Art & Culture Miami News

Norah Jones' Havana concert cancelled due to controversy. Would American fans unwittingly have been funding the Cuban military?

Norah Jones' upcoming Havana concerts cancelled as unwitting American fans may have been unknowingly contributing funds to a Cuban military-owned hotel

In a harmonious blend of cultural exchange and controversy, Grammy-award singer-songwriter Norah Jones was set to enchant Havana with two exclusive concerts, but there's a discordant note in the melody. Unbeknownst to American fans, their dollars might have been marching to the beat of a Cuban military-owned drum.

The Norah Jones concert cancellation

Two planned concerts featuring singer-songwriter Norah Jones in Cuba, with tickets potentially costing up to $8,000 for American attendees, seem to have been canceled. This decision comes in the wake of a Miami Herald report that revealed the Havana hotel offered by the U.S. company organizing the trip is owned by the Cuban military.

After the Miami Herald's report on these concert trips organized by Dreamcatcher Events LLC for February next year, the New York-based company took down its booking website and removed all references to the performances from its social media accounts. Additionally, Norah Jones' video and statement announcing the trip were also removed from the artist's official website and social media channels.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the trip and concerts have been officially canceled, as there has been no response from Norah Jones' manager, John Silva, or Dreamcatcher Events to emails seeking clarification. The Miami Herald also received no response when attempting to contact a phone number associated with Dreamcatcher Events.

This development highlights the challenges and uncertainties surrounding the planned concerts in Cuba, which have raised concerns due to the hotel's military ownership.

Uncovering the Cuban military connection

American enthusiasts who might have been eager to partake in the "once-in-a-lifetime event" might be surprised to discover that a portion of their $8,000 investment in the exclusive trip would have been funneled directly to a Cuban military company blacklisted by the U.S. State Department.

As the controversy deepens, it's essential to understand the implications. Gaviota, the largest military-owned hotel chain in Cuba, controls over 100 hotels across the country, including the Hotel Grand Aston in Havana. While the State Department's sanctions list includes many such entities, the Hotel Grand Aston oddly remains unmentioned.

The lack of transparency raises eyebrows, leaving attendees in the dark about their unwitting support for a sanctioned entity. Despite the potential ethical concerns, the legal intricacies provide a legal loophole, allowing Americans to book stays without violating sanctions explicitly.

Legal quandaries and controversies

As the controversy swirls around Jones' Havana concerts, legal intricacies come into play. Despite sanctions against Gaviota, the military-owned hotel chain, the Hotel Grand Aston isn't explicitly listed. This legal loophole allows Americans to book stays without violating sanctions, raising questions about the transparency of the travel itinerary.

Norah Jones' manager remains tight-lipped, and activists criticize the Havana trip, labeling it as potential tourism in disguise. The lack of clear guidance on what constitutes legal travel to Cuba adds fuel to the fire, echoing previous legal battles involving U.S. cruise lines.

Moreover, the announcement that Jones would have been traveling to Havana has stirred discontent among activists, Cuban independent journalists, and exiles. They argue that the trip is a veiled form of tourism, as Americans traveling to Cuba cannot engage in tourism, which is prohibited by law.

The original report was done by the Miami Herald.

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