Would You Read a Newspaper Edited by Juanes?

Colombian musician Juanes announces nominations for The XIII Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Belasco
Theater on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Los Angeles. The show will be held on Nov. 15 in Las Vegas. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

He’s been a heavy metal rocker, a campaigner against land mines and a self-appointed spokesman for world peace. But Juanes, the Latin crooner who was just nominated for several Latin Grammy Awards on Tuesday, recently discovered that he can also be a newspaper editor.

The Latin pop star directed the most recent Sunday edition of Bogota newspaper El Tiempo, which centered on the themes of peace and reconciliation in his home country of Colombia.

Juanes was specially appointed to the one time job by the paper’s management, which sought him out for his optimistic vision on the country’s problems, and his previous experiences with peace concerts and humanitarian work on behalf of land mine victims in Colombia, a country that has suffered through five decades of armed conflict.

In the newspaper’s editorial page, Juanes writes that the objective of Sunday’s special edition was to gather the voices and vision of Colombians who are silently creating a more peaceful country. He also challenges Colombians to shift paradigms and envision peace not as a destination but as a “way of life.”

The “Juanes edition” of El Tiempo is called Tiempo de Cambiar or Time to Change, after one of his most popular songs. It includes an article titled “The Years that Colombia Lived in Peace,” as well as a post on the tourist destinations that could be recovered if violence ceases in rural Colombia.

Other celebrities also make their mark on this special edition. Shakira writes a column on her experiences with education projects in remote areas of Colombia. Miguel Bosé, a Spanish pop star who helped Juanes organize a couple of peace concerts in recent years, pens an op-ed titled, “Peace, Our Daily Bread.”

According to the EFE news agency, El Tiempo’s decision to have Juanes step in as its editor for a day, was inspired on a smiliar move by British Newspaper The Independent, which asked Bono to lead a special edition on the HIV/Aids crisis in Africa back in 2006.

The Juanes edition is stacked with positive stories of Colombians working for peace, and also includes an infographic that shows how much food, and how many music instruments could be bought, with the money that the Colombian government spends on different types of weapons.

This special edition of El Tiempo circulates in newstands as Colombia prepares for a new round of peace talks between the government and the Marxist FARC guerrillas. These talks, which are slated to begin in Norway on the second week of October, have raised expectations amongst some Colombians that the country’s 50-year-old armed conflict could finally come to an end.


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