Cuba, Obama y Cultura

Posted on Dec 18, 2014

President Obama’s announcement that the United States is opening up communications, trade and travel with Cuba is a great surprise.   It certainly is a welcome step in the right direction to wider access to Cuban culture for many Americans.  As a broadcaster, journalist and supporter of Cuban music for many years, this means that we will have the opportunity to enjoy more live concerts from great Cuban artists and greater access to recordings, films, art and culture.  San Francisco Bay Area residents have been treated to great Cuban music since Los Papines and Grupo Moncada visited this area back in the 1970’s.  These visits increased in the 1990’s with the visit of Pablo Menendez’s Mezcla and Irakere West featuring Chucho Valdez, Carlos Del Puerto, Carlos Emilio Morales, Enrique Pla and surprise guest Bebo Valdes.  In the mid to late 1990’s, the tireless efforts of attorney Bill Martinez  (who has secured countless visas for visiting Cuban artists) and his partner media professional Arturo Riera whose joint production group Latino Media Partners brought Los Van Van,  Jesus Alemany’s Cubanismo, NG La Banda, Maraca and others to the Bay Area.   Countless artists such as Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes to today’s hot stars Havana d’Primera have come to visit us.  Not to mention the many contributions of great Cuban musicians that reside in the Bay Area to our music scene such as Orestes Vilato, Fito Reinoso, Jesus Diaz, Carlos Caro, Tito Gonzalez and many others.   Now this news marks a new pathway to greater dialogue and exchange between the United States and Cuba.  I’m excited that I will see this change during my lifetime.  Vaya!!!