Harvard Graduate Law School LLM Masters in International Law (1985)
Degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Panama (1974)

Born July 16th, 1948 in the Republic of Panama 

Awards and Distinctions
2019 Dorothy Height award in honor to the civil rights leader at New York University.
2018-2019 New York University Steinhardt Dean’s Scholar-in-Residence
2011 The Hispanic Heritage Foundation honored him with the Arts award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
2011 The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) honored him with their Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award
2010 Aid for Aids honored him with the “My Hero” award for his work promoting Aids awareness
2008 The Rubén Blades Archives at Harvard University was initiated to collect his papers, work, and related materials
2008 Latin Trade Magazine honored him with the Bravo Awardfor the Most Innovative Leader of the Year
2007 The Latin American Tourism Confederation (COTAL) selected him as the Tourism Personality of the Year, honoring him with the Albatross Award
2006 The Chilean Government presented him with the Pablo Neruda Medal of Honor
2005 ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) honored him with the Founders Award
2003 The National Academy of Arts & Sciences (NARAS) honored him with the Heroes Award
2000 Named Ambassador Against Racismby the United Nations

He has an Honorary Doctorate in Chicano Studies, from Berkeley University (California)
He has an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Lehman College, CUNY (Bronx, New York)
He has an Honorary Doctorate of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts)

Music and Film
He has recorded more than 25 albums and countless collaborations with diverse artists
He has won 17 Grammy Awards (9 U.S. Grammy and 8 Latin Grammy). Among these, Salsa Big Band won both Best Salsa and Album of the Year Latin Grammys, as well as the U.S. Grammy Best Tropical Latin Album.
He has starred in 35+ movies and as a regular in 2 television series, and guest star in 2 other series
He was nominated for 3 Emmy Awards
He won a Cable Ace Award in the Best Actor category (1989)
He is the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Bladesdirected by Abner Benaim

Discography credits

Opinion Articles by Rubén Blades La Esquina de Rubén

Served as General Administrator of the Authority of Tourism in Panama and Minister of Tourism of Panama, from September 1st 2004, until June 30th 2009

Founder of the Papa Egoro political party in the Republic of Panama (1992) 
He was a candidate for President of the Republic of Panama in 1994, coming in third place, with 18% of the vote in the election, among 27 parties and 7 presidential candidates 

Future Plans
Blades plans to tour with Roberto Delgado Salsa Big Band through Latin America, the United States,  and Europe, while continuing his activities in film and television, writing his articles of opinion published in his social media pages and his blog La Esquina de Rubén, and preparing new productions in other musical genres and styles.

Official Website
Official Facebook
Twitter @rubenblades         
Instagram @ruben.blades         
Youtube Rubén Blades
Rubén Blades CDs available at and


Rubén Blades was born in a rooming house in a small Latin American country, but he refused to see limitations or barriers; his work has crossed geopolitical borders, cultures, and genres, and has made an impact throughout the world. He has won 17 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, and this year returns to star in the AMC television series Fear the Walking Dead.

As a composer and vocalist, Blades is one of the most successful artists in Latin music. His landmark albums in classic Afro-Cuban salsa are touched with rock, jazz, pan-Latin, and worldwide influences. His 2017 album Salsa Big Bandwas named the Latin Grammy Album of the Year. Blades has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa artists, and has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits, known for their eloquent, socially charged lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies. ASCAP honored him with its Founders Award, and the Grammy Recording Academy with its Heroes Award. He is the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Bladesdirected by Abner Benaim. 

In addition to his music, he was recently seen starring in Hands Of Stoneopposite Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez and John Turturro, and in Safe Houseopposite Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Blades has played memorable roles in films with such acclaimed directors as Robert Redford in The Milagro Beanfield War, Robert Rodriguez in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spike Lee in Mo’ Better Blues, Alan Pakula in The Devil’s Own, and Jack Nicholson in The Two Jakes. He was nominated for three Emmys for his roles in the television movies The Josephine Baker StoryCrazy From The Heart, and The Maldonado Miracle. His work in over 35 films and documentaries also won Blades a Cable ACE Award, plus Independent Spirit and ALMA Awards. The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors honored him with its Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation honored him with its Arts Award.

Beyond Blades’ artistic success, he holds degrees in political science and law from the University of Panama, and an LLM from Harvard Graduate Law School. The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University formed The Rubén Blades Archives in 2008 to collect his work and papers. He has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Berkeley University in California (Chicano Studies), Lehman College in the Bronx (Humanities) and the Berklee College of Music in Boston (Music). In 2006 the president of Chile awarded Blades the Pablo Neruda Order of Cultural Merit, and in 2010 the president of Ecuador honored him with their Orden Nacional al Mérito Cultural. New York University Steinhardt has appointed him Scholar in Residence for the 2018/2019 academic year.

Blades has always had an eye for political activism. In 1994 he formed a political party, Movimiento Papa Egoró (“Mother Earth” in the indigenous Embera language), and ran for President of the Republic of Panama, coming in third place with 18% of the vote. In 2000 Blades was named U.N. World Ambassador Against Racism. From 2004-2009 he served as his country’s Minister of Tourism.

He says he has “more past than future” - but he’s not done yet.

Grammy Awards



Opinion Articles by Rubén Blades La Esquina de Rubén