Lauren M. Ruhland, 2008 MCPP intern
HAVANA (AP) – Cuba has ordered jailed punk rocker Gorki Aguila, an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro and the communist government, to stand trial on Friday for “social dangerousness,” a charge that could carry up to four years in prison.
Authorities arrested the 39-year-old lead singer of Porno para Ricardo at his Havana home on Monday, shortly after the band had completed work on a new album. Cuban law defines “social dangerousness” as behavior contrary to “communist morality,” and police use it to detain offenders before they have a chance to commit a crime.
First thought: There’s a Cuban punk scene? And a band named “Porn for Ricardo?” Whose dissident lead singer seems to be named after the founder of socialist realism? That’s amusing! (I suppose it could be a stage name, but I encountered quite a few similar Soviet namesakes when I visited formerly socialist Nicaragua a few years ago.)
According to his Wiki article, Águila attracted the attention of authorities in part because he told CNN that communism is “a failure. A total failure. Please. Leftists of the world — improve your capitalism.” Porno para Ricardo was in the midst of finishing up their fourth album, though the Cuban government has banned their music from state radio and forbidden them from performing in public. This makes the Clash complaining about the oppressive record industry seem a little trivial.
Kudos to the Babalu Blog–“an island on the net without a bearded dictator,” acording to its tagline–for helping get the story out. If you’d like to hear some of Porno para Ricardo’s music (be warned, it’s en español and may be offensive even to non-Communist sensibilities), check out the video for their song “el Comandante” here.