Country music star Tim McGraw canceled a series of concerts in Cuba, Spanish-language media reported Monday, shortly after the Trump administration’s announcement of new policies to keep Americans from engaging in tourism on the island and enriching the repressive Castro regime.
Tim McGraw’s “One of Those Havana Nights” immersive experience was scheduled to take place between May 25 and 27. Tickets ranged in price from $2,599 to nearly $5000.
Diario de Cuba, a Spanish newspaper focusing on Cuban news and commentary, reported Monday that Bonus Track, the Cuban agency responsible for the McGraw concerts, published a note on their Facebook page that the event was canceled “due to circumstances beyond the control” of event organizers. That Facebook post is no longer visible on their page at press time.
Early Monday morning, the top post on Bonus Track’s Facebook page was an advertisement for the McGraw event, which has since been deleted. The official website for Tim McGraw’s One of Those Havana Nights event is also no longer live.
A representative for Dreamcatcher Events, the organization sponsoring the event on the U.S. side, confirmed the cancelation to Breitbart News on Tuesday. When asked why, the representative said, “Tim does not feel comfortable traveling to Cuba at this time.”
McGraw has not made any public statements about the event. Breitbart News attempted to contact a media representative for McGraw but has not received a response at press time.
When the event first made headlines in December, it was billed as an unforgettable exotic experience for individuals willing to travel to Cuba and do business with Castro regime owned and operated companies – “adventure seekers welcome!” It included performances by Castro-approved Cuban artists such as Los Van Van and Carlos Varela, access to Havana’s “top museums and cultural institutions,” and “3 amazing meals at the best restaurants in Havana.”
Its website specifically thanked the Cuban Ministry of Culture – currently attempting to impose a law that would ban Cubans from performing or creating any art without a Ministry license – and insisted that the events in the tour package were “100% legitimate Cultural Exchanges” as allowed by the U.S. government.
Dreamcatcher events has advertised similar immersive Cuban experiences featuring Blondie, Ben Folds, and Rufus Wainwright in the past year, all in the Meliá Hotel, where McGraw’s was to take place.
As a communist state, Cuba does not permit private companies to exist independent of the government. Most tourism corporations, most prominently the Gaviota hotel and entertainment chain, are technically subdivisions of the Cuban military.
Latin America and foreign policy experts agree that the Cuban military is responsible for some of the most heinous human rights abuses documented under the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, in addition to violent repressive acts against dissidents on the island. A defecting Venezuelan general estimated the number of Cuban government and military agents operative in the socialist state at nearly 100,000. Venezuelans who escaped political prison in the South American country report of beatings and regular use of torture by the Cuban agents, including isolation, use of stress positions, bleeding out, rape, electroshock, and crucifixion.
For these reasons, the Trump administration announced a series of measures last week intended to prevent American individuals and companies from taking advantage of permitted cultural exchange travel to engage in tourism enriching the communist regime. President Donald Trump is the first in history to permit American citizens to exercise their legal right to sue the Cuban state for stealing their property. Fidel Castro “expropriated” an estimated $8 billion worth of American property in the immediate aftermath of the 1959 Cuban Revolution; until last week, Americans had no legal recourse in the matter.
“For the first time, claimants will be able to bring lawsuits against persons trafficking in property that was confiscated by the Cuban regime,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week. “Any person or company doing business in Cuba should heed this announcement.”
National Security Advisor John Bolton delivered a speech in Miami, Florida, last Wednesday announcing that Washington would also limit remittances to Cuba and travel to the island by individuals without family there. Bolton said the measures were intended to prevent “veiled tourism” and “finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”