Viva Van Van, said Magda Miranda as she passed a right-wing protest outside the downtown concert and raised her fists in the air. The 350 to 400 protesters, according to a Miami Herald estimate, waved Cuban flags and placards while screaming Go to Cuba and keep giving money to the communists, traitors, whores, and other insults at the concertgoers. Some of the concertgoers smiled, shouted back at the rightists, and blasted Van Van music out of their open car windows.
The success of this concert is another reflection of the change that has taken place in South Florida in the Cuban American community. There is growing support for cultural and other exchanges with the island, more opposition to the U.S. embargo of Cuba, and greater openness to discussing the gains of the Cuban Revolution.
Los Van Van, who reside in Cuba, also played in Key West and will be back for a U.S. spring tour. When the members of the group disembarked from their plane in Miami, enthusiastic airport workers took their pictures, noted the Miami Herald.
A decade ago, when they played in Miami, 3,000 protesters yelled insults, threw eggs, batteries, and other objects at the 3,000 people who went to the event.
Mike Barry, a Cuban American who had also attended the 1999 concert, told the Miami Herald, Its not like last time, I think the community has changed a lot.
None of the Miami city officials who had actively opposed the Van Van concert in 1999 helped lead any campaign against it this time, including Thomas Regalado, Miamis mayor, who as a city commissioner in 1999 participated in the protest in front of that concert.
This time the Los Van Van band, founded in 1969 by Juan Formell, was joined on the stage by two well-known Cuban singers who now live in the United StatesIssac Delgado and Manolín. They were also joined by Formells daughter Vanessa, a singer living in Miami.
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