Colombian singer Juanes visited Havana in June, in a visit intended to mark the establishment of bilateral cultural exchanges between Cuba and Colombia following the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Cuban Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto, and his Colombian counterpart, Paula Moreno. During this first rapprochement with the Cuban public, Juanes mentioned the possibility of giving a one-night concert in one of Havana’s open squares. During his brief stay in the city, the Colombian singer met with Silvio Rodríguez, and toured areas of Havana’s Miramar neighborhood, where he strolled through Old Havana’s historical area and spoke with locals, who recognized him on the spot. During his tour of Old Havana, Juanes expressed his interest in the restoration works carried out by the Office of the Havana City Historian.
The visit coincided with the signing of the bilateral agreement, which will facilitate cultural exchanges and will include joint theater and filmmaking projects, oral history projects, and artistic training. “We think highly of Cuba’s efforts in the field of culture; that’s why we are looking forward to enhancing the friendship between our peoples,” the Colombian minister said. She also spoke about the linguistic, ethnic and age diversity which characterizes Colombia, and their desire to spread this heritage in the region.
Minister Moreno arrived in Havana on Juanes’ wake, on her first official visit to Cuba. She visited the International Film and TV School in San Antonio de los Baños, and attended the inauguration of an exhibition of Colombian musical instruments at the Simón Bolívar Centre. She also met with singer/songwriter Silvio Rodríguez–a moment she described as “moving and revealing,” for she feels a profound admiration for this Cuban musician. At the end of the meeting, Moreno said that her three-day visit to Cuba had been very valuable, and described Cuba’s cultural panorama as fertile and prolific.