Havana’s Trillo Park, in the heart of the Cayo Hueso neighborhood, hosted a concert this Tuesday night in tribute to the musicians Chano Pozo and Juan Formell, as part of the 38th edition of the Jazz Plaza Festival.
There would be nothing special about the event, if it weren’t for the fact that it was heavily monitored by police officers and agents from the Ministry of the Interior and because it was organized by none other than Andrés Levín, one of the owners of the intriguing Tribe Caribe hotelwith its outrageous prices in the heart of a humble neighborhood of Centro Habana.
Inaugurated last December with a street party, the establishment, about which all kinds of rumors run, including the intervention of Mariela Castro, daughter of former president Raúl Castro, does not show any movement of tourists, although its website has reservations open. The restaurant, on the ground floor, has the windows covered with boards that do not allow one to look inside.
“Yes, there are always boys from the neighborhood who take turns at the door,” a neighbor told this newspaper, who has also seen activity by cleaning workers in the rooms.
Last week, through its networks, Tribe Caribe announced the event Mass for Chano Pozo and Juan Formellas part of the Jazz Plaza Festival, which is held in the capital until January 28. In his words, “a jazz concert in honor of two artists born right here, in the neighborhood of Key West”, which included the participation of Los Van Van, Alain Pérez, Pedrito Martínez, Alexander Abreu, Cucurucho Valdés and others ” special guests”.
Andrés Levín himself, a music producer born in Venezuela and with a US passport, known in Cuba for participating in different official cultural projects, as well as for his marriage to the Cuban-American singer Cucú Diamantes, took the stage this Tuesday.
“Although he is not Cuban, he feels like many Cubans, and he is here to do for Cuban culture, for Cuban music,” said Mario Pijuán, an actor from Live the story, who was in charge of presenting it. Levin responded that Key West is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in which he has lived “and that’s why I moved here.”
Those present at the concert, almost all residents of the neighborhood and the occasional foreigner, filled the park.
All around, they set up 12 tents to sell food and drinks –six private on San Miguel street and another six state-owned in Aramburu–, at prices unaffordable for the average Cuban: bottles of drink at 1,600 and 1,700 pesos, Cristal beer at 220, complete of food up to 455 pesos.
While the public was warming up with alcohol, icons of Cuban culture born in Key West were passing through the giant screen of the stage, such as Moraima Secada, Juan Formell, Elena Burke, Los Zafiros, Omara Portuondo, César Portillo de la Luz or Yomil , in addition to the now deceased City Historian Eusebio Leal. Everything, filmed by professional television cameras and accredited photographers.
The next morning, after beginning to dismantle the stage, Trillo Park has once again become the center of the black market in Key West, the space where residents of the neighborhood pause between two lines to buy food, and the meeting point of the young people who, in their conversations, plan how they will leave the Island.
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