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  • Silvio Rodríguez

    Silvio Rodríguez | Photo: EFE

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Rodriguez formed part of Latin America’s socially conscious Nueva Trova songwriting movement of the 1960s.

About 10,000 people gathered in Puerto Rico's Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum Saturday to welcome back Cuban folk singer and songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, who dedicated a song to Ana Belen Montes, sentenced by a U.S. court to 25 years in prison in 2004, accused of conspiracy to commit espionage for the government of Cuba.

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The singer dedicated his "Song of the Chosen One" to the leading figures of the Puerto Rican independence movement including Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Lolita Lebron, Filiberto Ojeda Rios and Oscar Lopez Rivera, citing the line, "This is not a story of a common man but of a human being from another world."

Rodriguez was actually able to meet with and hug Lopez Rivera on Friday in a historic visit after receiving permission to do so as the political prisoner serves out his 35-year U.S. sentence in San Juan under house arrest. Lopez Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner from Latin America in the U.S.

Rodriguez was accompanied on stage by Jorge Aragon (piano), Jorge Reyes (double bass), Oliver Valdes (drums), Emilio Vega (vibraphone and drums) and Trio Trovarroco, with musicians Rachid Lopez, Maykel Elizarde and Cesar Bacaro, as well as the only woman on stage, flutist Niurka Gonzalez.

The prolific musician, who has released more than 20 albums, has always supported Fidel and the Cuban Revolution and he recently condemned the blockade imposed by the United States.

Rodriguez was one of the guests of the Cuban government at the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. in July 2015, the day of the formal reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

In 2010, the 68-year-old played his first concert in the U.S. since 1980, to a rapturous reception.

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