How did Salsa Power start?
Latin culture, specifically the musical part, has had a large group of unconditional allies who have promoted it worldwide through their work and platforms, being Chilean-American Jacira Castro one of the best known. Jacira is a salsa casino-style salsa teacher and web designer who had the dream of spreading the typical rhythms of our countries, but she did not figure out how until she came up with a revolutionary idea: Salsa Power.
Salsa Power was born in 1999 as part of an initiative created by Castro and graphic designer Julian Mejia, who practically became her partner until the moment when the page stopped working. From that year on that the dance instructor began to generate contacts and develop human networks with people inside and outside the world of music, especially from the salsa genre. A particularity of this system devised by Jacira was that it was fed by the information received from people from anyqhere in the world about everything related to concerts, festivals, press conferences, autograph signings and much more.
How did this project work?
Thanks to the technology that was advancing little by little in all this time, there were many more contact ways and social media came along to facilitate these activities. The website grew to such an extent that it came to have more than 300 correspondents in over 60 countries, many of whom did not even have professions or occupations related to music, but wanted to strive to make the initiative successful and Latin artists and orchestras have a dependable space to promote their work.
Contrary to what many readers may have thought, everyone involved in this project never received a single cent or publicity in return for all the work being done. In fact, it was Jacira herself who had to pay for all the expenses related to Salsa Power such as plane tickets, travel, lodging, food, wardrobe, among other things. Not to mention the website maintenance and other hosting costs for the domain to work properly.
Fortunately, all that effort and money were worth it because Salsa Power rose to become the largest salsa website on the internet and a true reference for any independent media planning to do anything remotely like that. Much of the fruits harvested by this beautiful project can still be found on the internet and consist of articles, interviews, event coverage, videos and many other things.
The name Salsa Power was so respected that you could not talk about the Latin salsa scene in the United States without mentioning it, especially in South Florida, a place where competition for the first places was at its higuest. This competition was not only between artists and musical groups, but also between media, associations and academies, triggering some inconvenience and regrettable situations like the one experienced by Jacira and Julián a few years ago.
Jacira has had run-ins with some important personalities of the Latin music community in Florida because of her political positions, which went against the current of a large number of Latin artists and dancers at that time, especially those who are part of the Cuban exile. Her attitudes towards the political situation in Cuba have been highly controversial, mainly those related to the U.S. economic embargo on the Caribbean country and the limitations on free cultural exchange between both nations. Both Castro and other leaders of the entertainment industry were opposed to the decades-old blockade, which has been maintained until today.
This caused the dance teacher to make some enemies in the Miami music scene, which led to the hacking of Salsa Power with the caption ”This is a communist website” in big red letters along with a message whose author calls Jacira ”communist” and ”pro-Fidel Castro”. Obviously, she got worried and immediately called Julian to bring down the page.
As they began to diagnose the issue and its possible causes, they concluded that those responsible were part of an association composed of a dozen dance schools in Miami and its sorroundings called Salsa United. Around the same time, this organization had just created its own website, which published content very similar to that of Salsa Power, so much so that its principal spokesperson Jolexy Hurtado and Jacira came to have some arguments and run-ins due to how much alike the interviews were in both websites. The conflict reached at such a level that Jacira states that Hurtado told her she was messing with the wrong guy.
Undoubtedly, this whole situation was a big headache for the web designer, but has never let any of this daunt her or make her feel inadequate. On the contrary, she has grown before adversities and has faced them with the gallantry that has always characterized her, since she knows what her work is worth in terms of quality and globality.
However, there comes a point when the effort and time invested are not enough, so it is time to be realistic and assume that everything has its end, as the great Héctor Lavoe would say.
Farewell to Salsa Power and Jacira’s current life
After 22 years of operation of the Salsa Power project, many of the correspondents who provided information for the page got married, had children, studied, moved and pursued other professional opportunities that did not allow them to continue their work. For the same reason, Jacira had no choice but to terminate the project that was her life for more than two decades and publish a farewell message thanking all her readers for their support over the years and assuring that she will continue to travel and enjoy salsa and dance.
In spite of abandoning her duties as administrator of Salsa Power, the great impact of the Chilean-American’s work on those who have come to know her and collaborate with her cannot be denied. On her LinkedIn profile, there plenty of favorable reviews about her professionalism and commitment in every activity she makes.
From International Salsa Magazine, we wish her the greatest success in every project she undertakes and that she enjoys all the stages that are to come.
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