the miami herald

A day after Juanes show, emotions in Miami still mixed

Sept 22--When Fabio Diaz settled in with 15 members of his extended Cuban family to watch Colombian singer Juanes' historic concert in Havana on television Sunday, he -- and the rest of his clan -- had mixed feelings. Diaz, who is 35 and came to Miami at 19, thought the event should have been staged in an intermediary location between the island and Miami, as a bridge between the two sides. And he wanted Juanes to speak out directly about freedom in Cuba.

But as he and his family watched the show, which aired live from Havana on three Miami Spanish-language television stations -- itself an unprecedented event -- Diaz said his feelings overpowered his doubts. ``What I loved was seeing so much of the Cuban people -- and I feel completely Cuban -- all together for a celebration and not for something political,'' Diaz says.

Much of Cuban and Latino Miami witnessed that celebration via their television and computer screens. Univision's Channel 23 in Miami drew 220,000 viewers for their five-hour long broadcast, and 140,000 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico watched on the network's website. Telemundo's afternoon-long coverage on its Channel 51 in Miami drew triple their normal viewership, and more than 600,000 visits to their website which streamed the show -- more than four times the usual web traffic for that time period.

Emotions in Miami were mixed about the show, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to pack Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion on Sunday for performances by 15 artists from six countries. (Spanish singer Miguel Bosé announced from the stage that the audience was 1.15 million).

A protest by exile group which brought a small steamroller to Calle Ocho to run over Juanes' CD's, sparked a counter demonstration that led to physical clashes between the two sides.
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