Cuban who banned Beatles dies

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MARCO WERMAN: In revolutionary Cuba back in the late 1960s, you wouldn't encounter a song like this one on radio or television. It would have been banned, along with everything else produced by the same songwriters. This week, Cuba's state-run TV announced the death of the man responsible for banning songs by the Beatles. His name was Jorge ?Papito? Serguera. He was 76 years old when he died. Serguera was Cuba's head of broadcasting at a time when the Communist authorities in Cuba were carrying out a series of cultural purges. The purges coincided with a period of deepening ties between Cuba and the Soviet Union. Writers and artists who didn't toe the party line were interrogated; many lost their jobs. Others were sent to labor camps, and examples of decadent culture, like miniskirts and the music of the Beatles, were banned. The strict ban didn't last long. In fact, the Beatles became as huge in Cuba as they were everywhere else. Today, there's even a statue of John Lennon in the capital, Havana. Oh, and one other thing ? that Cuban broadcasting chief, Jorge Serguera, in an interview a few years back, admitted that even though he had banned the Beatles from the airwaves, he enjoyed listening to them in private.