Diario de Cuba, Havana, 24 May 2015 – The musician Gorki Águila, leader of the band Porno para Ricardo, was arrested by State Security agents on Saturday night in front of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.
Águila went to hold up a sign on the outside wall of the museum with the word “Libertad” (Freedom) and the image of the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, imprisoned since last 25 December, when he allegedly went to Havana’s Central Park with two piglets named “Fidel” and “Raúl,” to stage a performance.
After Águila’s action, recognized repressors from State Security’s Section 21, posted in the area, approached the musician and forced him into a car. Meanwhile, Águila shouted demands for “Freedom for Danilo!”
The repressors were in the area because of the inauguration of a show that presumably was going to be attended by the artist Tania Bruguera, now retained on the Island without her passport because of an attempt to stage her performance Tatlin’s Whisper in the Plaza of the Revolution last 30 December.
This coming Wednesday, 27 May, the Oslo Freedom Forum, a principal world event dedicated to human rights, awarded El Sexto the Prize for Creative Dissidence.
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to translate and subtitle all the wonderful videos coming out of Estado de Sats and the Forum for Rights and Freedom, but for our many readers who do understand spoken Spanish, we just wanted to remind you they are there.
This particular video is a discussion of the Americas Summit in Panama.
14ymedio, 17 April 2105 – This Friday morning, the Forum for Rights and Freedoms convened a group of activists to a meeting under the title After the Summit in Panama, what next? The event took place at the home of Antonio González Rodiles, director of the opposition group Estado de Sats.
About 70 attendees heard testimony from Berta Soler, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Gorki Águila, Roberto de Jesús Guerra and other activists who participated in the Civil Society Forum during the recently concluded Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama.
The discussions addressed issues related to the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States and on the actions taken by the representatives of civil society sent to Panama by the Cuban government.
The trial schedules for this Tuesday against Gorki Águila, leader of the punk rock band Porno para Ricardo, was postponed because of the health problems of his defense attorney, according to the musician himself on his Facebook page. Gorki spoke about the background of his case with Diario de Cuba.
Gorki, what are they accusing you of?
The formal citation they gave me said the crimes of pre-criminal social dangerousness and illegal drug possession, with many points suspended.
Were you carrying drugs?
When they stopped me on the street and searched me and found two Tradea pills — methylphenidate — for which I have the appropriate prescription, signed and sealed, which are strong proof that they were bought legally. The police investigation has no evidence beyond those two pills.
Why are they accusing you?
The classic recourse of the government is to tie the “uncomfortable” individual to some prefabricated crime. In my case they didn’t ahve much more and I thought it unlikely that they’d convict me, if it was a free trial, for the (completely legal) possession of two tables of a medication that I need, according to a doctor’s prescription.
What’s your impression of this new trial and now the suspension of it?
It has the same characteristics of the 2008 trial, the same intentions, because a despotic government like ours never renounces the idea of silencing protestors like me by constant threats of prison, whether we are artists, activists, journalists or simply citizens. continue reading
On the morning of the day before yesterday I learned that the trial had been postponed because of my attorney’s health. It was to have been held on Tuesday, the 11th, but was delayed approximately a week. I thought this surprise, without any definitive date, could be dangerous because State Security could use it as a strategy and take advantage of less media coverage so I’d have a silent trial with weaker visibility.
Meanwhile, the government could create a parallel campaign to discredit me on the social networks, which seems like a recurring error on their part, because the exaggeration of creating false situations against each and everyone who dares to denounce them or express an opinion contrary to its purposes becomes suspect.
Castro never could admit that his opponents could be dignified enemies and have a body of more elevated moral principles; his attitude has always been not to recognize opponents and so to underestimate them, but taking care that they are never respected, rather defamed and in extreme cases imprisoned and even assassinated.
What are your expectations for the trial? Why summary?
I understand that these trials are held in very few countries and almost always in times of war, as an immediate lesson. The summary trials in Cuba are produced serially, with little documentation, that is, they can hold several trials on the same day, at the same time, with the ruling made in advance, where the political police has everything to gain. In this sense the regime takes great advantage of them against the peaceful opponents.
In these trials, mostly rigged by State Security — it’s expected that the ruling will go against the accused. So I think it’s extremely important to maintain solidarity among everyone because, as demonstrated in the previous trial in 2008, the more public opinion was moved and the more visibility the case got at the international level, it was possible with everyone to change a decision already decided by the anti-revolutionary injustice, on the retrograde sense of the Cuban government.
Your case is not isolate…
The government finds in these moments in the practice meant to “neutralize” the various opponents, one of their bad so-called “revolutionary offenses.” This is the case with my friend Manuel Cuesta Morúa, who finds himself under police investigation with absurd charges like “the spread of false news that threatens international peace.”
It’s incredible that someone who threatened the total destruction of the planet earth, could say that a simple opinion or the exercise of free expression could threaten international peace. It’s something as cynical as his persona, someone who dedicated his whole life to launching the false image of “revolutionary and ecologist.”
