MIAMI – Colombian superstar Juanes is going ahead with plans to give a concert in Cuba next month despite having received threatening messages on his Twitter account, the singer’s agent told Efe Thursday.
“The concert is still on. There’s never been any intention of canceling it,” Fernan Martinez said in a telephone interview.
Juanes will bring the “Peace Without Borders” concert to Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, joined by Spanish singer-songwriter Miguel Bose and Puerto Rican merengue artist Olga Tañon, the agent said.
Cubans such as singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez and salsa stars Los Van Van also are scheduled to perform.
Martinez told Efe that while the threats were reported to police as a preventative measure, “Juanes isn’t afraid at all,” adding that the concert will take place on Sept. 20, International Day of Peace, at the same site “where Pope John Paul II said Mass in 1998.”
Telemundo television reported Wednesday that Juanes went to the police station in the Miami suburb of Key Biscayne and said that people were sending him anonymous online written messages such as “I prefer to die in battle rather than prison. Peace without freedom.”
Telemundo displayed the police report and said that in it the anonymous message sender added a twisted rendering of a famous phrase attributed to Voltaire, telling Juanes: “I hate what you’re saying, but you will die defending your right to say it.”
The original phrase is: “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
“Juanes took those messages as a threat and says that he fears for his safety and that of his family,” said Telemundo.
The TV network added that the Colombian artist is thinking of postponing the concert that has aroused so much controversy among the Cuban exile community, with several of the main exile organizations expressing their rejection of his plans to perform in Havana.
However, the winner of 12 Latin Grammys said in an interview published Thursday by leading Spanish daily El Pais that he will hold the concert.
Opponents of the Castro regime in Miami are calling for boycotts of Juanes concerts and CDs, saying he would be tacitly supporting a regime that locks up peaceful dissenters and calling on him to sing for freedom, not peace.
But young Juanes fans in Cuba say they would be the only victims if the concert were not held.
Prominent Cuban dissidents spoke out Tuesday in favor of the planned concert.
“No one has the right to deprive Cubans inside the country (of) what people enjoy naturally outside the country. The totalitarianism on the island is more than enough,” Miriam Leiva, founder of Ladies in White, a group comprising relatives of political prisoners, said.
Leiva said the concert would be modeled on the one Juanes organized in 2008 on the Colombian-Venezuelan border to reduce regional tensions following Colombia’s bombing of a clandestine guerrilla camp in Ecuador. She noted that Bose “and other artists with heart and intelligence” were involved in the previous show.
“Fortunately, those outside of Cuba who oppose the concert don’t have the firepower of the Colombian and Venezuelan armed forces, though they threaten the artists with a boycott the size of a world war,” the dissident said in an article that she sent to Efe. EFE