A moment missed by
Latin American Working Group (LAWG)
September 22, 2009
Louis Head is Director of Cuba Research & Analysis Group in Albuquerque, NM, co-founder of US-Cuba Cultural Exchange and a member of the LAWG board.
"Peace without Borders" video links:
It seems that a day cannot go by without an article in the MSM declaring that “
Being the music lover that I am, before anything else I have to comment: What a spectacular display it was! Well over a million people – half of Havana’s population according to Cuban press sources – filled the Plaza of the Revolution to see performances by Cuban artists living on the island and abroad whose work most epitomizes their homeland, such as Los Van Van, Orishas, Silvio Rodríguez, Yerba Buena, Carlos Varela and Amaury Pérez. Hats off to saxophonist and music director extraordinaire Juan Manuel Ceruto and an amazing ensemble that accompanied many of the Cubans, as well as their foreign guests such as Luis Aute, Miguel Bosé, Olga Tañón and Danny Rivera, among others. It was great to see Cuban musicianship on display again here in the
Latin America was definitely in the house in
At the risk of simplistic treatment,
In spite of the rhetoric and actions of the Bush Administration, that same year
In 2007, Cuba’s prima ballerina Alicia Alonso called on the North American artistic and cultural community to work with their counterparts in Cuba so that “you are not prevented from coming to our Island to share your knowledge and values; so that a song, a book, a scientific study or a choreographic work are not considered, in an irrational way, as a crime.
When thousands of us here relayed that message to the Bush Administration, the response was complete silence. The Obama Administration has taken some positive steps towards changing the situation. The most significant by far has been a blanket authorization to Cuban-Americans to travel to their homeland as often as they want, and to send to their families as much money as they may. There were many Cuban-Americans in the audience at Sunday’s concert, and there were a few Cuban-Americans on stage performing.
But this does nothing for millions of Americans who have expressed the desire to travel to
Photograph: Javier Galeano/AP
And it is up to us to change this.
Anyone who was moved by what they saw taking place at the Concert for Peace without Borders should be so moved to support the pending “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act” – HR 874 in the House and its counterpart S 428 in the Senate – which are due to be considered by Congress this Fall. Take a moment on September 30 and join other Americans who will be contacting their elected officials that day. Ask them if they are supporting these critical bills, and if they are not, tell them why you believe that it is important that they do. Let us be inspired by the example of the Concert for Peace to take our own steps towards ending our own isolation from our island neighbor.