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Puerto Rico: Bloggers Criticize Censorship Call of Calle 13 Song

René Pérez Joglar and his sister Ileana of Calle 13. Photo by crlsblnc used under a CC Licence.*

Whether by design or unintentionally, urban music group Calle 13 stirred the pot this week with the release of a new record “Entren los que quieran” (Come in those who wish), and specifically with the song “Digo lo que pienso” (I say what I think). In the song, and at one point in a rather strong and sexually explicit language, the group takes a swipe to an unnamed mayor accusing him of being a drug user. Redod from PuertoRicoIndie.com [es] writes about this song in his review of the album:

De ahí René pasa a ofrecer pagar por tratamiento de rehabilitación y hasta hacerse ambos una prueba de dopaje. Los puertorriqueños no necesitarán ponerle nombre y apellido al alcalde – los demás tienen al Internet para asistirles en su búsqueda de identidad.

From there, René (lead vocalist for Calle 13) offers to pay for rehab and to even go and take a drug screening test together. Puerto Ricans will not need a name and last name for this mayor – for everyone else, there is the Internet to assist them in the search of the identity.

The unnamed mayor is San Juan’s (The capital city of Puerto Rico) Jorge Santini with whom the group has had public spats in the past [es]. What should have been dismissed as material for gossip columns became an issue of free spech in the blogosphere when the president of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board (JRT in Spanish), Sandra Torres, described the song as “obscene” and “lewd” and invited the general public to send their complaints to the JRT:

Yo gustosamente las voy a remitir a la FCC con una carta de mi puño y letra expresándoles la indignación del pueblo puertorriqueño sobre este tipo de material.

I will gladly forward them to the FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) with a letter written by myself expressing the outrage of the people of Puerto Rico over this type of material.

The lead vocals of Calle 13, René Perez Joglar, reacted [es] on Twitter:

nadie tiene el derecho de seleccionar por ustedes la música que ustedes quieren escuchar. no dejen que los censuren. el pueblo manda!

no one has the right to choose for you the music that you want to hear. do not let yourselves be censored. the people rule!

Others in the Puerto Rican blogosphere reacted in a similar fashion. While some like Mariana Iriarte from the blog Con otros y otras en el mundo [es] decided to simply link to the song in protest, others were more vocal. A post [es] from the blog Parpadeando [es] says this is censorship meant to stifle free thinking:

Que esos que presiden la destrucción del pensar, dicen esos, esos tipos y tipas de los que Serrat decía que “entre ellos y yo hay algo personal”, que pensar sólo sirve si es propiedad privada o estrategia de mercadeo, ellos, dicen que la lucidez es mala, que es grosera, y que es lasciva….Y por eso no les gusta la canción de Calle 13. Por lúcida. Prefieren cosas como “vota o quédate callao”, o mejor aún, “sencillamente quédate callao”.

That those that preside over the destruction of thinking, say those, those men and women of whom Serrat said “between them and me there is something personal”, that thinking is only good if it is private property or a marketing strategy, they say that lucidity is bad, that it is crude, that it is lewd… that is why they do not like the song from Calle 13. Because it is lucid. They prefer things like “vote or keep quiet”, or better yet, “simply stay quiet.”

The fact that a public official of the JRT was getting involved in the content of a song was categorized as overreaching [es] by @eldifusor, one of the team members of #EnPRofundo [es]:

Lo otro: La Junta de Telecomunicaciones NO ES LA FCC. Son dos entes aparte, la Junta es local y se supone que no se meta con contenidos.

The other thing: The Telecommunications Regulatory Board IS NOT THE FCC. They are two different entities, the board is not supposed to concern itself with content.

He adds [es]:

Mañana llamen: 787-756-0804 y pregunten desde cuando la Junta cambio su función y si el tiempo que pierdan con Calle 13 lo van a cobrar.

Tomorrow call: 787-756-0804 and ask since when the board changed its function and if the time they will lose with Calle 13 will be billed.

@eldifusor argues that because they did not like the song [es] and because of their lack of jurisdiction, they now inform people how to communicate with the FCC [es]:

Esto es un “secreto” bien guardado por Gobierno y emisoras y por eso hacen lo que quieran. ¿Sabes como quejarte con la FCC?

This is a well kept “secret” by the government and broadcasters and that is why they do whatever they want. Do you know how to complaint to the FCC?

Por eso digo que es hipocresía, ahora que hay algo corriendo que no les gusta, “informan” al pueblo y a medias…

That’s why I say this is hypocrisy, now that there is something they do not like, they “inform” the people and they do it halfway…

Twitter user @GabyAviles [es] says all the critics are doing is getting more people to listen to the song:

La crítica solo hará q mas gente la escuche…así q estoy seguro q @calle13 le da la bienvenida

The criticism will only get more people to listen… I am sure that @calle13 will welcome it

Considering the provocative lyrics, perhaps that was the whole idea.

*Photo by crlsblnc taken from Flickr under CC License NC-SA-2.0.

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