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1970s Latin America, Caribbean

1 January 2001

1970’s. Brazil. Os Mutantes
The Brazilian tropicalia band Os Mutantes are censored and monitored by the Brazilian government for stirring up the country’s youth. (The band hasn’t performed together since 1973 but reunited at a show in London at the end of May 2006, and then toured in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.)

December 1977. Argentina and Uruguay. Miguel Angel Estrella.
In the 1970’s the Argentinean classical pianist Miguel Angel Estrella was blacklisted, threatened, arrested/kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured for his humanistic belief in making music accessible for everyone. On 15 December 1977 he was kidnapped by armed individuals in civilian clothes. The incident took place just a couple of days before he was to leave his home in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he was living at the time. The artist was subjected to severe physical and psychological torture that lasted for several days – electric chocks, beatings with rubber truncheons, punches and kicks.
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1972-1979. Argentina. Mercedes Sosa
During a concert in the city of La Plata, Mercedes Sosa was arrested by the Argentinean military and forced into exile. Since 1970 her performances had been suffering constant censorship and the official radios refused to play her songs. Reason: her active opposition to the Argentinean military junta.
Source: www.easybuenosairescity.com

In 1972, Sosa released the socially and politically charged album “Hasta la Victoria” (“Till Victory”). Her sympathies with communist movements and support for leftist parties attracted close scrutiny and censorship at a time when blending politics with music was a dangerous occupation — Jara was tortured and shot to death by soldiers following Chile’s 1973 military coup.
In 1979, a year after being widowed from her second husband, Sosa was detained along with an entire audience of about 200 students while singing in La Plata, a university city hit hard by military rule.
“I remember when they took me prisoner,” she told The Associated Press in late 2007. “I was singing for university kids who were in the last year of veterinary school. It wasn’t political.”
She walked free 18 hours later under international pressure and after paying a $1,000 fine, but was forced to leave her homeland.
“I knew I had to leave,” Sosa told the AP. “I was being threatened by the Triple A (a right-wing death squad that terrorized suspected dissidents during the 1976-83 military junta). The people from the navy, the secret services were following me.”
With three suitcases and a handbag she headed to Spain, then France, becoming a wandering minstrel. Her pianist and musical director, Popi Spatocco, said exile was exceedingly harsh for a woman who loved Argentina.
Source: The Associated Press
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