own message) so instead of “BE LIKE CHE!” BE LIKE MARTI. He did not fear, he gave his life in battle and Cubans did not falter! So please, I’m nearly begging any Cuban reading this, you HAVE to make a stand, come what may. It’s the only way.

    No one is going to save Cuba, except her people.

    I don’t know, I’ve had this on my mind a long time. I just wish everyone wasn’t so damn apathetic!

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