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Posted on Saturday, 09.21.13

Cuban musician confirms the government has lifted its ban on his concerts
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

Cuban musician Roberto Carcassés confirmed Friday that the government
has lifted its ban on his concerts, imposed after he asked for freedom
of information and opinion and direct presidential elections during a
nationally televised presentation last week.

“The sanction has been revoked,” the 41-year-old Carcassés wrote on the
Facebook page of his fusion group, Interactivo. He made no mention of
his criticisms of the communist government other than so say that they
were prompted “primarily by love.”

“The conversations with the (Culture Ministry) authorities helped to get
to know and respect each other more in our opinions; and to understand
that dialogue is the only road for the present and the future of Cuba,”
he wrote.

Silvio Rodríguez, Cuba’s best-known singer-composer and a government
supporter on many issues, announced on Tuesday that the ministry — it
controls the vast majority of concerts — had lifted the sanction. But
Carcassés himself made no comment until Friday.

Carcassés angered the ministry when he declared that he wanted political
and other changes during a multi-artist, televised concert Sept. 12 in
front of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana organized by the
government to call for the release of four Cuban spies in U.S. jails.

A culture ministry official told him the next day that he had been
suspended from ministry-controlled events indefinitely, but Rodriguez
and other well-known musicians rushed to his defense, while others
condemned him harshly.

“I want to thank all of those who have expressed their solidarity with
me in one way or another,” Carcassés wrote, “the true friends who
immediately got in touch to offer me their unconditional support in
moments when it wasn’t very good for me.”

“To those who did not agree and said so … with respect, thanks also. I
learned a lot from the criticisms made out of love and sincerity,” the
musician added.

He later added a note on the Interactivo Web page that the Roberto
Carcassés Trio — another of his musical groups — would perform at a
previously cancelled concert Saturday night at the Café Miramar in
Havana. He did not mention another concert cancelled, on Wednesday at
the capital’s Brecht café.

Carcassés, the son of famed jazz musician Bobby Carcassés, also took
advantage of the national and international attention he has attracted
to announce that Interactivo’s next CD is almost ready and will be
titled “How pretty is love.”

Rodriguez offered measured support for Carcassés earlier this week,
saying that he would include Carcassés in his own concerts to counteract
the government suspension but also saying that his words at the concert
were clumsy and inappropriate.

“As a Cuban citizen Robertico has the right to say what he thinks,”
Rodriguez wrote. “I would have preferred that he would do this in
another concert, in a record, somewhere else, because the struggle for
the freedom of [the spies] is sacred for the Cuban people.”

Cuba claims that the five intelligence agents convicted in Miami in 2001
are “heroes” because they spied on exiles that might be planning terror
attacks on the island. Evidence at their trial showed that the three
also spied or tried to spy on U.S. military bases. One of the five
completed his sentence and returned to Cuba this year.

Source: “Cuban musician confirms the government has lifted its ban on
his concerts – Cuba – MiamiHerald.com” –
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/21/3639843/cuban-musician-confirms-the-government.html

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