Magazine article Reason

The Red Album

Magazine article Reason

The Red Album

Article excerpt


Gorki Aguila is blunt in his assessment of Fidel Castro's half-century of revolution: "Communism is a failure. A total failure. Please, leftists of the world--improve your capitalism! Don't choose communism!"

Aguila, a Havana resident, wears homemade anti-government T-shirts, frequently denounces the Castro brothers as geriatric tyrants, and heads up what may be Cuba's only explicitly political punk band, Porno Para Ricardo (Porn for Ricardo). Because of his belief in free speech--and his stubborn willingness to criticize the communist regime--he is routinely arrested. In 2009, tired of his anti-government music, the Cuban authorities made the rare decision to grant Aguila a visa to travel abroad, perhaps hoping he wouldn't return.

In September, Senior Editor Michael C. Moynihan caught up with Aguila on the Washington, D.C., leg of his American promotional tour. To see more, go to video/show/gorki-aguila-of-porno-para-ric. Translated from the Spanish by Ivan Osorio.

Q: Che Guevara banned saxophones, and the Cuban regime banned Beatles records. What is the regime's issue with rock and pop music?

A: Forthem, popular Cuban music--specifically jazz or rock--was not politically correct. It meant a deviation from their ideology. They knew that that music was very powerful for the transmission of ideas. And they saw it as a deviation from what they planned and wanted for the youth.

Q: How did you come across Western punk rock music in Cuba?

A: Among punk groups, I like the Sex Pistols a lot. I like Black Flag, the Clash, the Ramones. In Cuba it's been very difficult to get access to information, not only of an artistic nature, but of any kind. Information regarding music reaches Cuba about 10 years late. That's why I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin in the 1980s. Today, thanks to technology, it's a little easier gaining access to information on music. …

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