A concert, a coup and Brazil's bid for the Olympics

Juanes, the Colombian rocker, held a concert for peace in Cuba. The ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, is now holed up in the Brazilian embassy basically a hostage in his own country after he was ousted in a coup. And the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said his country needs the 2016 Olympics more than any other country.

These are just some of the interesting headlines coming out of Latin America in the past week.
By some estimates more than one million people turned up in Revolution Plaza to hear Juanes' "Peace Without Borders" concert Sunday. Some say it was the biggest gathering in Cuba since Pope John Paul II visited the island in 1998.

Is Juanes following in the footsteps of rockers like Bono using his celebrity platform to engage in political activism?

Well not quite. Juanes isn't calling for greater freedom in Cuba and in fact most conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans still support a blockade of Cuba.

In fact, Juanes received death threats on his Twitter account for organizing the concert.
His message wasn't overtly political in any way.

"For me, to see more than a million people experiencing happiness, love and peace is incredibly powerful, because what happens in politics is people become divided," Juanes told AP Television News. "With music we are all the same ... music is for everybody."

I don't know that this concert will change anything in the political landscape in Cuba. But from this video it sure looked like it was a lot of fun.

Meanwhile in Honduras, former President Manuel Zelaya sneaked back into his country Monday after being deposed in late June. This caused the interim government to impose a curfew and life is tense on the streets of that country's capital of Tegucigalpa. Police threw tear gas at Zelaya supporters Wednesday morning.

The current Honduran government says Brazil is violating international law.
But Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin warned,"If something happens to Zelaya or our embassy it would be a violation of international law." Under international law people cannot be arrested inside diplomatic missions.

It's a tense standoff and who knows how it will end.

Finally, Brazil is making its case for hosting the 2016 Olympics and this country may pose the biggest threat to Chicago winning the bid to host the games.

"For others it would be just another Olympics, but for Brazil it would be something to raise the self-esteem of the people," President da Silva was quoted in an Associated Press story. "No other city needs to host an Olympics. Brazil needs it."

Brazil has many favelas or slums that are rife with poverty and this raises concerns about crime during the Olympics. But da Silva defended his country.

"Do only rich countries have the right to host the Olympics?" he asked.

If Chicago doesn't win, then I hope the Olympics will be in Brazil. It would be the first country in South America to host an Olympics.

We will soon find out.

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