There was also the case of the independent journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez, who spent long months in prison simply for exposing the spread of the cholera epidemic in the country, work that should have been the job of the national press, which has never mentioned, with sincerity, news that is alarming to the population.
Tell me how it was in 2008…
I was in the dungeon without knowing anything that was going on outside. At a specific time a cop came with the file and told me what I was charged with would be changed. Then the treatment inside the jail mutated tremendously. When they reduced the charges, some official even said that all those who were there were criminals while I was just there for being “anti-Castro.”
That is, they changed the crime of social dangerousness to the crime of disobedience and from then is where I can corroborate the rapid collapse of the armed farce. When they substituted the charge of one crime for another following no procedures at all, completely lacking in rigor: what’s missing is the Rule of Law. This leaves the usual arbitrariness of the Cuban judicial system completely exposed, where terms like “legal certainty” or “res judicata” are alien to is citizens, frequently defenseless before such procedures.
Then I knew I had a strong international solidarity campaign and within the country all my friends and activists supported me making sure everyone knew about my situation and the false charges I was accused of.
I’m convinced that the only way to transform these previous designs of the tyranny is to realize that uniting in the demand against injustice we can multiply the message that we all need right now, that of freedom for civil Cuban society, in short, freedom for Cuba.
I would like to thank all the people sensitive to my situation who have signed the petition and who are continuing to pay attention to what could happen with respect to this inadmissible case.
Thank you so much! Hopefully this is the year that yes, it falls!
A drop of rain won’t make the swimming pool overflow; nor will a difference be apparent to those who see the little circles that widen when it falls, but this drop, although it appears to disappear, to dissolve among the rest, continues fighting to survive.
Unjustly, the first reason that has caused the musician Gorki to be accused of “illegal drug abuse,” according to what some independent journalists have told me, is that he belongs to a gang of rockers, which is sufficient to validate the accusation, without considering that he has epilepsy, backed by a clinical history from a doctor in Mexico–from where he recently returned from a concert tour–who prescribed him the psychotropic Tradea, which is similar to carbamasepina, as it is known in Cuba.
It is naive not to believe that it’s about a long-awaited revenge by the political police, who have been waiting for the chance to imprison him for the lyrics of his songs where he “offends” the Castro brothers and the totalitarian regime.
The painful thing is that some of the “naive” cast doubt on the idea that State Security is on the hunt for the leader of a punk rock bank who previously has suffered two legal processes, one of which sent him to prison due to a trap set by the dictatorships henchmen, and the other one of which failed to imprison him because of the international solidarity that ended his arrest, and these same doubters question Gorki’s innocence. Too much innocence for a single soul!
I know very well the case against the artist, because in my case a similar infamy was constructed. I remember that shortly before entering prison, I participated in a free art exhibition at Gorki’s house, where I told him to be careful or he would be coming to keep me company in jail.
Hopefully I was wrong, and the evidence presented by the attorney Amelia Rodríguez Cala will be enough to invalidate the process, which didn’t happen in my case, although they weren’t able to present a single piece of evidence that showed I participated in the alleged acts.
Gorki Aguila, I’m with you with my solidarity and my prayers.
Ángel Santiesteban Prats
Lawton Prison Settlement, February 2014
We invite you to support Gorki by signing the petition:
Musician Gorki Águila announced today this his trial scheduled for this Tuesday was suspented “due to reasons of health” of his attorney.
The leader of the band Porno para Ricardo said that “at no time” did her receive “official notification.” Because of this, he said, he went to the “summary court of Marianao, at 100th and 33rd, to register my annoyance at this news,” and so that “they would have no possible argument to accuse me of not appearing.”
Also, the musician asked the people who are now raising a campaign for him on the social networks “not to abandon the denunciation” given that the authorities assert that “they will take full advantage of this pause to attack after impunity.”
Águila is the Cuban musician most critical of the regime living in Cuba with a major international presence.
Gorki Luis Aguila Carrasco is the lead singer of the Cuban Punk rock band Porno para Ricardo. He has been targeted in the past for his political beliefes and threatened with prison. On September 30, 2013 agents of the Castro regime arrested Gorki and confiscated medication prescribed to him by a Mexican doctor for epilepsy that the Cuban punk rocker has suffered with since childhood. In a Cubanet interview on October 16, 2013 Gorki explained his situation: “I don’t know what they accuse me of, nor do I have a trial date.” That has now changed. On a citation for summary judgement dated January 27, 2014 Gorki is called to attend a summary trial on February 11, 2014 where he will stand as the accused. Under the rules of the game of the Castro regime he is already guilty. It is up to all of us to campaign for his freedom. Follow the hashtag #FreeGorki on twitter. Please sign the Avaaz petition that is circulating. Castro apologists claim that Gorki is not a musician and that is the reason for this playlist to demonstrate that they are lying.