The Washington Times - March 9, 2008, 09:45PM
\ Juanes Preaches Peace on U.S. Tour; free concert on Colombia/Venezuela border\ \ \ By Sigal Ratner-Arias\ ASSOCIATED PRESS\ \ \ NEW YORK — Juanes kicked off the U.S. leg of his world tour at Madison Square Garden, bringing a message of peace and a giddy enthusiasm to be performing in “the temple of music.”\ \ \ He opened Thursday night with his hit “A Dios le pido,” and kept the public on its feet with more than 20 songs, including “Mala gente,” “Fotografia,” “Volverte a ver” and the megahit “La camisa negra.”\ \ \ The Colombia star showed his activist colors, preaching peace between his homeland and its neighbors amid a diplomatic crisis over a deadly Colombian cross-border raid into Ecuador last week that killed a senior Colombian rebel and 24 others.\ \ \ “This night as a Colombian, I want to extend my right hand and embrace all my Ecuadorean brothers, I want to extend my left hand and embrace all my Venezuelan brothers,” Juanes said. “Only we can come together under a single flag, the flag of peace.”\ \ \ A hush fell over the stadium as Juanes led a tribute to land-mine victims, singing “Minas piedras” while two giant screens carried images of the victims of anti-personnel mines by photojournalist Gervasio Sanchez.\ \ \ Leading a band of seven, guitar in hand, Juanes briefly lost his way while singing “Mentira” — but the crowd was forgiving.\ \ \ “I forgot the lyrics and it’s my turn to improvise,” Juanes confessed to wave of applause.\ \ \ For an encore, Juanes played a rousing rendition of Colombian Joe Arroyo’s “La rebelion.”\ \ \ Juanes is planning a free concert at the Colombian-Venezuela border to foster peaceful resolution of the crisis embroiling both nations and Ecuador, his public relations firm said Friday.\ \ \ The concert is to take place at the border between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuelan city of San Antonio de Tachira within the next three weeks, firm Rogers & Cowan announced in a statement released in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where the presidents of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador met Friday to try to resolve their differences.\ \ \ Juanes will ask musicians from Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and other Latin American nations to join with concertgoers “in demanding that the region’s governments find a diplomatic solution to ease the growing military presence along area borders,” the firm said.\ \ \ The rocker has previously performed as part of the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony and to raise awareness and money for an anti-landmine foundation in Colombia.
— Andrea Billups, The Washington Times SEE RELATED: