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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas
For the first time in more than 50 years, U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed a musical band from Cuba, the Buena Vista Social Club, to the White House. Coincidentally, the police operation leading to the arrest of a powerful Honduran family was also codenamed Buena Vista.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Thursday, October the 15th was consecration day for African American Culture in the Americas. That day, the Buena Vista Social Club Band, based in Cuba, played at the White House to celebrate Hispanic achievement.

The band bears the name of a club created in the late nineteenth century in Cuba that was run along the lines of a cofradia or guild created by the Spaniards. These cofradias evolved into private clubs whose membership was determined by race at a time when the culture of slavery kept Afro-Cubans encapsulated within institutions that would prevent them from mixing with the white population.

The Buena Vista Social Club held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the1940s when it closed its doors. The band became famous in the 1990's when US guitarist Ry Cooder recorded an album with them.

In 1999 German director Wim Wenders produced a documentary of the group's performance with Cooder. The Film was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film. Now these descendants of segregated Cuban's entered the White House to entertain the first African American President in U.S. history, at the same time becoming the first Cuban band in 50 years to perform there.

And by so doing they exorcised the demons of a past marked by discrimination based on color. It also marked the end of Cold War policies which died under the crisp and sentimental notes of Cuban Jazz . Great demise for a group that is on its farewell tour of the world!!

Meanwhile, a few days before in Havana, a Steinway piano had made its way from Astoria, New York to be played by Lang Lang, China's piano prodigy, and Chucho Valdes, the renown Cuban Jazz musician.

The Cuban National Symphony orchestra accompanied them with Marin Alsop as conductor. The concert was a signal to the world of what Cuba is to become soon: one of the trade melting pots of the Americas. Indeed, Cuba will soon retake its ancient role of trade gateway as the Suez canal container ships arrive in Mariel from Asia to continue to the U.S. where they will embark and disembark manufactured products and equipment.

In the process, cultures will blend to nurture the economies of the hemisphere and create a new future for the Americas.

Coincidentally, the police operation leading to the arrest of a powerful Honduran family was also codenamed Buena Vista.

The operation through which U.S. authorities indicted a former Honduran Vice President and two members of his family signals the full deployment of the internationalization of the RICO Act which had been in the makings for years.

Confronted with the rise of a narco state in Venezuela, the potential decriminalization of drug trafficking when used to finance politics by Colombia, and a sea of discontent in Brazil which could give organized crime advancement opportunities, the U.S. took the step of fighting the rising storm with the effective weapon of its legal framework.

For organized crime and terrorist organizations to succeed, they need to interact with the U.S. financial system.
Should access be denied, the dividends of crime tend to shrink as do the pleasures such dividends defray.

The indictment of the Rosenthal family members also sent a very strong message to members of Latin American elites in the sense that in the eyes of the U.S. justice system, no matter the power, wealth, or status of a person, all will have to respond for crimes. In a sense, the indictments spelled the end of impunity in Latin America.
This is bound to produce two effects: On the one hand, heretofore NGOs fighting corruption and defending the rule of law will certainly have a field day. And their pressure on their countries could start the long and complex process of finally building political systems that are grounded on the impartial and effective administration of justice.

Second, politicians, businessmen and women, and community leaders will feel surveilled by a greater power than their countrymen and women. They would thus tend to behave in a more transparent and honest way. And while good behavior might not last long enough to change the nature of the political systems south of the Rio Grande, it will attract followers who will seek to exorcize the demons of corruption and abuse -- Just as the Buena Vista band expel bad vibes with their wonderful music!!!

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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