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RE: Give Peace a chance | 27.08.2009 | 12:37

schöne ergänzung hierzu via ned sublete afrocubaweb.com/nedsublette.htm

Louis Head, my colleague from U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange, was on CNN yesterday -- quite briefly -- talking with CNN's Rick Sanchez about the forthcoming September 20 Juanes concert in Havana, before RS switched over to anti-Castro Miami salsero Willy Chirino.

I don't watch TV, so I was unfamiliar with Rick Sanchez, who shouts! a lot! and talks as if he's in a hurry! which he is! and I suppose everyone else on CNN is too! before we run out of time!

The Juanes concert, you see, has "stirred up controversy." Which means that the same people who always throw a fit in Miami are once again throwing a fit in Miami. With the same cowardly tactics, updated: Juanes received a "death tweet" -- a threatening twitter post. Not a whiff of "controversy" can be detected anywhere else; however, the media is always ready to fan the flames, and there have been articles and TV bits about the "controversy" throughout the Hispanic world. It's not unlike the teabaggers. The group that declared a media event of smashing Juanes CDs was so small that the cameras had to go into tight focus so you couldn't see how few of them there were.

Unmentioned in any of the articles I've seen is the for some uncomfortable fact that Juanes, as a Colombian who is a way bigger star than any Cuban from the last 20 years of Miami (though not bigger than fellow Colombian Shakira), represents in effect a demographic insurgency in south Florida politics. Colombians are the second-largest Latino demographic now in Miami (see "Changing the Game" by Elizabeth Méndez-Berry and Don Duncan at newsinitiative.org/story/2008/07/28/exiles__immigrants). The old hard-line Cuban establishment has less and less control, and Juanes's trip to Cuba is proof of that.

Louis did a marvelous job of setting the record straight in the micro-airtime available to him before Sanchez cut him off (and put words in Louis's mouth in the process). A transcript of the relevant portion follows, with stage directions in and Ned's occasional comments in [brackets]. watch along as you read at . . .

ricksanchez.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/25/fight-over-a-concert-in-cuba/

* * *

Rick Sanchez: . . . New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, he’s in Cu-ba! And he’s on a trade mission. A mission to promote agricultural and cultural partnerships. Cultural partnerships in most places would be low drama, hardly mentioned [certainly CNN wouldn’t bother with it], but when it comes to Cuba? there ain’t no such thing as . . . low drama! [because when CNN gets hold of it, it becomes low comedy.]

Here’s who else is going to Cuba – that’s Juanes! He’s one of the hottest musicians in Latin America [wonder what country he's from?], and next month, he’s gonna be in Cuba. Headlining the “Peace Without Borders” show on Havana’s revolutionary square, la Plaza -- de la Rrrrrevolución , where Fidel Castro would give twenty-hour speeches from time to time. [Actually, they only seemed like twenty-hour speeches.]

Well, what’s goin’ on is that’s startin’ to get ugly. [In television this is considered a good thing.] And it’s gettin’ ugly because of what people are saying about it [which people would those be, Rick?] It is! Today’s installment of Conexión.

Juanes says the concert is intended to set aside political differences and knock down our own mental walls. Mental walls! Instead, he’s got a lot of anti-Castro activists [seven or eight of them, at least] who are yelling, “Why reward Fidel Castro with a multimillion-dollar huge celebrity concert?” [Juanes's number was $300,000, out of his own pocket] I’m gonna talk to Willy Chirino, who’s vehemently anti-Castro. He sings about it, as a matter of fact. Is internationally renowned, smart guy, known him for years. But first – I want to bring in Louis Head, he’s with the U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange. Louis, thanks so much for being with us!

Louis Head: Thanks a lot for havin’ me, Rick.

RS: Sure! Hey! Ih! Ih! Ih! Ih! You know, the critics will say, this is simply rewarding Fidel Castro , why would you do something like this?

LH: Well, first of all, let’s clarify a couple of things. I mean, I will say on behalf of U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange, which is a network of artists and arts presenters all over the country, that we do welcome the Juanes initiative . . .

RS: Mm-hmm . . .

LH: . . . and we also welcome the initiative of the New York Philharmonic, which will be in Cuba in October, and the recent visit by the Cuban theater group to the University of Alabama. . . .

RS: Right . . .

LH: . . . Obviously, things are re-opening a little bit. But let’s clear up a misconception, because I don’t think there’s anything unprecedented about the Juanes trip to Cuba. . Cultural exchange with modern Cuba began in the 1970s, and then became extensive in the 1990s, up until 2004, when the Bush administration shut it down . . .

RS: So why is this one getting so much heat? What is it about Juanes? Is it maybe the fact that because he’s a Hispanic going to this country that it sparks some fire?

LH: I think that’s probably part of it, but I think cultural -- or, collective memory, rather -- being what it is in the United States, people just don’t realize how extensive things were in the 1990s, up until 2004.

RS: Mm-hmmm . . .

LH: I mean, there were literally thousands of visual and performing and literary and other kinds of artists . . .

RS: So you’re say -- you’re saying this is a good thing! Uh, Louis, thanks so much for being with us! I want to bring in the other side, before we run out of time. I want to bring in my old friend Willy Chirino from south Florida! Willy, good to see you!

Willy Chirino: ¿Qué pasa, Rrrrrick?

RS: Always good to see you! Un, un, un . . .

WC: Good to see you, my brother . . .

RS: . . . un placer! Listen, when we look at this,