Cuba: dissident punk rocker scores political win

Cuban punk rocker Gorki Aguila, lead singer of Porno para Ricardo, charged with “social dangerousness” because of his songs denouncing and deriding the government, was released with a $28 fine after calling upon his fans to hold a public protest. Facing up to four years in prison for lyrics scorning Fidel and Raul Castro as “geriatrics,” the 39-year-old singer was arrested Aug. 25 and charged with subverting “communist morality.” Supporters were due to assemble at Havana’s Malecón promenade to protest Aug. 28. “We invite everyone to gather and shout Gorki,” said the band’s (foreign-based) website. At the last minute, judicial authorities backed down and agreed to the fine. The banner on the website currently reads “We’ve won the battle!” (Ganamos la batalla!)

Formed 10 years ago as part of an underground music movement, Porno para Ricardo is banned from Cuba’s official airwaves. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an illegal but tolerated group, said the singer had angered authorities with some of his latest lyrics but had not violated the law. “Gorki Aguila has not committed any specific crime as defined by the current criminal code,” it said in a statement. Aguila had asked for “diplomatic observers” to attend the trial, but refused legal help from the US-based Cuban American National Foundation. (AP, Aug. 29; The Guardian, Aug. 29)

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