Why is it that musicians can get away with such utter hypocrisy? They play both sides against the middle, claiming to be artists whose work rises above politics while at the same time being blatantly political.
They get away with it, frankly, because most people don’t care.
During the 1980s, many musicians joined together to fight apartheid in South Africa and denounce dictatorships like Pinochet’s in Chile. Chief among them was Sting, the lead singer and bassist of The Police. Sting became an ambassador for Amnesty International, and The Police played a big part in the organization’s “Conspiracy of Hope” tour.
But hardly an eyebrow was raised when Sting took a holiday in Cuba, a country that has consistently been denounced by Amnesty International for its human rights abuses.
When The Police reunited in 2007 for a world tour, the band announced that it was planning a concert in Havana similar to the one Juanes now intends to play. But when The Police arrived in Miami they were confronted with a public that saw through their hypocrisy. A candlelight vigil was held by Cuban democracy advocates the night before the concert, and the day of the concert a banner flew over the stadium reminding Sting and his band mates that the conditions they once denounced in Chile continue to exist in Cuba today.
Maybe they realized the folly of their ways, or maybe they simply were advised against following through, but the Havana concert never took place.
I suspect that Juanes will not be as smart. Despite claiming to be aware of how hurtful such a concert in Havana will be to his Cuban-American neighbors in Miami, he continues to insist that the show will go on.
And to add insult to injury he will share the stage with regime-approved acts like Silvio Rodriguez and Amaury Perez. The former is a member of Cuba’s communist “parliament” and the latter is a disgusting figure who in 2003 signed a letter in which he agreed with the death sentence for three men who attempted to steal a boat in a desperate attempt to reach freedom. The men were tried and killed within 72 hours.
Is this the “peace” that Juanes wants to sing about?