After kicking off his La vida tour Thursday night in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Juanes announced Friday that he and other artists will perform a multi-location concert in cities along the border of Colombia and Venezuela in the hopes of promoting peace in the region.
During the concert, which is planned tentatively for Mar. 18, the 35-year-old Colombian singer will ask that conflicts in the South American region be resolved peacefully. The conflict began on Saturday, Mar. 1, when guerrilla leader Raúl Reyes was killed during a military operation for Colombia in Ecuadorian territory. Reyes was a prominent figure for the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
During a press conference in New York, the singer expressed his concerns regarding the situation. “Democracy is respecting each other, accepting others’ ideas, tolerating each other. We all have to live together,” he said.
Although he only began brainstorming the the concert Friday morning, various artists have already confirmed their participation. Maná, Juan Luis Guerra, Ricardo Montaner, Carlos Vives, José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma” and Alejandro Sanz have already agreed to do the concert. At the time of the press conference, Shakira and Miguel Bosé hadn’t yet confirmed, but Juanes expressed his certainty that they would participate.
“Music is no longer just an album or a concert, it can go further than that,” the singer said, making clear that the concert is not politically driven, but rather is only about peace. “Music and art have to be above politics.”
Recognizing the power of persuasion that artists have, Juanes affirmed his hopes to demonstrate unity in the towns: “As citizens we have a very important responsibility , and it’s that we have to remain united right now…and always. We can’t allow things to get any worse…We’re going to do something so that we continue to unite against adversity.”
The concert, which might take place in border cities like Cucutá, in Colombia, and San Antonio de Tachira, in Venezuela, will be completely non-profit, although for the time being Juanes isn’t exactly sure who will finance the event, but he has faith that “the money will turn up.”
Friday morning, Presidents Álvaro Uriba of Colombia, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, shook hands at the 20th Cumbre del Grupo Río in the Dominican Republic, a symbol of the first step toward a friendly dialogue between the countries. Nonetheless, Juanes says the concert is even more important now, as it will celebrate “peace, unity and brotherhood.”