Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"It's Time for Change"

After the Peace without Borders concert in Cuba, Olga Tañon was back in Miami the next day and made a television appearance on Maria Elvira Live!, MegaTVs popular Spanish-language political talk show program (Tañon also appeared on another MegaTV program).

The picture above shows an emotional Maria Elvira after handing Olga Tañon a bouquet of flowers and thanking her for Sunday's performance [video]. Maria Elvira is immediately overwhelmed by emotions, crying and thanking Tañon "because you mentioned Miami, because you mentioned el exilio." She also gave thanks on behalf of her mother, a Cuban exile.

For weeks Maria Elvira Live! has produced an endless amount of programming analyzing the Peace without Borders concert. It was typical to see on her show some of the most hard-line figures in Miami opposed to the concert, but at some point Maria Elvira herself began seeing beyond the rhetoric, and saw hope. Hope that Cubans (exiled or not) would enjoy a wonderful concert, and maybe decide that it was time for change.

Time will tell what change brings.

Another very interesting thing also happened last night. Maria Elvira again interviewed Miguel Saavedra, leader of Vigilia Mambisa who organized a protest in Miami on Sunday, where they destroyed music CDs by participants of the Peace without Borders concert.

Saavedra was on the defensive [video]. He mentioned that it was not time for Cuban exiles to change, that they need to stay militant, and it is the others ("the leftists") that need to change. Saavedra even believed that the Peace without Borders was nothing special because hundreds of thousands of Cubans would have gone to any other concert held in Cuba. According to Saavedra, Cubans have "nothing else to do" and would pack a concert festival because "its the new thing."

Saavedra is revealing his great ignorance here. There was another large music concert not long ago in Cuba in 2005 by the rock band Audioslave. That concert was described as "historic" gathering about 50-60 thousand young Cubans, but if we go by Saavedra's logic, then that concert should have gathered a similar number of concert-goers as Sunday's concert because Cubans have "nothing else to do" and "its the new thing." I personally believe Saavedra revealed his utter contempt for the people of Cuba.

Anway, despite Saavedra being constantly on the defensive (taking many opportunities to describe Maria Elvira as a communist, or a friend of communists), near the end of the interview Saavedra actually proposes the idea of changing the tactics of Vigilia Mambisa! He says that instead of smashing CDs, they should maybe consider aerial banners. Maria Elvira loved the idea. And, I give her a lot of credit for trying to explain to Saavedra how his protests continue to give the Cuban exile community a very bad image in the media.

But, I'm sure Saavedra knows that he needs to change his tactics, especially becuase of recent pressures, such as last month's Bendixen/Cuba Study Group poll [PDF] showing 74% of Cuban-Americans disapproving of Vigilia Mambisa smashing CDs, disapproval (but not condemnation) from leaders within the Cuban exile community, and Sunday's counter-protest from young Cubans at the Versailles Restaurant.

Also, Saavedra most likely knows how poorly Miami has viewed his recent protests. Here's a good video (in Spanish) showing random interviews with Cubans in Miami (two male adults, two female adults, one young woman) all showing their satisfaction with Sunday's Peace concert, one saying that it "shut up" those who opposed the concert, and two saying that those who smashed CD's (Vigilia Mambisa) might be (to put it nicely) a few card short of a full deck.

Now, the big question is: can Maria Elvira get Armando Perez Roura to change?

1 comment:

leoasi said...

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