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  • Submitted by: lena campos
  • 09 / 24 / 2013

Robertico Carcasses, a Cuban musician who criticized the government at a nationally televised concert earlier this month, was back on stage at a Silvio Rodríguez show in this capital.

Rodríguez, who came to Carcasses' defense amid the controversy, included the 41-year-old pianist and leader of the jazz-fusion band Interactivo in his line-up of artists Friday at an open-air concert in the Havana neighborhood of Santiago de las Vegas.

Without making any mention of the controversy swirling around Carcasses, Rodríguez presented his fellow musician as a "talent" and recalled that they worked together recently on an album.

During Friday's show, Carcasses provided piano accompaniment for Rodríguez on his song "Segunda Cita" and also performed two other instrumental numbers with other musicians.

Carcasses did not make any remarks to the crowd of 300 people, but he told foreign correspondents afterward that he hoped he had put the controversy behind him.

During a Sept. 12 official concert in Havana that was broadcast live on national television, Carcasses sang a song calling for free access to information and the election of the president by direct popular vote.

The jazz fusion artist said Monday he had been barred indefinitely from performing at future state-run events because of his comments during the concert, which had been organized to demand the release of Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the United States.

But authorities on the Communist-ruled island later reconsidered and lifted the sanction.

The 66-year-old Rodríguez, Cuba's best-known folk singer, came to Carcasses' defense on Tuesday.

He said his fellow musician had committed a "regrettable error" in pressing his demands at an event organized to call for the release of agents "who have sacrificed their lives for the security of the people."

However, as a Cuban citizen, Carcasses "has the right to express what he thinks in his country," Rodríguez added.

Considered heroes in Cuba, the four agents were arrested in 1998 and convicted of espionage in 2001, receiving sentences ranging from 15 years to life in prison.

While a fifth agent who was also arrested and convicted of the same crime has since been paroled and allowed to return to Cuba, the other four spies remain in prison.

The Cuban Five insisted they were spying on Miami's Cuban exile community, not the U.S. government.

Cuba says the men were sent to Florida in the wake of several terror bombings in Havana allegedly masterminded by anti-Castro militant Luís Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative.


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