Calle 13 Draws Criticism From Emilio Estefan Over Cuba Concert

AP Photo/Javier Galeano

Calle 13 gave a free concert in Cuba yesterday that attracted tens of thousands of fans from all over the island to the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Plaza in the capital city of Havana. Assuring the fans that he was there to talk about “sex, religion and politics,” the provocative leader of the band, Residente (aka René Pérez) went on to speak out against US policy towards the island nation.

They also played their controversial song "Querido FBI," dedicated to the memory of Filiberto Ojeda Rios. Ojeda Rios was a prominent Puerto Rican figure and the leader of the Macheteros—a radical pro-independence group accused of masterminding a huge heist in Connecticut and using the money to bankroll various actions against the United States government. Ojeda Rios was murdered by the FBI in a shoot-out that occurred in 2005. The FBI refused Ojeda Rios medical attention and as a result, he bled to death on the floor of his home in Puerto Rico.

Although Residente said the fans were mainly there for the music, the band acknowledged the underlying political tensions and the fact that they would likely catch a lot of flack from anti-Cuba dissidents in Miami—and he was right, it was not long before Emilio Estefan spoke out against the concert. In a recently released statement, Estefan said, “Residente is a seemingly intelligent man, and I hope he uses it to realize that he is forming ties with an island in which we have received photographs that prove that they are mistreating women.” The Emmy-winning music producer was referring to the violent suppression of Las Damas de Blanco movement, which is a group of Cuban mother, wives and children who are protesting for the release of political prisoners in the country. Emilio's wife, Gloria Estefan, recently announced a solidarity march in Miami in support of Las Damas de Blanco.

So tell us: What do you think about Calle 13 performing in Cuba? Do you think they deserve the heat they are catching?


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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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