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Juanes to Perform on U.S.-Mexico Border

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Sep 22, 2009

To hear "Viva Estados Unidos!" (Long live the United States!) shouted from the stage in Havanas Plaza de la Revolucin sounded almost surreal. Los Van Van closed the Paz sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) concert in Cuba joined on stage by all the performers with rousing cheers to the nations of the Americas, showing peace truly has no borders.

There was no political propaganda. The Castro brothers were not front and center stealing the limelight. It was a gigantic hours-long street party instead of never-ending speeches. But on the island, the absence of political rhetoric is in itself a powerful political statement.

The second edition of the Paz sin Fronteras concert organized in Cuba by singer Juanes sparked major controversy from the start among Cuban exiles, regrettably including death threats on the Colombian musician. The shows intent was to bring a unique event to the Cuban people, featuring local and international artists. Some were performing for the first time on the island.

That said, the concert does not change the harsh realities of the Cuban political system. Images of the event are posted all over the Internet, but mentioning hunger in Cuba on YouTube still means a two-year prison sentence and being classified as a "danger to society," as happened with Juan Carlos "Pnfilo" Gonzlez.

We believe events like this concert are important to the process of opening up the country and regime. In this context, the U.S. embargo must end in order to allow trade and travel to the island. The embargo is a Cold War relic that has no purpose and has been counterproductive in achieving civil and political liberties in Cuba. The concert was an important step toward ending the islands isolation created from both inside and out.

The shout "Viva Estados Unidos!" wasnt as loud as cheers for other nations over the music. Next year promises another chance to cheer when Juanes brings his music to a border that also needs peace. A little music for peace would be welcome in a violent border like the one between Ciudad Jurez and El Paso.

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