Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rappers 'Los Aldeanos' clash with police in Cuba

Posted on Monday, 02.21.11

Rappers 'Los Aldeanos' clash with police in Cuba
By Juan Tamayo

A top Cuban hip hop duo that lashes the ruling system with its lyrics
reportedly sparked a clash with police last week when they tried to
visit two youths jailed since Dec. 25 for playing their music too loudly.

The reports included contradictory information and could not be
independently confirmed, but coincided in noting that the group Los
Aldeanos was at the heart of a "public disorder" Friday in the eastern
city of Holguín.

Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz said he had
received reports that about 80 people were detained and five were
injured, apparently by rocks thrown at police from a crowd of 1,500
youths that had gathered around the Aldeanos.

Dozens were detained but there was no word on how many remained in jail
Monday, Holguín dissident Caridad Caballero told El Nuevo Herald. She
said she was not at the clash but had spoken to several people who were.

Los Aldeanos — roughly The Villagers — are one of the most rebellious
music groups in Cuba, with lyrics that aggressively blast Cuba's
shortcomings with often crude street language. The group was established
in 2003 by Aldo Rodríguez Baquero, 27, and Bian Rodríguez Gala, 26, both
from the Nuevo Vedado neighborhood of Havana.

Caballero and Sánchez said Los Aldeanos turned up in Holguin on Friday
to visit Marcos and Antonio Lima Cruz, young brothers jailed since for
nearly two months on charges of creating a public scandal by playing
their rap music too loudly.

Most reports said they were not allowed to enter the jail, but one said
the rappers did manage to meet with the brothers.

The duo afterwards turned up at the home of the father of the jailed
youths, dissident Marco Antonio Lima Dalmau, "and people just started
streaming there to see Los Aldeanos, to ask them to sing," she added.

A melee erupted when police tried to break up the crowd, Sánchez said to
El Nuevo Herald by phone from Cuba.

"There was a clash between police and the youths, and people started
throwing rocks at the police," Caballero added. "The paddy wagons hauled
off a lot of people, but we don't know how many, and how many remain in

Lima Dalmau and his wife were "beaten up" during the confrontation and
were reported to be on their way to Havana on Monday to file an official
complaint, according to Sánchez.

A Cuban music expert who spoke to Los Aldeanos on Monday said the duo
wanted to make no public statements on Friday's events.

Caballero said she's not been able to talk to participants in the melee
because her house is surrounded by State Security agents, to keep her
from going to nearby Banes for Wednesday's one-year anniversary of the
death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a lengthy hunger


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