Cuban Activists Rally Around Drunken YouTube Ranter

Man thrown in prison for video plea for food
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2009 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Cuban activists have found an unlikely cause celebré in the case of Juan Carlos González Marcos, who was sent to prison last month for drunkenly interrupting a shoot for a video about reggaeton with a rant about hunger. González was drinking, as he often did, at his neighborhood park in Havana, when he spotted a camera crew. He ran into the frame. “What we need here is a little bit of jama,” he cried, using the Cuban slang for food. “Go ahead and tape me! Jama!

The video became a smash hit on YouTube, was shown on Hispanic TV in Miami, and made the cover of several magazines. A later video showed a drunken González dancing in the streets, singing that the police would put him away. They did. He was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for “pre-criminal social endangerment,” a charge usually reserved for political dissidents. Human rights groups are working to free him, and think he could get a new trial.