Ibrahim Ferrer, with the CD “Buenos Hermanos,” and Manuel Galbán and Ry Cooder, with “Mambo Sinuendo,” have both won 2004 Grammys in the Traditional Tropical Music and Instrumental Pop categories, respectively.

However, neither Ferrer or Galbán were able to attend the ceremonies in Los Angeles, having been denied visas by the U.S. government, thus becoming – as was widely reflected in the written press and television – “notable by their absence.” Just a few days ago, the Cuban Music Institute issued a press release related to Washington’s decision to penalize Cuban artists at the 2004 Grammys.

“Once again the U.S. government has denied visas to an outstanding delegation representing Cuban music that would have been present at the award ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 8,” the Cuban statement said.

The statement notes that this is not a repeat of what happened with the Latin Grammys in Miami. “On this occasion, the Grammy Academy duly sent our institutions the invitations required by the U.S. government as part of established procedures for entering that country. Immediately, all the necessary documents were presented at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.”

The Cuban Music Institute affirms that “even more outrageous is the fact that they denied visas to the whole of the Cuban delegation using Section 212(f) of U.S. migratory legislation which, as is well-known, is applied by this country to terrorists, assassins, drug traffickers, and any person constituting a threat to U.S. national security.”

The statement goes on to point out that “both inside and outside Cuba, the ethical, moral and human values of outstanding guitarist Manuel Galbán, Eugenio Rodríguez Rodríguez, director of the “Ignacio Piñeiro” National Septet, our great lute player Barbarito Torres, excellent percussionist Amadito Valdés, and those jewels of Cuban music Ibrahim Ferrer and Guillermo Rubalcaba, are well known.”

The statement concludes by saying: “We would like to say to the U.S. public that we are deeply regret that you will be unable to see these honorable exponents of Cuban music. We are sure that the day will come when there are no blockades, manipulations or threats and we will be able to enjoy in peace the music produced by both peoples.”

There is no better way to support these words than the title of Ibrahim Ferrer’s own CD: Buenos Hermanos. There is always a just proverb that fits the occasion: “No one can extinguish that which shines with its own light.”