Freedom of expression is an inalienable right for all individuals in all countries, at all times especially in matters of civic and political expression.
There is a public debate underway concerning a concert to be held in Cuba on September 20, 2009 organized by the Colombian musician Juanes as the latest in a series of concerts around the world with the theme peace without borders.
Although the concert is described as apolitical and directed at the Cuban people there are concerns that it will be politicized by the Cuban dictatorship.
Both Juanes and his critics have a right to exercise their freedom of expression.
Nevertheless, individuals have crossed that line and demonstrated their contempt for fundamental human rights. Two clear examples first on August 14th on 35th Ave. and SW 8th Street where a black shirt representing Juanes was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire by a demonstrator who stated to the press: “This is what we are going to do with him burn him for being a communist, a traitor, a terrorist, and for licking Fidel Castro’s boots.” Secondly, A day later on Twitter Juanes received the following message: "I hate what you are saying but you will die for defending your right to say it."
These are not examples of free speech but verbal assaults: the threat to carry out physical harm against an individual. This is intolerable in a free society.
This is the kind of language used by Cuban government agents to intimidate members of the opposition in Cuba and reflects a country that today has 21 imprisoned journalists recognized by the Committee to Protect Journalists and 58 activists recognized by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience rotting in prisons; where a man cries out in front of a camera that he is hungry and is sentenced to two years in prison. These are the kind of threats that are all too common in Cuba.
They are unacceptable in a free society.
Whether one supports, does not hold an opinion, or is against the concert Juanes is organizing in Cuba we can all agree on one thing.
In the name of liberty we repudiate these and all death threats that seek to intimidate and stifle the exercise of fundamental human rights such as the freedom of expression and call for the perpetrators of such crimes to be brought to justice.
The Denounce Death Threats Against Juanes petition to Public Opinion and Community Leaders was written by Free Cuba Foundation and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.