When leaders fail to reflect your values, vote them out.
That is the message the Mexican rock group Maná would like to send to Latino citizens of the United States.
As the band prepares to embark on a massive 22-city tour later this month – and perform live together for the first time in three years – they told CNN their hope is their music can bring joy to a fearful community rattled by the hate-fueled mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and recent ICE raids that have led to the arrests of hundreds of undocumented people.
“Unfortunately, when something like this happens, it’s terrorism and it’s meant to put a lot of fear into people. But you can’t be afraid,” said drummer Alex Gonzalez in a recent interview. “The great thing about this country is that it’s made up of immigrants from all over the world and that we can share our culture. That’s what makes this country so great.”
While they didn’t cite President Donald Trump directly, or his rhetoric for the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, Maná encouraged eligible voters who want to change the culture to head to the polls in 2020.
“Nobody can steal your inner peace,” added lead vocalist Fher Olvera. “We have to keep moving forward, and I think it’s about time that people inform themselves and take action. If you don’t like what’s going on, vote. Use your vote to change things, to change your leaders and elect the people that best represent this community that has contributed so much to the United States.”
Maná, one of the most successful Latin American bands of all time with more than 40 million records sold worldwide, has always been outspoken about social, political and environmental issues – themes often highlighted in their songs.
At last year’s Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, NV, where Olvera, Gonzalez, guitarist Sergio Vallin and bass player Juan Calleros became the first group to be honored with the person of the year award, they vowed to continue advocating for immigrants.
“We will continue fighting for the rights of the immigrants who have made this country great in the last century. They were the difference for this country to be as big as it is,” Olvera said during their acceptance speech.
In 1996, Maná also founded the Selva Negra Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to protecting the environment.
“It’s alarming and worrisome,” said Gonzalez about the Trump administration’s roll back of some key environmental regulations. “It is hard to believe that this is happening in this country that has always been the world leader on the environment.”
“And that is the greatest polluter on earth,” interjected Olvera.
The solution to that, the men reiterate, is to get out and vote – a message they plan to repeat to audiences during their upcoming “Rayando El Sol” tour, named after Maná’s first ever chart-topping single.
“That song changed our life. It was 1989, we had spent years struggling and were just about ready to quit the music business when that song became a hit,” Olvera said.
Three decades later, Maná is still making music and still reaching for the sun.