Protests Achieve a Change of Venue for the Pablo Milanes Concert in Havana

A crowd of people stood in front of the box office of the National Theater of Cuba, last Wednesday, in protest at the few tickets sold to the general public for the Pablo Milanés concert. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 June 2022 — The clamor of artists and admirers protesting the few tickets sold to the public for the Pablo Milanés concert, scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, has had an effect. The performance has been transferred from the National Theater of Cuba, where it was scheduled, to the Sports City Coliseum, the Cuban Institute of Music announced this Friday.

In a brief statement, the institution explains that the decision was made “with the aim of facilitating greater attendance at the concert” and details that “the institution’s authorities and Pablo Milanés’ team have taken into account the requests of those who have expressed interest in participating in the show.”

The tickets already sold, according to the Institute, “retain their validity,” and the new ones will be sold at the National Theater of Cuba, this Saturday, June 18, starting at 1:00 pm.

“In the conception and organization of the show, work has been done with seriousness and transparency,” the Institute concludes in its note. “The consideration that this is a concert for the people, who deserve to enjoy the work of a great artist, has prevailed.” The Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum has around 15,000 seats, compared to just over 2,000 at the National Theatre.

Last Wednesday, the sale of tickets for the event ended in a brawl when, just 50 minutes after opening the box office, people were told that there were no seats left.

The explanation given by the director of the theater, Nereyda López Labrada, is that only tickets for “stalls and the first balcony” had been sold to the public, and that the rest had been given to “organizations,” that is, to official groups.

The news was immediately criticized not only by those who hoped to get tickets to see the singer-songwriter, who is 79-years-old and has health problems, but by Cuban artists of all kinds, both inside and outside the island.

The TV and radio announcer Yunior Morales addressed the musician himself in a broadcast via Facebook, to suggest that if the concert “cannot be outdoors” for “all the Cuban people,” not just for a few people “from the Government,” he should cancel it.

In a post published on his networks, Carlos Varela suggested a more forceful opinion through a fragment of the Milanés song I will tread the streets again, originally composed in homage to the Chilean government of Salvador Allende defeated by Augusto Pinochet’s coup, in 1973: “The books, the songs, burned by the murderous hands, will return, my people will be reborn from their ruin and the traitors will pay for their wrongdoing.”

At a Carlos Varela concert, and also at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum in Havana, on May 29, at several times, attendees chanted the word “freedom.” At the end of his performance, the singer-songwriter shouted “Viva Cuba libre” and thanked the organizers – with Eme Alfonso at the head – of the event, whom he praised for “having the ovaries” to invite him to sing in Cuba .

The Cuban filmmaker living in Barcelona, ​​Carlos Díaz Lechuga, affectionately added: “Dear Pablo! After a tough year, going through personal problems, illnesses, today I want to tell you that I admire you more and more. Cuba is yours. You are one of the Cubans. Nothing and no one can stand against that, however much they want to. There are no games with you. You are tough. If you sing chapó… if you don’t sing chapó.” And he concluded: “This rabble they have formed will not stain your soul, which is clean.”

Pablo Milanés, who has lived in Spain for some time, was one of the artists who used to be supporters of the Revolution who spoke forcefully after the repression of the demonstrations on July 11 last year. “I believe in young people, who with the help of all Cubans, must be and will be the engine of change,” said the famous singer-songwriter on his social networks, describing the government’s use of repression as “irresponsible and absurd.” The Cuban government against the people, “who have sacrificed themselves and given everything for decades to support a regime that in the end, what it does, is imprison them.”


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