Rubén Blades -inglés

Porciones del artículo en The New York Times por Larry Rohter del 27 de noviembre, 2009

Rubén Blades has a very specific reason for calling his current tour “Todos Vuelven,” or “Everybody Returns.” After suspending his music and film career for five years to serve as a cabinet minister in Panama, his homeland, Mr. Blades is back, on the road and with a new album, testing the waters and trying to figure out whether the entertainment business still has a place for him.

“Yes, I’m back in it, but with discrimination and focus,” Mr. Blades said this week over lunch at a Cuban-Chinese restaurant on the Upper West Side that he has frequented since the mid-1970s, when he experienced his first success as a salsa star with “Pablo Pueblo,” “Pedro Navaja” and other socially conscious songs. “The world changed while I was away, and the idea now is to see how to fit in.”

From 2004 until this summer, Mr. Blades, who is also a lawyer with degrees from the University of Panama and Harvard, was Panama’s minister of tourism. According to government statistics, tourism generates more income for the country than does the Panama Canal, so that portfolio is an important one, and after years of criticizing those in power, Mr. Blades was eager to put his principles to the test.

“It’s not that easy to explain why I like doing so many things that seem disconnected,” he said. “But when I started writing about social issues in music and started having success with that, I felt that there was a contradiction arising from making a living out of writing about social injustice. In my mind, the only way to end that contradiction was through politics. It’s really about changing the conditions I am denouncing in my songs, and that can only be done through political work.”

Though many of the songs on Mr. Blades’s new CD are pessimistic in tone, with their focus on the twin vices of corruption and violence, he said that he came out of government service feeling hopeful about prospects for change.

“Look how things have changed,” he said enthusiastically. “So yes, I’m very optimistic. Usually when you work in government, the stories you hear are of disillusionment. But as a matter of fact, I came out of government not just thinking it can work but knowing that it can. It may sound pompous, arrogant even, but it’s nice to be able to do something for reasons other than your own personal gratification.”