Castro Attends Peace Concert in Cuba's Lennon Park

Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) shakes hands with Setsuko Ono,
the sister of Yoko Ono. Photo credit (above and below):
Reuters/Rafael Perez

Thu Nov 6, 2:13 AM ET

HAVANA (Reuters) - John and Yoko spent a week in bed to give peace a chance. Cuban leader Fidel Castro sat through a concert on Wednesday night and watched artists cover a Sherman tank with white sheets to protest wars.

The peace concert in Havana's Lennon Park drew at least 2,000 people.

Yoko's sister Setsuko Ono, a sculptor and former World Bank loans official, took to the stage to praise communist-run Cuba for contributing to peace by building an egalitarian society with free access to education and health care for all.

"The words peace, democracy and human rights are being manipulated by politicians around the world," Ono, 62, said.

A white billboard above a bronze sculpture of John Lennon sitting on a park bench proclaimed "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one," from his 1971 song Imagine.

Cuban singer-song-writer Silvio Rodriguez sang about the confusion and violence sown in the world by the Sept. 11 attacks that destroyed New York's Twin Towers.

"I have to rethink where I am, does humanity exist or not, has it been seen somewhere today," he sang to the crowd.

Castro, 77, looked tired as he listened to musicians play songs by the Beatles, whose music his government banned in the '60s and '70s.

Cuba's National Choir closed singing Imagine in English.

As the Cubans left the park, speakers blared out "Give peace a chance," the song Lennon wrote in minutes during a one-week bed-in for peace at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969 at a time of mass protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam.









                Silvio Rodriguez,
late November 5, 2003.

Flag of Cuba courtesy of Multimedia Palace

Ottawa Beatles Site