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Cuban punk rocker Gorki Aguila expected to face trial

Frances Robles
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

MIAMI - The Cuban rocker whose biting profanity-laced lyrics against the Castro government has previously gotten him in trouble is now in detention and expected to face trial Friday, according to human rights groups in Havana.

Aguila, 39, heads Porno Para Ricardo - Porn for Ricardo - a 10-year-old punk rock group that regularly denounces the government in its songs. Aguila was picked up Monday during a rehearsal for an album tentatively called "Geriatric Central Committee," an apparent jab at the aging members of Cuba's communist party leadership.

He is charged with "pre-crime social dangerousness," a law the Cuban government uses on people it considers a threat to the revolution.

"In our view, he has committed no crime," human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said from Havana. "The government is furious, because he composed about 12 to 15 songs which they consider disrespectful or irreverent. They ridicule both Fidel Castro and his brother."

Sanchez said he listened to two of the tunes and they are "quite strong."

On Wednesday, the Cuban American National Foundation offered to provide Aguila an attorney for his trial Friday at the Playa Municipal Court in western Havana. But Aguila's Web site says he is apolitical, accepts no funding from political groups, and disavows the use of his music for political purposes.

In a recent interview with TV Marti, the U.S.-funded anti-Castro news broadcast, Aguila said the Castro government constantly harasses the group, because the music caught officials by surprise.

"They provoke us and offend us daily," he said, "and we're kind of tired."

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