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Reggaeton Banned in Cuba as Castro Cracks Down on Music

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Cuba’s government is banning reggaeton music from radio and T.V. as Raul Castro’s administration cracks down on “vulgar” songs in the island nation, government newspaper Granma reported on its website,

The Cultural Ministry’s music institute will levy severe sanctions or ban musicians including reggaeton artists whose lyrics are deemed sexually explicit or demeaning to women, Granma said, citing the institute’s president, Orlando Vistel Columbie.

“Neither vulgarity nor mediocrity will be able to tarnish the richness of Cuban music,” Vistel said in an interview posted online today by the Communist Party paper. “Obviously, people can listen to what they want privately. But, that freedom doesn’t include the right to reproduce and disseminate that music.”

A blend of styles including Jamaican dance-hall, hip hop and electronic music, reggaeton has been mainstream for almost a decade and is popular in dance clubs from Chile to New York. Cuban authorities last year denounced as obscene the reggaeton song El Chupi Chupi by local artist Osmani Garcia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at rwoods13@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.

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