U.S. Government Tried To Use Hip-Hop To Overthrow Cuban Government

Castro has survived eleven U.S. presidents -- you think rap music was going to take him down? 
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Castro has survived eleven U.S. presidents -- you think rap music was going to take him down? 
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Cuba, the beautiful island nation that has somehow managed to maintain its communist revolution despite repeated attempts by the U.S. to end it, has weathered yet another brilliant plot by the American government to foment dissent – this time, a nefarious hip-hop conspiracy.

According to a sprawling investigative piece by the Associated Press, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ostensibly an organization meant to distribute the charity and largesse of the American people (with a large side helping of love for the capitalist system), partnered with a Serbian music producer in an attempt to have Cuban rappers promote messages critical of the Castro regime.

“USAID's secret Cuban hip-hop project sought to spread democracy,” the AP writes, “but like other U.S. operations on the island, it was executed by amateurs.”

The report then goes on to highlight the countless missteps by the U.S. government and its shell production companies, which, shockingly, failed to weaponize hip-hop. This comes months after another AP investigation that revealed U.S. operatives trying to create a Cuban version of Twitter to help chasten regime change.

Highlights of the government’s failed foray into revolutionary rap include:

  • Hiring a Serbian music producer to help recruit underground rap artists who were critical of the Cuban Government and giving this producer an enormous budget to do so.
  • Flying the rappers to Serbian to learn from Serbians how to motivate young people into becoming politically active.
  • Getting caught repeatedly entering Cuba with recording equipment and computers that clearly connected the U.S. government to the hip-hop groups.
  • Taking over a successful Cuban music festival and trying to steer it towards becoming a movement for regime change.
  • Trying to recruit members of Raul Castro’s own family to help produce a festival that would highlight artists critical of the Cuban government.

The whole article is really worth a read. Maybe next time the government decides to spend millions of dollars overthrowing a government, they should just leave hip-hop out of it. Or, if they are truly committed to a hip-hop revolution, how about just air-dropping copies of Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About The Benjamins”?

Photos by AP Photo