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Cuba arrests dissident rocker, band says

  • Story Highlights
  • Musician Gorki Aguila has been accused of "dangerousness," his band mates say
  • Aguila, 39, is an outspoken critic of Cuba's government
  • Police reportedly say Aguila faces sentence of one to four years in jail
  • Aguila's punk rock band, Porno para Ricardo, recording album at time of arrest
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From Morgan Neill
CNN
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HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban police have arrested dissident musician Gorki Aguila on a charge of "dangerousness," fellow band members said Tuesday.

Hebert Dominguez, the bass player in Aguila's punk rock band, Porno para Ricardo, said police detained Aguila at his home at 10 a.m. Monday.

Aguila, the lead singer, was arrested as he was about to record the final songs of the band's next record, according to a statement on the band's Web site.

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"This new episode of harassment and persecution is occurring just as Porno para Ricardo is in the middle of recording its new record, which eliminates any possibility that this repressive escalation could be described as a 'coincidence,' " the statement said. "In Cuba, the voice of the brave is silenced by the regime, which doesn't hesitate to use intimidation and force."

An official at the state-run press office said Cuba had no comment on the arrest.

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."

Dominguez said authorities said Aguila's trial will take place Thursday. Police told the group's guitarist, Ciro Diaz, that Aguila faced a possible sentence of one to four years in jail.

The statement on the band's Web site said Aguila wasn't feeling well -- that he had inflammation in his lungs and was short of breath.

Cuba uses the charge of "dangerousness" to prosecute those whom authorities believe are likely to commit crimes. Under Cuba's penal code, habitual drunkenness and anti-social behavior are signs of a "state of dangerousness."

In its early years, Porno para Ricardo was featured on Cuban television, but as Aguila's lyrics grew bolder, the group was banned from playing in public. With the help of a friend outside the country, the band put its songs on the Internet. Its CDs are distributed only by hand in Cuba.

In 2003, Aguila was jailed on drug charges in what he said was an attempt to silence him. He said a woman working for police posed as a fan and baited him into giving her amphetamines.

He admitted to CNN that he gave her two pills, but he called it entrapment.

Following his time in jail, Aguila's lyrics grew more political. In one song, he sings, "I've lost my fear, I've already been a prisoner I've only got a few bones left, from up here the tyrant is watching you, you're playing his game so that he'll oppress us."

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