MESFIN FEKADU

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Juanes is sorry about the huge outrage surrounding his upcoming peace concert in Cuba, but says that his intentions are truly genuine.

"I deeply regret having caused, let's say, this bad moment," he said in an interview Friday night.

"I have had the opportunity of talking with several leaders of the community to tell them what this is all about and that's the only truth that exists. The rest I can't control. If they say that I am a communist, that Juanes has political intentions I can only control what's in my heart, what's in my mind. We know whatwe are doing and why we are doing it."

Despite being accused of political affiliations with Cuba's communist system and receiving death threats through Twitter, the Colombian singer still plans to hold his "Peace Without Borders" concert at Havana's Plaza of the Revolution on Sept. 20.

Juanes has been known for his social activism since his first "Peace Without Borders" concert took place in March 2008. That show drew tens of thousands to the border between Venezuela and Colombia when tensions were high over a Colombian commando raid into neighboring Ecuador that killed a leading rebel commander.

The 37-year-old performer says he knew that some controversy would arise after announcing the show in Cuba.

"I mean, we knew that this was going to happen," he said before his concert at Madison Square Garden on Friday. "I been living in Miami for seven years, and the first time I visited Miami was 10 or more years ago, so I know what happened in Miami with the Cuba issue and with all these things before (we decided) to go to Cuba to do this event."

Juanes says he hasn't gotten more threats, and now he's not as worried about his safety.

"At some point, my family gets scared as well as me, more as a parent, as a father, as a husband," said Juanes, who's wife is pregnant with the couple's third child.

"But Miami's a very safe city, and our children go to school there and many of our friends are Cuban people, very nice people. And even if they don't support what we are doing, they respect and I'm sure that anything like that isn't going to happen."

Though he knows the upcoming concert will not cause an overnight change in Cuba's culture, he feels it's a step that's worth taking.

"The thing is that it's not about this concert, it's just about a process, and this concert is just a little step in this way to communicate throughculture," he said.

"We just believe that music and culture has a possibility to bring people together to send message of peace, of respect, of tolerance. So we decided to go to Cuba, we hope that everything is going to be OK and fine after the concert."

On the Net:

http://www.juanes.net