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Havana expects huge crowds for peace concert

Over half a million people are expected to gather in Havana on Sunday for a controversial concert that Colombian star Juanes promises will be "historic" but has prompted furor in Miami's exile community.

world Updated: Sep 20, 2009 18:39 IST

Over half a million people are expected to gather in Havana on Sunday for a controversial concert that Colombian star Juanes promises will be "historic" but has prompted furor in Miami's exile community.

Tensions surrounding the "Peace without Borders" concert at Havana's Revolution Square even led to a death threat for Juanes, but ahead of the event the singer remained undeterred in dreaming the event could usher in a message of unity.

"We are excited to connect with the audience in Cuba -- saying that we are here, that they are not alone, and that we hope over time things can change and the Cuban family can be one," the 37-year-old Grammy winner said Saturday.

"What better language than music... for that wake-up call," said Juanes, who now lives in Miami, home of hardline Cuban exiles who have vocally opposed the show.

In a move that has raised the ire of the exile community, due to suggestions the show is appeasing the island's communist regime, Juanes maintains that the event -- in the famous plaza that held countless rallies for former Cuban leader and revolutionary Fidel Castro -- "has nothing to do" with politics.

The show is the second event under the "Paz sin Fronteras" banner, after a 2008 Juanes show promoting peace on the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

The concert, headlined by Juanes -- most famous for his hit song "La Camisa Negra" -- will also feature some of Latin America's brightest music stars, including Olga Tanon, Danny Rivera, Silvio Rodriguez and the Orishas.