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Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 07:06 GMT
Manic Street Preachers play Havana

Cuban rock fans gave an ecstatic reception to the Welsh band, The Manic Street Preachers, when they played a concert at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana.

President Fidel Castro was special guest of honour and chatted with the band before the performance.

In the past, the communist government has seen Western popular music as decadent, but the Manics, the first major artists to play Cuba in many years, have made no secret of their support for the country.

The BBC Havana correspondent says some older Cuban government officials were seen covering their ears, but would certainly have applauded the lyrics of one new song, called 'Baby Elian'.

It's inspired by the six-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, who was the subject of a bitterly contested custody battle in American courts last year.

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