3_Ernesto Juan Castellanos

Episode 3: Ernesto Juan Castellanos

Episode Summary


Ernesto Juan Castellanos was born in Cuba in 1963.  Four years before that, in 1959, was the Cuban revolution.  One year after that, in 1964, was the Beatles first world tour.  Also in 1964 the communist government banned the Beatles in Cuba.  Anyone caught with Beatles records, listening to the Beatles on the radio could go to jail.

Despite all this, despite the threat of jail, despite living his whole life under a communist government, Ernesto grew up to be a huge Beatles fan.  And in 1996 he created an event that would change the status of the Beatles in Cuba forever, and lead the repressive government to put up a statue of John Lennon in the middle of Havana.


Link to Wikipedia article


Stuff too cool to fit in the episode

First of all, here’s the trailer for Havana Jam ’79 (featuring Billy Joel!)




Then, here’s a really interesting written interview with Ernesto, which mentions his book about the Peace without Borders concert (which we did not get a chance to discuss in our interview) and which points out the irony that long haired hippies were viewed with suspicion in a country founded on a revolution led by Che Guevara.


And here is an article about the first Beatles colloquium, written in 1996.


Here’s a description of the John Lennon statue in Havana.  It does not give Ernesto or the colloquiums much credit for the creation of the statue, but mentions Ernesto’s book, John Lennon en La Habana with a little help from my friends.  Side note: This is the second time I’ve mentioned one of Ernesto books.  He’s written quite a few, including four about the Beatles and Cuba.  However a lot of these books are out of circulation, for example if you follow the link in this article you’ll see that you can no longer get John Lennon en La Habana on Amazon.  Additionally all Ernesto books were written in Spanish and have never been translated.  If there is anyone out there who has managed to get hold of any of Ernesto’s books, or if you’ve read them in the past, please leave a comment and let me know.  I’d love to hear what you thought of them.


And finally, here’s an article in the New York Post about the unveiling of the statue.


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