Los Van Van Concert in Miami Beach Canceled Under Political Pressure

Founded in 1969 by bassist and composer Juan Formell, Los Van Van is perhaps one of the most recognizable music groups formed after the revolution. The group regularly tours all over the world and has even won a Grammy Award for "Best Salsa Performance" for its 2003 album Llego... Van Van.

Los Van Van Concert in Miami Beach Canceled Under Political Pressure
Life Style

But Miami has been the one city where the group has never been able to perform without eliciting controversy. As New Times' editorial archive amply attests, the large and politically powerful el exilio population in the area sees the group as a representation and extension of the Castro regime and often pressures venues and concert promoters to cancel any and all performances by Los Van Van, whose name translates from the Spanish as, essentially, the Go-Gos.

Los Van Van were scheduled to perform tonight, May 19, at the Miami Beach Bandshell. But Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez, who is Cuban-American, crowed this morning on social media that the concert was off after a conversation with the principals of the Rhythm Foundation, the group that operates the popular outdoor venue.

"For decades 'Los Van Van,' have used their musical talent to promote the Cuban tyranny and its violation of basic human rights. Sadly their ticket sales would redirect dollars out of our economy to help sustain the violation of human rights and individual liberties inside of Cuba. On behalf of the many victims of the repressive Cuban regime, I am grateful to the @Rhythm_Foundatn for taking my call, listening with empathy, and canceling this offensive concert from occurring at the Miami Beach Bandshell," Fernandez tweeted.

Reached for comment, Rhythm Foundation program director Laura Quinlan, differed with Fernandez's version of eents.

"The show was not produced by the Rhythm Foundation," Quinlan clarified. "We just manage the venue. We do not have anything to say."

New Times followed up, asking Quinlan why Fernandez attributed the cancellation to her organization requesting the name of the promoter behind the event. Quinlan did not respond.

Adding to the confusion, Los Van Van released a statement on Instagram claiming the show was canceled because of travel logistics, asking would-be concertgoers to seek refunds through the venue.