The well known Latin pop singer and UMPG client who has made Miami — Key Biscayne more exactly — his home, has made an important career decision. He has agreed to perform in Cuba. Why does that represent such a controversial decision? Because the kind of people welcomed to perform in Cuba are the kind of people who the Cuban government can count upon to be complicit in their tyranny.
OK, so he’s going there and being diplomatic with his hosts, why such a big deal? Because Miami is full of Cuban-Americans whose roots in the US can be traced to people escaping — some successfully, but not all — that particular communist regime. What there is no escaping is that Juanes is getting in the face of the community [largely Cuban-American] he choose to live in with this decision.
Perhaps you are asking yourself, ‘maybe he’s the sort who can’t help himself, the always taking a stand type.’ Well, not exactly. In an interview last year he described himself as ‘belonging to the extreme center.’ Given that his decision to play in Cuba will no doubt be spun as an ‘act of bravery,’ let me suggest what would I would consider a real act of bravery on the part of the wealthy Colombian-born singer.
Speak out against FARC, the terrorist group which has in effect held his country hostage for many years, assuming he opposes their methods and beliefs.
Last year Juanes issued a statement inviting FARC to a dialogue. Of course, no dialogue transpired [but it was great PR]. But now what? Was that it? Why not take on FARC in his own way? And not just through press releases which state how ‘unafraid he is’ from Miami. No he could really show it by moving back to Colombia. Can you imagine a more powerful statement in Latin American politics? Can you imagine what a boost that could be to Uribe and the brave women and men who have been fighting the good fight, while self-exiled ‘heroes’ practice silence? Imagine … there’s a song in there somewhere.
Imagine there’s no FARC
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or kidnap for
No guerrilla territories too
Imagine a world with no copyright infringement
Living life in peace with UMPG’s legal department
[Juanes agents even get a cut from his dreams]
None of that will happen of course. There is a word for the type of person who voluntarily leaves their ravaged homeland, and its very real dangers, only to manufacture controversies at the expense of a people whose hard-fought efforts he has benefited from. But since this is a family blog, I won’t use the most appropriate word. Ingrate, as Joel Goodson might say, is a poor substitute, but will do.
I hope we remember all fellow travelers, like Juanes and Magglio Ordonez. But not with violence in the moment, which is morally wrong and counter-productive. The kind of remembering I advocate is unsentimental and unrelenting in reciting the facts of an issue and not having that remembrance be subject to any expiration date. Along those lines, allow me to introduce Juanes to the #1 fellow traveler, the traitor Alger Hiss.
Two of my favorite bloggers have weighed in on this issue on the same post – I highly recommend this particular blog post by Robert at the 26th Parallel which incorporates the views of Cuba’s truly courageous Yoani Sanchez on this issue.
Thank you Jorge, and excellent post as usual. I'll never understand the great desire of the “pragmatists” to trump principles and values for policies and events that are, at very best, dubious and naive.
The word you didn't want to mention is much more accurate description, I would imagine.