Juanes concert in Cuba going ahead despite death threats

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Colombian pop singer Juanes’ “Peace Without Borders” concert will go on as planned in Havana despite threatening messages the singer received recently on his Twitter account, the Associated Press reports. “The concert is still on, and Juanes is maintaining a positive attitude throughout all of this,” assured Fernán Martínez Maecha, the singer’s manager. Juanes has come under fire from some Cuban-Americans in Miami who contend that the Sept. 20 concert planned for the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana endorses the Communist-led government of Fidel and Raúl Castro.

In a police report dated Aug. 15, Juanes said that someone sent him a message on Twitter, which said, among other things, “I hate what you are saying but you will die for defending your right to say it.” Maecha also told Key Biscayne Police that he had “experienced hostility” from some co-workers regarding the show and had even been labeled a “communist.” The report said Juanes considered canceling the concert and cited “fears for his safety as well as his family.”

Police have said they are taking the threats seriously and are keeping a watch on both Juanes and Maecha’s homes. Both live in Key Biscayne, an exclusive island enclave southeast of Miami’s downtown.

Maecha said that “there is absolutely nothing political about this show, and like Pope John Paul II who held a service of peace for millions of Cubans … years ago, Juanes’ mission is to do the same, but through his music,” Maecha said. Event promoters insist the Havana concert will have no ideological overtones, even if it is being staged in Havana’s Revolution Plaza — with its famed homage to fallen revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the side of a building roughly half a dozen stories tall. Among the other acts scheduled to perform are Cuban folk legend Silvio Rodriguez and Cuban salsa stars Los Van Van. The Grammy-winning Juanes is known for his social activism. His first “Peace Without Borders” concert in March 2008 drew tens of thousands to the border between Venezuela and Colombia when tensions were high over a Colombian commando raid into neighboring Ecuador that killed a leading rebel commander.

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