Fat Men in White For Peace

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Less than two weeks after the heads of states of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela met in the Dominican Republic to ease tensions between their countries, some of Latin America’s biggest pop stars, usually a-political, put their popularity to use to spread the word about peace. With a huge banner that read “Paz Sin Fronteras” on the stage that was mounted top of the Simon Bolivar bridge that sits on the border between Venezuela and Colombia, more than 100,000 people attended the historic concert Paz Sin Fronteras, singing along to every song by Alejandro “oink oink” Sanz, Miguel “I’ve also gained a lot of weight” BoséJuanes “El Host”, Carlos “I still like to cut the sleeves off my shirts” Vives, Ricardo “OG” Montaner, Juan Fernando “Not that famous” Velasco and Juan Luis “El Maestro” Guerra. All performers dressed in white, went on stage several times to sing each other’s songs, and yes, even though it felt like an old boys’ club the message was right on point.

Earlier this month, Colombia’s military raided on Ecuadorian soil and killed FARC’s second in command, with both Ecuador’s Correa and Venezuela’s Chavez sending troops to their borders with Colombia, and escalating tension in the region. But forget about Live Aid, Live Earth, the possible ALAS concert and all those PR-hungry machines. On Sunday, Juanes made history by calling a few of his friends for a simple, but very symbolic idea: put on a free concert pro-peace, right in the middle of the conflict and the people: right on la frontera in the Cúcuta region of Colombia.

Juanes took a break from his massive Ford and Sprint-sponsored World Tour to put his words into actions and he seemed happier and more an ease than at any Grammy or Nobel Award ceremony you’ve ever seen him before. This is where he belongs (we couldn’t help but laugh at his odd choice of tucking his white pants inside his military-style boots or when he read some of the lyrics to other singers’ songs from his blackberry.) Miguel Bose had the best quote of the day by saying “Este es un tio que tiene dos cojones, que viva la madre que lo parió! Juanes!” He was also the most entertaining one, shaking his hips Ricky Martin-style during “Corazon Partio” and singing and dancing through other people’s sets. Nadie como Papito (and where was Ricky btw?.)

It’s a shame there were no young performers, no urban representation or no women either (Shakira sent an apology because she couldn’t make it, but there’s no one else around?) Also, we were lucky our parents called us to say they were broadcasting the concert via Caracol TV on Direct TV, but others had to watch it online on Yahoo, or didn’t even realize this was going on (yup, again, other people’s parents knew about this more than their kids, which shows who the performers were catering to.) Shame on US Latin Media for not altering their programming to broadcast this unprecedented moment. And no, there was no Chavez and no Uribe around (Juanes’ camp asked the presidents to stay out of the event because it was not a “political act.” ) Y mejor asi, que se repita.

Here are some of our favorite moments:

Carlos Vives: “La Hamaca Grande”

Juanes sings “La Tierra.”

Juan Luis Guerra sings an acoustic version of “Burbujas de Amor”

Todos los boys cantan “Corazon partio” de Alejandro Sanz…awkward! All for peace!

“Ojala que Llueva Cafe” can never do no wrong…aunque bieeeeen desafinao!

…and my personal favorite: Ricardo Montaner’s “En la cima del cielo”