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| 9/21/2009 12:00:00 AM

In Castro Country, Giving a Concert for Peace

Cuban Exiles Decry Event, but Leading Latin Music Acts Perform Before Hundreds of Thousands in Havana--The Washington Post

In Castro Country, Giving a Concert for Peace In Castro Country, Giving a Concert for Peace
Rock-and-roll diplomacy came to the communist isle on a smoldering afternoon, as hundreds of thousands of Cubans filled the Plaza of the Revolution on Sunday and sang along to a dozen international musical acts led by the Colombian singer and peace activist Juanes.

The free "Peace without Borders" concert was criticized by hard-line Cuban exiles in Miami as a propaganda coup for the Castro brothers, and that it might have been. But for thousands of young Cubans, it was a rare treat to hear a lineup of global Latin music stars, such as Olga Tanon of Puerto Rico and Miguel Bosé of Spain.

Under the watchful gaze of a huge mural of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and beneath the socialist slogan "Always Toward Victory!" on the side of the Ministry of Interior building, there was no trouble from the mostly young crowd. Many were dressed in white, in keeping with the peaceful vibe.
 
From the stage, framed by giant posters of a white dove, musicians offered hopeful but admittedly vague appeals for change, solidarity and, of course, peace. Bosé told the crowd that "the greatest dream we can live is to dream the dream of peace." He also announced that there were more than a million people in the square, though there were no official estimates.

Tanon shouted that she brought greetings from Miami -- home of many Cuban exiles who live in opposition to the Cuban government -- and no one in the crowd booed, but instead whistled and cheered.

The United States has pursued a policy of economic embargo and diplomatic freeze against Cuba for almost 50 years, hoping to topple the government, to no avail. Despite promises by President Obama, change in the U.S.-Cuba relationship has been slow in coming.
 
Read more here.
 
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