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Fidel Already Likes Rock - Reforma, 19th February 2001

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ARTICLES:2001



Title: Fidel Already Likes Rock
Publication: Reforma
Date: Monday 19th February 2001


With the presence of Cuban President Fidel Castro, the British rock band Manic Street Preachers performed at a theater in Havana, in the first concert of the musical genre on the communist island in more than two decades.

Castro was cheered on Saturday night by the audience to occupy a box seat at the Karl Marx theater to witness the Welsh group's recital.

The concert of more than an hour was marked by the content of several of the songs in which the US policy toward Cuba was criticized.

Castro stood up and applauded when the singer James Dean Bradfield acoustically performed a song titled "Baby Elián", alluding to the Cuban rafters, the center of an international dispute over their custody.

The song calls the United States "the park of the devil" and that Elián was "kidnapped to the promised land". The Manic Street Preachers are one of the most popular rock bands in Europe thanks to the success of their albums The Holy Bible and Everything Must Go.

In Havana, the group played several cuts from their latest album Know Your Enemy, whose cover is adorned by a Cuban flag.

The concert was cataloged as the most important concert in Cuba of a band of foreign rockers in a long time.

"Cuba has demonstrated its independence and is a magnificent example that not everything must be 'Americanized' in this world," Bradfield said at a pre-concert press conference.

In 1979, Billy Joel and Kris Kristofferson shared the stage with Cuban musicians.

Castro assumed power in 1959 and was initially a critic of Western popular music, saying that it exerted a negative influence on Cuban youth.

But Castro has changed his attitude lately. At the end of last year, he attended a ceremony in which he unveiled a statue in Havana of the late former Beatle John Lennon to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his death.