Juanes Playing For Peace In Havana

Juanes' Cuba Concert Draws Huge Crowd In Havana

Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes'explain why.


By Juanes

As a Colombian born in 1972, I've never experienced life in a peaceful country -- not for a single day, hour or minute.

Today's world is a disaster. We have as many problems as there are people on this Earth. They say we have little time left on this planet and that the children of our children's children will barely be able to breathe.

There's so much war and indifference, so much thirst for power among a few, that we've been reduced almost to our barest expression. Peace Without Borders was born as a collective of artists who want and believe in love and peace.

There are still wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The powerful continue to subdue us and do with us what they will.

Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries in the region continue to fight their own battles against drugs, poverty, inequality, organized crime and unemployment.

But a concert in Cuba offers the possibility of extending ties between countries and fostering brotherhood through art and music.

Going to Cuba is motivated by the desire to live in peace -- just like going to the border between Colombia and Venezuela -- and to experience, if only for an instant, what that means.

For the past 50 years, Cuba has been torn between life and death, isolated and enclosed.

A performance in Cuba's Plaza de la Revolucion on World Peace Day is precisely the opposite of what some think. Being there to send a message of change and hope has nothing to do with politics or with supporting a political party. It's exclusively about people, with all of us as different nations coming together as brothers with the sole objective of planting a seed of change; a seed that can grow, but only if we all tend to it.INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE

By Olga Tanon

It started with a desire for love and generosity, with no agenda other than using a God-given gift to find a neutral point for our political and religious positions and personal agendas.

Juanes and I, like other artists, have shared the gift of our voices and music everywhere we've been invited to. Our commitment has always been with those places and people, not with the ideologies or the governments that run them. We've pledged to share our talent and never exclude any country or people that opens its arms to us. Cuba cannot be an exception.

As a professional, a woman and a mother, I can tolerate accusations and points of view different from my own. But I can't accept opinions that are full of hate and based on lies simply because we don't share that same point of view. I also cannot accept them in regard to Juanes' genuine intent to do something compassionate and loving through music.

There are fellow artists and others who insist that we break our neutral stance and assume political positions. That would go against the purpose of Peace Without Borders.

Both Juanes and I have had media outlets threaten to stop playing our music simply because we want to participate in this day to promote peace, love and understanding among nations. Those same outlets have stayed silent while people burn our albums and threaten our professional and personal security.

I realize Cuba's political history is delicate and complex, full of different points of view. For this reason, I've been very respectful of these issues, and I've never been involved with them.

On September 20, God willing and with much sacrifice, we'll make this goal a reality. Only time will judge our contribution to this historical situation. I have faith in music's ability to weave the souls of humankind, and we, the artists, are merely the instruments.