Now Playing at Cuban Punk Rocker Gorki Aguila on Music, Life, and Getting Led Zeppelin Records in Cuba

Gorki Águila 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!" Águila, a Havana resident, wears homemade anti-government t-shirts, frequently denounces the Castro brothers as geriatric tyrants, and heads up perhaps Cuba's only explicitly political punk band, Porno Para Ricardo. And because of his stubborn belief in free speech, he is routinely arrested on charges of "social dangerousness." Tired of his anti-regime music, Cuban authorities made the rare decision to grant Águila a visa to travel abroad, perhaps hoping that he wouldn't return.

In September,'s Michael C. Moynihan caught up with Águila on the Washington, D.C. leg of his American promotional tour to talk about his music, the origins of Porno Para Ricardo, and how long it takes to get Led Zeppelin records in a totalitarian society.

Approximately 7 minutes. Shot by Meredith Bragg. Edited by Dan Hayes. 

For podcast and downloadable versions of this video, click here.

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  • Randy Haddock||

    Fascinating interview. I would have loved to hear his opinion on Yoani Sanchez and why the regime didn't let her travel to NYC to pick up her Maria Moors Cabot Prize.

  • Colin||

    That was one of the best interviews I've seen on

    Someone please send it to Michael Moore and all the other Castro apologists.

  • Atanarjuat||

    "When you take away a man's freedom, you've taken away practically half his life; you've taken from him much more, and his decay begins on every level."

  • ||

    Living in South Florida, I hear the horrors of Castro and communism, yet I still see plenty of Che T-shirts.

  • ||

    That's because the mindless Che T-shirt wearers, little larval stage Marxists, in their urban guerilla attire haven't had anything taken away from them. A price increase at Starbucks is about the worst event they've suffered in their unserious lives.

  • Tman||

    Hey, I wonder if Rage Against The Machine would let these guys open for them, you know, fight the man!!!!


    Oh, I forgot....RATM are just spoiled white kids who wouldn't know oppression if it smacked them in the face. Never mind.

  • ||

    Rage against mom and dad making me clean up my room!

  • ||

    Bullshit! I was supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Zapatistas bitch!

  • Baylen||

    First the Obama Nobel vid and now this. Another jónrun for

  • ||

    Thank you so much for this post, guys!

  • joe||

    This article is total bullshit. Not only is Cuba more free than the United States, it also has a better healthcare system.

  • Joe's Mom||

    Joey, it's time for you to get off the computer and finish your homework!

    Do you want to repeat 5th grade AGAIN!?

  • Steve||

    Damn, shut the hell up you tool. The man just got done explaining what life is like for him in Cuba, and your stupid ass didn't cogitate a word he said. Typical dumb ass leftist.

  • ||

    You need to go to Cuba and live there for a few years, buddy. Wee if that changes your mind.

  • ||

    Methinks joe is engaging in sarcasm.

    After all, as is said: Wherever a boot is trampling on a human face, there is a rich white liberal to explain that the face is literate and enjoys the right to free medical care....

  • fortyouncer||

    I don't know if you can judge the school system by this guy, but he sounds smarter than the kids coming out of our socialist school system, here in Los Angeles. I wonder if Castro would trade power in Cuba to be dicatator of the LAUSD. Be good for everyone.

  • Tara Davis||

    After watching a couple YouTube clips of his band, I'm scrounging all over the web to try to find their tour dates so I can figure out when I can go see them live. I can't find anything anywhere, though. Anybody else have any luck?

  • JB||

    But Leftists love fisting themselves up the ass while thinking about Castro and dreaming of their communism.

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  • ||

    "Pre-criminal behavior." Phillip K. Dick, call your office!

  • Kevin||

    I'm sure he'll get special consideration for the Grammy next year. After all, everyone loves a rebel.

  • -=NikFromNYC=-||

    That this guy can function at all in Cuba indicates to me that even without a first amendment, Cuba isn't as bad as my conservative instincts would have assumed. Sorry, but come one. He was "arrested" yet is touring in a punk band with anti-government lyrics? I would worry as much doing that here in the U.S.A. due to "hate crime" laws.

  • ||

    "That this guy can function at all in Cuba indicates to me that even without a first amendment, Cuba isn't as bad as my conservative instincts would have assumed."

    You are seeing what you want to see. Gorki Aguila has a name. Putting him in jail for years creates a PR problem; those who do not have a name, on the other hand, are free game.

    I think Reason has covered the case of 'Panfilo', a Cuban caught on video posted on YouTube yelling that what Cuba needed is food. He doesn't have much of name, being but an outspoken drunk. He got two years in prison for "pre-criminal social dangerousness."

    There are more ways of being a Stalinist dictatorship than the North Korean way.

  • Pete Stanley||

  • ||

    Leftist Castro worshippers has never live in a communist country. So they are stupid to know . They dream and heard about it just like their own Karl Marx lunacy dream while scratching his itch jock.

  • Northern European||

    I don't much care about Cuba and communism, though I'm so-called "Euro-socialist".
    Communism is dead, but regulated capitalism will win the game.

  • Northern European||

    I don't think American Leftists have anything to do with communism whatsoever. It's hilarious to read comments of your "commie scare" sometimes..

  • ||

    Okay, so we've got an Obama logo everywhere. We've got him swatting at flies. We've got him asking for a sports event. Children are singing about him. The media only reports positives, true or false. Youth are chanting. He has TV time on the networks. Now he's trying to stop Rush. We're seeing a socialist dictator rise up. Cubans could tell us better.

  • ||

    This type of society will be in the US soon.
    Wake up America.

  • ||

    Leftists who don't recognize that Cuba has a horrible dictatorship are infantile idiots. Conservatives who do not recognize the danger of right wing demagogues like Rush and Glen are infantile cretins.

  • ||

    Demagogue? "a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices", Rush and Glen are not, and don't want to be political leaders. They are only dangerous to those who wish to silence all dissent, as they try to do in Cuba.

  • ||

    You are right Stevo. They don't appeal to prejudices...they encourage a dangerous level. Dissent does not equal being irresponsible. Some of their rants can lead to homegrown terrorists like McVeigh.

  • Tara Davis||

    "Some of their rants can lead to homegrown terrorists like McVeigh."

    Name one that did.

    Ranting is a God-given right. If somebody were to murder Rush Limbaugh, should I blame Al Franken for writing a hostile book about him?

    Or should we perhaps consider that "free speech" sometimes means encountering a speaker who demonizes somebody else, and that in the long view, it's worth it?

  • Tara Davis||

    Oh, also Stevo didn't say what you seem to think he said. Read his comment again. You can't be a "demagogue" if you're not a political leader, and neither Limbaugh nor Beck are leaders. They're merely talking editorialists.

  • ||

    Tara, "they're merely talking editorialists" to you and many others, but you know darned well that the dangerous cretins I was talking about are out there and they are emboldened by the likes of Rush and Glen.

  • Thirdeye||

    He better not book a gig here on the "Space Coast" (FL), the police make arrests anytime they hear music, live or recorded, regardless of the lyrics.

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    Leftist Castro worshippers has never live in a communist country. So they are stupid to know . They dream and heard about it just like their own Karl Marx lunacy dream while scratching his itch jock.
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