Juanes Concert with U.S. Military Forces in Conflictive Colombian Port

By Dialogo
June 09, 2009

Mientras, el embajador estadounidense William Brownfield propuso crear una entidad para coordinar la ayuda a esas personas y sus familias. Tumaco, June 8, 2009 (AFP) - Colombian singer Juanes gave a concert on Sunday with a US military band in the sendoff of a navy hospital ship of that country in the conflictive port of Tumaco on the Pacific coast. Juanes and “Banda del Comfort " (Comfort’s Band) performed at a school in the second port in the Colombian Pacific, where until June 14, will be held humanitarian mission, in which 650 health professionals, mostly from the U.S. armed forces, will examine and treat about 10,000 patients. The artist, a standard-bearer of cause against antipersonnel mines in his country, described the concert as a "rare experiment" because on that Sunday, he met new musicians , and he was pleased with the performance of his hits "La Camisa Negra" and " Me Enamora." "That sounded good, guys!" said the rocker, who sang four other songs in his repertoire for dozens of patients and other inhabitants of Tumaco (1,200 km southwest of Bogotá), who were visiting for the first time. "It was an honor to perform with Juanes; he is a very famous artist and a remarkable person who does great work for the poor," Sergeant Guy Cantonwine, who played, bass told AFP. The show marked the beginning of the mission of Comfort, a huge hospital ship that was previously in Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. After visiting Colombia, it continued to Nicaragua and El Salvador. On the boat, one of two in the United States Navy, sail about 920 people , including 200 crew members, 70 civilian sailors and medical equipment. Several patients are scheduled to undergo complex operations aboard the boat, three miles off the coast. Civilian personnel from Spain, Holland, Chile, Brazil, Canada and France is also part of the mission. Juanes, a special guest of the United States Embassy in Bogotá, thanked for including Tumaco in the Continuous Promise mission, because it is an area where violence converge in Colombia, he said to AFP. "It's wonderful to see people in need getting help," said the singer, expressing his concern about the increasing violence in Tumaco and about the way mines are affecting more and more people in the department of Nariño, where the port is. The composer met with six mines’ victims. According to the Colombian government, mines have killed or wounded around 7,500 people since 1990, reason for which Juanes pledged to work for them through his foundation "Mi Sangre"("My Blood"). Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador William Brownfield has proposed to establish an organization to coordinate assistance to these individuals and their families. Brownfield announced that his country would focus its efforts toward cooperation with Colombia in Tumaco in the coming years, because he believed the region “concentrates many threats” such as armed conflict, drug trafficking – it is one of the major drug-delivery centers - forced displacement, and poverty. "It’s a reality on which we must concentrate our efforts in many ways," said the ambassador, whose country gave Bogotá about 5,500 million dollars in military aid since 2000 under Plan Colombia.