The Yanquis, the Rappers, and the Communist Regime

How 'help' can cripple a movement


How not to overthrow a dictatorship, if you give a damn about the people you're supposedly helping:

Pathfinder Press

In early 2009, a U.S. government contractor sent a Serbian music promoter to Cuba with these covert marching orders: Recruit one of Havana's most notorious rappers to spark a youth movement against the government.

In communist Cuba, it was a project that could have landed Rajko Bozic in jail. So when he made his pitch to team up with hip hop artist Aldo Rodriguez, Bozic left out the part about his true intentions—or that he was working for the U.S. Agency for International Development….

Documents show USAID repeatedly put innocent Cubans and its own operatives in jeopardy despite warning signs. Authorities detained or interrogated musicians or USAID operatives at least six times, often confiscating their computers and thumb drives, which in some cases contained material linking them to USAID.

Instead of sparking a democratic revolution, it compromised an authentic source of protest that had produced some of the hardest-hitting grassroots criticism since Fidel Castro took power in 1959, an AP investigation found.

That's from the Associated Press's latest story about Washington's efforts to spark a people-power revolt in Cuba. Like the AP's previous reports on the subject, it's an object lesson in how outside "help" can cripple rather than strengthen a dissident cause.

For more on Washington's poorly conceived activities in Cuba, go here. For more on rebellious Cuban music, go here. And just to show that these issues are not new, here's an 11-year-old AP dispatch about USAID's activities on the island, in which "some veteran activists say the money only gives Fidel Castro's government ammunition to persecute dissidents, such as the 75 sentenced in recent days for allegedly conspiring with the United States."