WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama conveyed his harshest rebuke yet of Havana's government last week and, hours later, Gloria Estefan protested repression in Havana from the streets of Miami.
Now, they'll be together again when the Cuban-born singer and her husband, Emilio, host Obama at their Miami Beach home April 15 for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, when the president comes to Florida to talk about cuts to the NASA space program.
The $30,400-a-couple cocktail reception is the Estefans' first fundraiser, said Democratic consultant Freddy Balsera, who advised Obama's campaign on Hispanic issues and is close to the couple. The Estefans — who were traveling and not available for comment — orchestrated a massive march through Miami's Little Havana in support of Cuba's Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, peaceful dissidents who were attacked by government security forces in Havana.
Obama will also attend a fundraiser at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami; tickets for that event start at $250 and $1,250.
Though they've kept a low political profile, the Estefans are no strangers to the White House. Gloria performed at the inaugural festivities for President George W. Bush in 2005. Bush in 2002 had appointed Emilio to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts.
In September, Obama appointed Emilio to a commission to study the feasibility of a National Museum of the American Latino, and Gloria Estefan — along with Marc Anthony, Jose Feliciano and others — performed at the White House in October as it celebrated Hispanic music.
Obama's reception in Florida may not be entirely celebratory. He's convened a conference on the Space Coast that day to defend his plans to cancel a NASA space exploration program.