Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When damage control does more damage...

Well the long-awaited statement from the Estefans about their collaboration with Che-idolater Carlos Santana is out. Val has posted it in his update at Babalublog. Here is a translation of the statement.

Statement

For the last 32 years of our career, our anti-Castro position has been made extremely clear to presidents, the royalty of various countries, Pope John Paul, the international press and any person who has brought up the subject of Cuba with us. Even when it would have been easier to be quiet we have expressed our discord with the dictatorship in Cuba and we have tried to communicate the pain of the Cuban people to the world.

We have never collaborated nor will we collaborate with any person that supports Fidel Castro's regime nor Che Guevara. This should be completely clear upon observing the trajectory of our actions.

Carlos Santana expressed these words through his representative after his performance at the 2005 Oscar Awards:
4/18/2005. The image was not intended to project a single note of the hatred, anger or revolutionary ruthlessness displayed when Che Guevara was a revolutionary leader in Cuba. It was worn to honor the soulful young man portrayed in the movie, who awoke to the struggle of the disenfranchised and who had a profound political epiphany during a journey across South America. The image was not meant to be an endorsement about a man who helped to establish the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.
Perhaps some people saw his performance and his wardrobe and not what he expressed afterwards with respect to the matter. Mr. Santana spoke decisively during the interviews that were conducted for the documentary that will accompany our new project "90 Millas" and he expressed his desire to perform in a free Cuba.

Gloria y Emilio Estefan
For the record here's the actual entire statement made by Santana's management on his official site.
4/18/2005, At this year's Academy Awards, Carlos Santana was invited to perform, along with Antonio Banderas, the winner of Best Original Song: "Al Otro Lado Del Dio" from The Motorcycle Diaries, a movie based on a nonfiction novel, the "Motorcycle Diaries" by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and "Traveling With Che Guevara" by Alberto Granado. For that occasion, Carlos Santana wore a shirt with a Che Guevara image from a famous graphic poster underneath his suit. The image was not intended to project a single note of the hatred, anger or revolutionary ruthlessness displayed when Che Guevara was a revolutionary leader in Cuba. It was worn to honor the soulful young man portrayed in the movie, who awoke to the struggle of the disenfranchised and who had a profound political epiphany during a journey across South America. The image was not meant to be an endorsement about a man who helped to establish the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.

Carlos Santana has always preached non-violence and spiritual awakening to promote a consciousness evolution, not revolution. The film and book portrayed Che as a person who cared about the poor and the needy. Santana Management hopes that those people who were offended by the image will understand the intention in which Carlos displayed it.
This is what I call a non-apology apology.

First of all it's a statement from Santana's management not from Santana himself and does not even include a quote from Santana.

Secondly the words "regret" or "sorry" are conspicuously absent, you see it's our interpretation of what wearing the T-shirt means that's wrong, not the wearing of the t-shirt.

Thirdly, on February 11, 2006, (almost full year after this statement was made) I had the opportunity to chat with Santana about Guevara and he was far from apologetic. When he saw my "Che's Dead" T-shirt he said, "He may be dead but he's alive in my heart."

Now as far as the Estefans go, nobody here or at Babalu has accused them of being communist or pro-Fidel but the statement that they would never collaborate with someone that is pro-Guevara is blatantly false in light of what I have just written.

The Estefans fucked up, plain and simple. When they admit that they made a mistake inviting that Che-loving marijuanero to play on Gloria's album, then I will forgive them. But until then it's all just damage control and spin.

They are losing my respect by the minute.

6 comments:

Songuacassal said...

I am now under the opinion that Santana is doing this to try to redeem himself to the Cuban-American audience. If this is the case, then it's feasable to believe that he has really stated that he wants to play in a free Cuba. But which Cuba are we talking about, mr. guevara's new-man-Cuba or a deomocratic Cuba of the Cuban people? And what does he mean by free? Is it free from an embargo, or free from this failed ideology. Or perhaps Santana is one of those hippocrites who loves mr. guevara but hates castro.

Henry Gomez said...

Songua,

I'm not sure you're getting it. I bet Val the pink slip on my 1966 Dodge that Santana would not be denouncing Guevara on any of the materials accompanying the album. George from the Real Cuba notes that Emilio was on the phone defending himself and Gloria referring to statements that Santana made about not supporting fidel and wanting a free Cuba. I think that such a lukewarm statement is not what we Cuban-American's would deem as an acceptable renunciation of his previous words and actions regarding Guevara. If he had denounced Guevara wouldn't have Estefan said that on TV today? Wouldn't it be in the press statement?

Santana is a true believer and as such should have never been invited to collaborate.

Tony said...

Henry,

please take this as honest FRIENDly advice:

I think (i know you probably dont care what i think) you need to relax about this.

Admiring Che Guevara (however evil you believe him to be) is not a crime. Admiring Hitler is not a crime. Wearing a shirt with either of their images is not a crime (even if it offensive to some) is not a crime.

IMHO Gloria Estefan can collaborate with whoever she pleases. Santana is one of the best musicians in the world. I bet any musician reading this would love the chance to jam with him.

The point I am trying to make is that there are far worse things Cuba-related to fuss about. Gloria Estefan collaborating with someone who thinks Che "isnt such a bad guy" is not one of them.

Henry Gomez said...

Tony,

As usual we just don't understand each other. Gloria is free to do whatever she wants. Just like the Dixie Chicks. They have that right. They don't have a right to be popular.

Do you see the banner at the top of this blog? It's the official blog of trenblindado.com. trenblindado.com is a web site dedicated to telling the truth about Che Guevara.

Furthermore almost all of the blogging activity here is trying to counter the popular myths about revolutionary Cuba. Myths that thanks to the MSM are way too prevalent.

When someone who you consider an ally in that fight for truth aligns themselves with someone who refuses to see the truth it's very troublesome.

We've been convinced that Gloria and Emilio are two of us. That they value what we value and that they despise what we despise (apologists for the murderous castro and his argentine disciple).

Sadly, we were wrong. She's free to collaborate with whoever she wants and I'm free to be upset about it. I'm free to denounce it. At least for now. That may not be true when the che-worshippers are in charge.

Jose Aguirre said...

Henry I think you are 100% correct on this matter. It is very disappointing to see the Estefans collaborating with Santana. You would think they don't need the money that badly. Que pena!

Songuacassal said...

Henry, dude, I get it!

Maybe my post wasn't clear. I simply wanted to indicate that it doesn't mean anything if Santana supports a free Cuba, because of his infatuation with "che" his concept of "free" and "Cuba" is probably not the same as ours!