Cuba's Finest Banned

Nestor Proveyer, a vice president at Cuba's Egrem, will be canceling his reservations. "We were definitely planning to attend," said Proveyer in a recent phone interview from Havana. "There was no question." He and his colleagues at the label started selecting bands to perform at the gathering as long ago as last year. Proveyer says he'll still be happy to attend if Egrem is invited at the last minute. "This is such an archaic discourse," he says with a sigh. "This event is about music, not politics. Unfortunately MIDEM has allowed itself to be pressured by Dade County, and they've politicized the event."

In any case, he's confident Egrem's absence won't do much damage to the booming Cuban music industry: "There are some things that are so strong they can't be ignored. People there will be talking about Cuban music. The music will be there anyway." Proveyer insists that recent articles in Billboard and Spain's El Pais newspaper about the controversy haven't bothered him either. Just the opposite. "This is good publicity for us," he says cheerfully. "Our sales have gone up lately because of this whole thing.

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