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The Guantanamera Jam: Music Brings the World Closer Together

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Cuban musicians worldwide collaborate, in spite of political differences

From the very start of his three-day visit to Cuba, Pope Francis raised the theme of reconciliation.

“Geographically, Cuba is an archipelago, facing all directions, with an extraordinary value as a ‘key’ between north and south, east and west,” the Pope said upon his arrival Saturday. “Its natural vocation is to be a point of encounter for all peoples to join in friendship, as José Martí dreamed, ‘regardless of the languages of isthmuses and the barriers of oceans.’”

He also referenced Pope St. John Paul II’s 1998 visit to the Caribbean island, when he spoke of his dream for Cuba: “‘social friendship,’ that is, that Cubans of all ideologies, all religions, all ethnic groups collaborate together to build their homeland, a better future.”

At a meeting with youth in Havan on Sunday, Pope Francis emphasized the need for solidarity in society, in spite of differences.

“Beyond all other considerations or interests, there has to be concern for that person who may be my friend, my companion, but also someone who may think differently than I do, someone with his own ideas yet just as human and just as Cuban as I am,” he said.

This is what more than 75 Cubans around the world have done in this video of “Guantanamera,” which is a sort of unofficial Cuban anthem. Technology helped the video’s producers—the movement “Playing for Change”—overcame geographical distances to blend voices and sync the rhythms of musicians in Havana, Santiago, Miami, Barcelona and Tokyo.

But the music itself helped people of different ethnicities and beliefs overcome the hard feelings that may persist between dissidents in the diaspora and Cubans still living in the Communist country. 

And maybe that’s a step in bringing Pope Francis’ dreams to reality.

 

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