(PL) The announcement in Havana of the concert Peace without Frontiers, promoted by the Colombian musician Juanes, next September 20th at the Revolution Square, has aroused diverse opinions. In the Island, there is expectation for the meeting. There is also a grateful attitude for the recognition to Cuba's voice in the name of Peace.
One of the guest artists, the Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, in an interview granted to La Jiribilla, on answering about the "concerns" aroused by such an "audacity", reaffirms it as "an event of Peace that bothers the extreme right-wing, because the nature of these people is aggressive, as well as the blockade, and because the idea and the fact of peace undermines the hatred that feed them".
When the strains of the performance in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, on the occasion of the commemoration of the independent war of August 10, 1809, could still be heard, Silvio, who sang songs that constitute a substantial part of the song history of this continent before some 25 000 people at the Model Stadium, shared some reflections with this magazine.
The concert by the Colombian musician Juanes at the Revolution Square has a previous and spontaneous story in Havana. Tell us about this story and its antecedents.
The antecedents, regarding my own person, began by a phone call of the Ministry of Culture to tell me that Juanes wanted to give a Concert for Peace in Havana and he was coming to Cuba to talk about that. I was called because there was going to be a dinner and they wanted me to attend. There I met Juanes and I heard him speak about the project for the first time. He asked me if I wanted to take part and I said yes. I had seen the first concert for Peace they had made at the border between Colombia and Venezuela on TV and it seemed positive to me.
During the launch of the book Cancionero (Song book) you mentioned that at the age of 20 you believed that poetry could change the world and now, at the age of 60, you were convinced that you couldn't change it, but you could in deed make it much better. Can this concert by Juanes in Cuba provide evidence of such certainty?
That is correct; I don't believe that a song or a concert can change the complex reality overnight, but without a doubt an event like this one can be a strong message of Peace will, in this case between the United States and Cuba, countries that are separated by half-century discrepancies. In my opinion, this concert intends to join the voices of many here and there who want the situation to become normal and that everybody can live the way they want, respecting differences.
The idea of this musical event has caused a huge stir in Miami accusing it of being a politicized concert. Why can an event in favor of Peace bother so much?
The voices condemning this concert are not the voices of the immense majority of the Cuban emigrant workers. Even less the voices of the 11 million people who live in Cuba. The awkward and aggressive voices are of the small but very powerful Cuban extreme right-wing that goes hand in hand with the US extreme right-wing (it is common knowledge what this extreme right-wing does all over the world). An event of Peace bothers the extreme right-wing because the nature of these people is aggressive, as well as the blockade, because the idea and the fact of Peace undermine the hatred that feeds them.
There are many outbreaks of wars all over the world: military, ideological, economic And this concert is dedicated to oppose Peace to such conflicts. In favor of what causes or against what acts is it worthy to "sh oot" songs?
Juanes says he wants this concert to be white; he has also said that white is the lack of color; therefore I deduce that Juanes doesn't want any idea prevailing over another one; he wants everyone to have the same opportunity. I believe that in this concert there is space for all the songs transmitting aspects of the human condition, which is a very diverse and very rich thing, apart from ideologies. Therefore, everything that means respect to the right to life, to education, to freedom and to diversity will be valid. And rather than "shooting" I guess that it will be a concert where songs will be blown so that the wind helped by satellites takes them every where softly as possible.
Among your songs, there are several against war. Will we hear some of them at the concert? Maybe some advance of the new production "Segunda cita" (Second appointment).
To make the program I guess that first we need to know how many artists will take part in it. Then we can have an idea of the repertory that each will play.
Segunda cita is a disk that is pretty focused on the Cuban reality; I could maybe sing some of those. I don't know yet. At some point I thought of singing "Rabo de nube" (Small tornado), which I couldn't sing at the homage to Pete Seeger. I have also thought about "Días y flores" (Days and flowers). But I could also dust revive one, entitled "Blanco" (White), which I composed forty years ago.
To sing at the Revolution Square is a duty, recalling your anthological song. What meaning does it have to do it today, in the present circumstances and accompanied by all these musicians?
It continues to be a duty and, of course, also a pleasure.
You have just given several concerts in Ecuador, one of the centers of the social renewal that takes place in Latin America. Taking into account the experience of this visit, your contact with the people, together with the recent facts of the coup d'état in Honduras, the world crisis and the Yankee military bases in Colombia, what sings or lessons born in this context should be a lesson for the most immediate Latin American future?
I think that the coup d'état in Honduras is very similar to the one given by Pinochet in Chile and I think that they didn't do it alone here either. The ambitious ones have stained once more the dignity of the Armed Forces of a Latin American country. There are many bullet wounded and if there are less dead people it is because of the alert presence of TeleSur. It is obvious that the Honduran people will say the last word. On the other hand, the intensity of what we have lived in Asuncion and Guayaquil reinforces my faith that the second Latin American independence continues.