Juan De Marcos, the founder of the Buena Vista Social Club and now fronting Afro Cuban All Stars, says that the US-Cuba relationship fixed by Obama has been undone by Trump but doesn’t see Trump surviving the next election.
Speaking to Noise11.com Juan said, “Obama tried to ease the restrictions, even for the American people. The U.S. claim they are the champions of human rights but Americans never had the opportunity to visit Cuba. Obama tried to do it but right now we have a different administration and this administration with Mr. Trump is thinking in a different way.
He says there was progress under Obama. “He opened an American Embassy in Cuba and allowed a Cuban Embassy to open in Washington, DC (which is where I live),” Juan said. “Then Mr. Trump closed the American Embassy in Havana. Cubans cannot get a Visa into the USA in Cuba. They have to travel to a third country in order to get an appointment for a Visa.”
He says it has all gone downhill in the past two years. “Everything now is worse but we hope that in the future it will be okay. In a couple of years I don’t think Mr. Trump will be re-elected. In the future everything will be better”.
Buena Vista Social Club swept the global music stage in the mid 90s but Cubans music started to become more popular in the late 70s. “There was a certain space for Cuban music but no space,” Juan says. “There was a phenomena in the late 70s and early 80s. People from different countries were flooding America and performing the music they called La Salsa. America was open for Latin American people. They played for the Spanish Harlem. Cubans didn’t have the opportunity to perform in America because we were blocked. We are still blocked by the American government. Buena Vista Social Club opened the doors to Cuban music. I am very happy to be called the creator of what is called Buena Vista Social Club”.
Touring the world performing the music of his native Cuba, he says, “music has an international language. It is a language everybody can understand. The Arts opens the doors to help people understand different cultures”.
Juan will bring the music of Afro Cuban All Stars to Australia in 2019. “We were a phenomena of the Buena Vista Social Club a long time ago. Now we have a different band with younger blood which is good. For us it is a pleasure to perform in Australia”.
Juan De Marcos Afro Cuban All Stars dates
21 March, Perth, Astor Theatre
22 March, The Gov, Adelaide
24 March, Melbourne, The Palms at Crown
27 March, Canberra, Canberra
29 March, Sydney, Rooty Hill RSL
30 March, Sydney, City Recital Centre