Thousands of pages document USAID efforts to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop underground scene to build a social network of young people seeking social change.
An investigation conducted by The Associated Press revealed an undercover plan by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to destabilize the Cuban government by infiltrating Cuba’s underground hip-hop scene.
A number of documents, including contracts, e-mails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power point documents, photographs and passports, were obtained by the AP, which revealed that the USAID, through the Washington D.C. based company Creative Associates International, financed for over two years a program to create a subversive rap and hip-hop movement against the Cuban government.
The operation was first run in 2009 in Cuba by a Serbian contractor named Rajko Bozic, who recruited the famous Cuban hip-hop duo “Los Aldeanos,” who is well known in the Island for its protest lyrics and very respected by the Cuban youth.
The U.S. contractors wanted to recruit as many underground artists as possible to fund anti-government music projects in order to create a movement among fans, disguised as a cultural movement, to challenge the government, and to build a network of young people seeking “social change.”
The USAID inspired its hip-hop destabilization program on the protest hip-hop and rap concerts in Serbia, which eventually led to the outset of the former President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Bozic took part in the Serbian protests.
According to the documents, Creative Associates International funded a TV show starring Los Aldeanos and distributed on DVD to avoid Cuban censorship. The U.S. company used a Panamanian company and a bank in Lichtenstein to fund the TV show and other initiatives without being traced by the Cuban government.
Other initiative pushed by the infiltrators were to fund music festivals in Cuba for Los Aldeanos to play alongside other artists, and according to the reports, to train the hip-hop duo “to focus them a little more on their role as agents of social mobilization.”
Also, in September 2009, when the Colombian musician, Juanes announced he was going to give a concert in Cuba, Creative Associates International held a meeting to gather ideas to persuade Juanes to let Los Aldeanos perform with him. And although, Los Aldeanos didn’t perform at Juanes concert, they were photographed with him after the concert; and the contractors were pleased with the photograph because the support of a “major celebrity” would protect Los Aldeanos from state pressure.
Other secret operations of USAID through their contractors, revealed by the documents, was the founding and creation of “Zunzuneo,” a secret online platform, commonly regarded as the “Cuban twitter.”