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A “socially dangerous” Friday night video

29 August 2008

Gorki Aguila, who fronts the Cuban alternative/punk rock band, “Porno para Ricardo” was arrested Monday morning for peligrosidad — being “socially dangerous” — sort of like being charged with vagrancy, though Aguila is employed by a state film board.  Peligrosidad would be a damn good name for a Spanish-language punk band.  The right-wing blogosphere is doing everything it can to pimp the story (which is kinda amusing… the right not being the kind of people you’d expect to support a guy whose sexual proclivities are exactly those they try to hide, or outlaw.

Le gusta mamar bollo y culo, siempre y cuando huela a jabón nácar o que huela a pipi rico. También le gusta que se la mamen, pero que se la mamen bien, sin mordidas. “El Ciro se hizo hombrecito a mi lado”, afirma sin penas.

Aguila and “Porno” both regularly appeared on Cuban television though, as the singer and his lyrics have become more politicized and critical of the present government, the music has only been available in Cuba on CDs or though videos produced outside Cuba and distributed over the internet.  The band’s promotional material describes Aguila as a “Sagitatarius, not a radical” (El no es un radical; es sagitario).

Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in Victorian England, and Communists have always been kind of prudish. As prudish as the adherents to that other mid-19th century religion, Mormonism.  And despite recent liberalization and the natural bent of the Cuban people towards tolerance, the people running Cuba  are a bunch of anal-retentive geezers. Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, said that his sexuality naturally made him a dissident, but when he went into exile, his particular sexual identity (he was a drag queen) and his honesty about the accomplishments of the Revolution, put him at odds with the anti-Castro exiles. Porno para Ricardo is not for the prudish, and celebrating what any good band celebrates — sex, drugs and rock and roll (and food) — expresses a rebellious attitude, but one that doesn’t necessarily translate into a pro-U.S. (or pro-exile) political stance.

According to the Florida-based “Along the Malecon” blog a

…notorious (in the Cuban blogosphere) anti-Castro militant … happens to be making exclusive money off the CDs (and donations). This person (charlie bravo) and his partner (kill castro) hosts PPR’s website, does their PR, and were responsible for getting Gorki’s video played in Miami and interviewed on CNN last year. This most recent “news” broke off their websites and they organized the protest “concert” on the Malecon tonight.

Porno para Ricardo‘s own website clearly states “we are individualists; we receive no funds from any political organization (in or out of Cuba), nor seek any; … and the music and lyrics are not to be used for any political purpose by anyone without the express written consent of Porno para Ricardo.

None of which stops foreigners from doing just that.  This video, is distributed by, an extreme right-wing  Cuban dissident website based in Puerto Rico.  They may be missing the point that being critical of the Castro brothers does not necessarily translate into buying into corporate capitalism or the old oligarchal/gangster system that was around before 1959.

Aguila, 39, is an outspoken critic of Cuba’s government. “Communism is a failure,” he said in a 2007 interview with CNN. “A total failure. Please. Leftists of the world — improve your capitalism.”

Ulises Jorge Bidó (who is a lot hipper, and younger than I am, and to be thanked for the translation)  translated the following from an exchange with the representative “an organization that forms a bridge between the government and Cuban alternative music” and Aguila. Having been told that music should seek solutions to problems, the musician responded:

Why do I have to come with solutions? You are the ones that need to resolve things, the politicians. You are the ones who have the power. Nobody had given me any power. Not even this power [using a hand signal that means “a tiny bit”]. Why do I have to be the one that resolve things? You are the ones with the power. And not only you have the power, you have absolute power…absolute power. How do you want me to resolve things? They are the one that have to resolve things.

But they don’t even give us the right to express that we are against them. And they don’t give us the right to express the mistakes they are making. That’s the cynicism of the people that have the power in this country, cynicism and is just another humiliation.’

It’s only rock-n-roll, but I like it…

UPDATE:  Gorki got off with a $28 fine for playing music too loud.

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