HAVANA (Reuters) - The man who banned the Beatles
from the communist-run island's radio and television stations
has died, state television said Tuesday.
Jorge "Papito" Serguera, who at the time was president of
the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, pulled Beatles
music from the airwaves in the 1970s even though he later
admitted he enjoyed listening to it in private.
Serguera, who was 76 when he died, said in a 2001 interview
he was following orders from high government officials who
viewed the British band's music as a threat to the revolution.
But he was viewed as an architect of a general cultural
crackdown that dampened dissent and marginalized many for their
beliefs or sexuality.
"There were national leaders who were against, not them (the
Beatles), but the so-called modern music ... there was
incredible pressure," he told Ernesto Juan Castellanos, author
of "John Lennon in Havana with a little help from my friend."
Today, Beatles music is played on the Cuban airwaves and
one of Havana's minor landmarks is a statue of Lennon sitting
on a park bench.
Serguera fought in the 1959 revolution that toppled
dictator Fulgencio Batista, then worked alongside Ernesto "Che"
Guevara as a prosecutor in controversial trials that condemned
to death hundreds of Batista collaborators.
His appearance on television in 2006 provoked protests from
intellectuals still angry about his 1970s actions.
(Reporting by Esteban Israel; editing by Jeff Franks)
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