You know his captivating voice, you know his name, you have known him as the Minister of Tourism but it is next to impossible to grasp how talented and intelligent this man truly is.
Did you know that Ruben Blades has a law degree from the University of Panama and a Masters in international law from Harvard Law School? Did you know that he co-founded the political party ‘Papa Egoro’ and ran for President in the Republic of Panama in 1994?
Mostly, it is the entertainer that comes to mind, with his thirty plus movies under his belt. Films like: Milagro Bean Fields War, Mo Better Blues, Cradle Will Rock, Once Upon a Time in Mexico to name only a few. The screens were shared with greats such as Johnny Depp, Tim Robbins, Antonio Bandadaras, Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Willem DeFoe. Per Mr. Blades, “I started acting by choice, however, when I get involved in something, I try to learn everything there is, and what I learned in Hollywood and television in this country is that you can’t sit around and wait for the opportunities to come by.”
Fame for the hundreds of popular songs that he has written, recorded and performed gave us a new musical voice. Nueva Cancion or ‘New Song’, that Ruben is known for, blends the Afro-Cuban, Latin jazz and salsa into an irresistible mix.
So why is it that we haven’t heard from him in a while? He is not just an entertainer; he is also an activist for social change and committed to the evolution and growth of his native land, Panama. In 2004, he was appointed by President Martin Torrijos to be the Minister of Tourism. This position gave him another kind of voice, another type of power to energize his country, which is booming. The Panama Canal is not the only thing to double in size, tourism is way up, and so is relocation. People from all over the globe are discovering the magic and majesty of this tropical isthmus.
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