[Here is the text of the letter. All are invited to sign it in the "Comments" section or by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may do so from this moment till tomorrow, Wednesday, August 27 at 22:00 hours (Spanish time). At that time the letter (along with the signatures that have been collected) will be sent to Pablo Milanés, Santiago Feliú, Kelvis Ochoa, Omara Portuondo, Polito Ibáñez, Haila María Mompié, David Blanco and "Los Aldeanos" as well as to the Cuban and international press. Please circulate it; there is very little time -- Ernesto Hernández Busto]:
"Open Letter to Pablo Milanés and Other Cuban Musicians Concerning the Arrest of Gorki Águila"
August 26, 2008
We the undersigned, having learned that you will be giving a concert the day after tomorrow at the “Anti-imperialist Forum” in Havana, have taken the liberty of sending you this "Open Letter" in the hope that you and the other invited musicians will use the opportunity the public forum affords you to request the release of Gorky Águila, lead singer and director of the band "Porno Para Ricardo."
Beyond the artistic associations and political ideologies of each artist, we think that the right to freedom of expression should not be violated by any government, including Cuba's.
This week, on the morning of August 25, while the members of “Porno Para Ricardo” were rehearsing in Gorki's house, a policeman knocked on the door and took the popular singer to the police station located on 62 Street, commonly known as “the Villa”. There he still remains a prisoner, and the only thing his family has been told is that he will be kept there until Thursday when he shall be turned over to the courts to stand trial for "peligrosidad pre-delictiva" (pre-criminal social dangerousness) which carries a possible sentence of between 1-4 years.
We do not think that those charges can be proven in any just and impartial legal process, but the fact that he is being held incommunicado and the history of threats and harassment to which he has been subjected by the authorities make us fear for the worst.
We ask you as musical artists who have taken a clear stand in support of the Revolution, but who have also defended fundamental values and human rights, not to remain silent before this abuse committed against one of your profession. It is not ingermane to point out that one of the groups invited to perform at Thursday night's event, "Los Aldeanos," shared a studio and stage with "Porno Para Ricardo” when they recorded the song “La Política." And all sang together something which today, unfortunately, sounds like a prediction: “I don't like politics, but it likes me, compañero."
We appeal to you to echo publicly the outcry for Gorki Águila's immediate release.
With warm greetings,
Ernesto Hernández Busto, Zoé Valdés, Enrique del Risco Arrocha, Ginés Gorriz, Dr. Pablo Fuentes-Prior, Ricardo Vega, Jorge Salcedo, César Beltrán, Juan (Polo) Avilés, María Garcillán, Isis Wirth, Charlie Bravo, Alexis Núñez Oliva, Milena Rodríguez, Carlos Hernández, César Reynel Aguilera, Zenaida Valdés, Miguel Iturralde, Laura García Freyre, Roberto Acosta, Manuel Sosa, Al Godar, Camilo Loret de Mola, Frank A. Caner, Luis Casacó, Joaquín Estrada-Montalván, Alexis Romay, Maria Bonastre Fargas, Nieves Cáceres, Justo Ruiz Malherbe, Mayda Rodríguez Gil, Luis Reyes, José Alberto Fuentes, Ernesto González, Alexis Rodríguez Cáceres, Sebastián Machado, Alejandro Barreras, Heriberto Hernández, Mayra Vega, Santiago Martín, Armando Añel, Luis Montiel, Naday Balbuena, Juan C. García, Roque S. González, José Aguirre, Hilda Fuentes, Verónica Pérez Konina, Tania Quintero, Rosa Álvarez…
"Pedimos que ustedes, músicos que han hecho explícito el apoyo a la Revolución, pero también la defensa de los valores y derechos humanos fundamentales..."
I think it entirely appropriate that musicians loyal to the Castro regime be called to account for their hypocrisy. Gorki's case presents a perfect opportunity to do just that. However, I disapprove of flattering these cretins whether the praise is sincere or not. If it is intended to offend the recipients, the "Open Letter" will not benefit Gorki; and if intended to flatter them, then it can only offend him. For that reason I will not be signing the Penúltimos Días "Open Letter," which though well-intentioned is poorly framed and will not, of course, stir the cubanidad of those who long ago traded theirs for a bowl of porridge.
If you yourself believe that their consciences may not be as petrified as I believe them to be, then please follow your own conscience and sign it: