Miami Cubans Feud Over Havana Peace Concert

Cuban regime using Juanes, critics say
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2009 3:32 PM CDT
Juanes poses with his 5 Latin Grammy awards at the 9th annual Latin GRAMMY awards, November 13, 2008.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Juan Esteban Aristizábal, the Colombian pop star better known as Juanes, has sparked a generational spat among Cuban-Americans by agreeing to sing at a “peace concert” in Havana, the Economist reports. Many elders view the event as the Cuban regime’s latest attempt to manipulate public opinion, but 26-year-old Felice Gorordo, the co-founder of one youth organization, says that "for many of our generation, it’s just not an issue.”

Some hope the Sept. 20 concert will mark a watershed in US-Cuban relations, which have been improving since the Obama administration eased restrictions on travel and remittances. In Havana, Juanes will be careful to avoid performing alongside controversial landmarks like an image of Che Guevara or the offices of the Cuban Communist party. Adds Gorordo, “A lot of our members say, ‘Let him go and we’ll judge when he comes back. It’s worth a shot.’”