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    Cuban rocker Gorki Aguila: Juanes concert will be manipulated

    Posted on Sunday, 09.20.09
    CUBA | JUANES CONCERT
    Cuban rocker Gorki Aguila: Juanes concert will be manipulated
    Cuban dissident musician Gorki Aguila weighed in on the controversy over
    the Juanes concert in Havana with a press conference in Miami.
    BY JORDAN LEVIN
    jlevin@MiamiHerald.com

    Gorki Aguila is that rarest of Cuban creatures, an independent and
    dissident musician.

    It is a lonely thing to be, whether sitting in jail in Cuba, as Aguila
    once did for more than two years, or playing and recording secretly,
    with his raucous punk band Porno Para Ricardo, in warehouses and back
    rooms in Havana.

    Or appearing by himself in Miami — albeit before a phalanx of media at
    a press conference Friday — as Cubans on the island and their
    counterparts in Miami geared up for Juanes' gigantic Peace Without
    Borders concert in Havana on Sunday. When word of the Juanes event
    leaked earlier this summer, many in the Cuban exile community asked why
    Aguila, whose politically provocative and often obscene songs openly
    attack the Cuban government, was not invited to perform.

    INSINCERITY

    Aguila, who is visiting Miami, New York and Washington D.C. to promote
    his group's fifth album, El Disco Rojo (desteñido) (The Red Album
    [faded]), shrugged off the significance of the Juanes event. “It seems
    to me that this concert is going to be manipulated by the Cuban
    government,'' Aguila said. “I think Juanes' intentions are very
    ingenuous, to be pretending to do a concert for peace, if you're not
    going to talk about the problems in Cuba. The evil in my country has a
    name, and it's Fidel Castro.''

    However, Aguila withheld judgment on whether the Juanes-sponsored show,
    which includes 15 musicians from six countries and is expected to draw
    more than half a million people to Havana's Plaza de la Revolución on
    Sunday, would have its intended effect of easing tensions between Cuba
    and the world. “We'll see,'' he said. “If that happened I'd be very
    happy. But the Cuban government always finds a way to manipulate things.''

    AWAY FROM HOME

    The 40-year-old singer, who wore a red T-shirt saying “59 — The Year
    of the Mistake'' referring to the year Castro took power, has been
    living in Mexico with his mother and sister since April. In August 2008
    he was arrested in Cuba for the second time and charged with “social
    dangerousness'' and “subverting Communist morality,'' but pressure from
    international press and human rights groups helped get him released.

    His visit to the United States is being sponsored by the Global Cuba
    Solidarity Movement, a Washington, D.C.-based group which seeks to raise
    awareness of human rights violations and the pro-democracy movement in Cuba.

    A Miami press conference is usually the first step toward defection for
    a Cuban musician, but Aguila said he planned to return to Cuba, to be
    with his 13-year old daughter and to continue agitating with his band.
    “I want to return — if they don't let me in, that's the responsibility
    of the Cuban government,'' he said.

    NOT INTIMIDATED

    But he said he was not intimidated by the possibility of reprisals for
    his visit to the U.S. or his outspoken comments.

    “Everything I'm saying here I say in Cuba,'' he said. “I'm always
    afraid — in Cuba you're always afraid. In Cuba they don't let me speak.
    But I speak. I consider myself a free man.''

    Maintaining his and Porno Para Ricardo's independence is difficult, but
    essential, he said.

    “We've had to renounce all the things the system offers, being on
    radio, on TV, in festivals,'' he said. “I have my weak moments,''
    Aguila said.

    “Sometimes I feel like Christ on the cross — `why did you abandon me'
    . . . But if I don't do what I'm doing I'd lose much of the sense in my
    life.''

    Cuban rocker Gorki Aguila: Juanes concert will be manipulated – Living –
    MiamiHerald.com (20 September 2009)
    http://www.miamiherald.com/living/story/1242315.html

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