Cuban-born Gloria Estefan has turned down an invitation to sing before Pope John Paul II next month during a Mass in Santiago de Cuba.
According to the singer’s husband and manager, Emilio Estefan, Catholic Church representatives spoke to him from Mexico several times to ask that his wife appear before the pontiff. The couple refused.
“We will never sing in Cuba while Fidel Castro’s regime exists,” Emilio Estefan said Friday. “The day Gloria sings in Cuba, she will do so because Cuba is free - and we trust this will happen soon.”
During a concert in Puerto Rico some months ago, Gloria Estefan said that “as much as I love the pope, I won’t sing in Cuba while Fidel is there.”
Still, Emilio Estefan said he and Gloria support the pope’s visit because the faithful on the island need it and because it could lead to changes.
“That visit can bring faith to Cuba,” he said.
In 1995, Gloria Estefan sang at a Vatican concert dedicated to the world’s priests. Before singing, she addressed the pontiff, saying in Spanish: “Holy Father, I ask for your prayers, so the doors to freedom may open in my native country and throughout the world.”