If you've been reading blogs such as Babalu and Cuban American Pundits, you know there's a ruckus about Gloria Estefan's soon to be released album, 90 Miles. The ruckus is over her invitation to Carlos Santana to appear on the album.
Santana, you may remember, appeared at the Oscars a couple of years ago wearing a T-shirt glorifying the mass murderer che guevarra. That's his photo on the right.
There was a bit of a fuss, so Santana offered the following statement (courtesy Babalu)
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.
When the ruckus over the Gloria album began, the Estefans reissued the statement, calling it an apology.
Well, I'm not so sure it is an apology. You see, the Oscar ceremony was not the first time the East LA guitar picker has spoken highly of fidel's island workers' paradise. Back in 1993, the Woodstock Generation had another love-in in New York, near the place of the 1968 fiasco. Carlos Santna played at the 1993 festival. After the event, he was among the artists interviewed by Fox Network (for whom I worked at the time). This was before the advent of the Fox News Channel, so I think the crew actually came from WNYW-TV, Channel 5 in New York City.
Santana talked about how great the festival was and how he hoped to see future celebrations of Woodstock anniversaries. Then he said something that stopped me in my tracks.
He said he'd like to see the next Woodstock celebration held in Havana. Not a free Havana, not on an island without a bearded dictator. A festival in Havana. I heard this with my own ears.
Carlos clearly has some explaining to do.