December 16, 2014
(TheAntiMedia) According to a recent report, the US government spent at least four years financing underground hip-hop artists in Cuba, as a means of subverting the Cuban government.
Matt Herrick, spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the agency who ran the program, admitted to the accusations last week.
“It seemed like a good idea to support civil society. It’s not something we are embarrassed about in any way,” he said.
In a later statement, USAID said that it “supports civil society programs in Cuba and other restrictive environments as part of the U.S. government’s overall effort to promote resilient, democratic societies.”
The total amount of money that they spent on the project has yet to be revealed, but the agency claims that Congress was “briefed” on their budget.
The program was initially spearheaded by Serbian contractor Rajko Bozic, but many of the other participants still remain anonymous.
When he arrived in Cuba, Bozic scouted a revolutionary hip-hop group called Los Aldeanos and worked for several months to co-opt their following. Bozic supplied the group with money and opportunities that allowed them to rise in popularity quickly, so they were not very suspicious of his background. Since the fallout of the operation, Los Aldeanos has reportedly moved back to America and toned down their lyrics.
It is not clear how many other agents or how many other artists were involved in this program.
Politicians have been largely silent on the issue, but U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, did make a statement on the subject because he is the chairman of a subcommittee that handles USAID’s budget.
In his statement he said that the program was “misguided and mismanaged.”
“USAID never informed Congress about this and should never have been involved with anything so incompetent and reckless. It was appallingly stupid,” he said.
You can listen to a track from Los Aldeanos below:
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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.
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