Segments in this Video

Reality in Cuba (04:08)


This documentary was filmed by independent artists using hidden cameras. View footage of the Cuban Revolution and of Havana in 1959 and in 2013. Hear a song by Los Aldeanos about political and social problems. (Credits)

Los Aldeanos (02:45)

Havana teenagers express their love of the underground rap group. Bian and Aldo explain the ideas and inspiration behind their music; they give away CDs on the street.

Criticizing a Failed Political System (02:51)

Los Aldeanos give away CDs at concerts. See them perform a song about poverty and hardship in Havana. Aldo and Bian are not afraid of being arrested for speaking the truth.

Contribution to Cuban Rap (02:41)

Silvito says the government does not allow children to think for themselves; they grow up frustrated and angry. Los Aldeanos broke the silence on social issues that Cubans discuss in private. Aldo's mother Addes worries that he will be targeted by the authorities.

Consequences of Challenging Censorship (02:11)

In Holguin City, filmmakers meet Adis Nidia Cruz, the mother of two political prisoners. Her sons were arrested for listening to Los Aldeanos in public while waving the Cuban flag.

Reflecting Society (02:16)

Bian and Aldo are against the failed system, not against individuals. They are banned from performing in Havana, but most young people listen to them anyway. Sometimes smaller towns let them play.

Underground Rap "Tour" (04:21)

Los Aldeanos hitchhike from Havana to perform in a town called Consolation. The club owner reluctantly allows them to play, but cuts the music during the first song. Police gather to control their fans; a patriotic man warns them against political expression.

Parents of Los Aldeanos (03:11)

Aldo's mother is frustrated that her son is famous abroad but censored in Cuba; his aunt says his lyrics are too strong. Bien's father discusses his lack of fear of consequences for criticizing the revolution.

Punishment for Listening to Los Aldeanos (03:14)

In Holguin City, Adis describes police brutality during her sons' arrest. She fears for their lives, as political prisoners. The underground rap duo expresses poverty and injustice endured by most Cubans.

Rap as War (04:04)

Aldo and Bian see their music as a weapon against the Cuban regime. Hear a song about corruption and oppression and see images of poverty in Havana.

Bien's Family Life (03:35)

Bian's mother was a poet; she inspired him to write lyrics. He and his wife are expecting a baby, and have moved in with his father. Bian paints the nursery.

Aldo's Family Life (02:56)

Aldo's great aunt raised him while his mother worked to support the family. He and Bian started writing and recording songs immediately after they met.

Shooting a Video (03:33)

Bian and Aldo sample "Say My Name" in a song. They discuss how hip hop culture relates to their struggle against poverty and oppression. Community members break dance at a freestyle session.

Targeted by Cuban Authorities (01:55)

Two months after the Cruz brothers' arrest for listening to Los Aldeanos, Adis' request to post their bail has been rejected. She and her husband have been harassed by undercover police and "patriotic" neighbors; their home has been vandalized.

"Viva Cuba Libre" (02:21)

Los Aldeanos' new album is out on the streets. Bian and Aldo admit it could get them in real trouble with authorities. Hear the title track calling for a new revolution.

Government Crackdown (02:43)

Addes describes how the police raided her home after "Viva Cuba Libre" was released. One song openly declares "war" on the state. They arrested Aldo and confiscated his laptop, but released him the next day.

Preparing for Fatherhood (03:19)

Bian and his wife collect baby clothing for a girl, but the latest ultrasound shows a boy. Her pregnancy is high risk, and doctors say she could miscarry. He stays with her in the hospital, rather than performing at a show.

Exposing Rural Poverty (03:33)

Aldo and Silvito take a bus to a show outside Havana. The filmmaker interviews police about using cameras for political reasons. During a rest stop, Aldo and Silvito meet residents of a shantytown hidden from tourist view.

Marginalized Cubans (02:51)

Residents of a rural shantytown have been failed by the system. One man was jailed for selling tobacco; children go hungry while their mother is in prison for trying to feed them. Their community is kept hidden from tourists.

Challenging Authorities (02:52)

A policeman aboard Aldo and Silvito's bus arrests them for filming. They are held for six hours and released without explanation. They hitchhike and get drunk in a truck bed.

Negotiating a Venue (03:03)

Bian's wife feels better; he joins Aldo in a provincial town. Local authorities try to restrict them to a small space, but fans overwhelm the main square. The duo is granted a large theater.

Los Aldeanos in Concert (02:41)

Bian and Aldo perform "Viva Cuba Libre" in a provincial town for thousands of fans.

A Baby Aldeano (02:37)

Bian and Lyda's son is born. Bian wants him to live in freedom and achieve his dreams.

Epilogue (01:41)

Aldo dedicates a song to the Cruz brothers. They are sentenced to five years for listening to Los Aldeanos. Since this film was completed, Aldo and Bian have moved to Florida to escape government harassment. In 2014, Obama began to normalize relations with Cuba.

Credits: Viva Cuba Libre (00:42)

Credits: Viva Cuba Libre

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Viva Cuba Libre

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $509.85
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



A hard-hitting Cuban rap group takes on the Cuban state. They appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. Their protest lyrics are catching on like wildfire, resonating with discontented Cubans. They get no airtime and their young fans face persecution from the police. An edgy, dangerous documentary with a powerful soundtrack. Viva Cuba Libre casts an unflinching eye over the troubling reality of modern-day Cuba.

Length: 73 minutes

Item#: BVL118401

ISBN: 978-1-64023-004-0

Copyright date: ©2015

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Not available to Home Video customers.