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Sound/Systems #03: USAID vs Cuban Hip-Hop

2 March 2021

In 2009, USAID sent a Serbian music promoter to Cuba in an attempt to foment an anti-Castro uprising. The PR-turned-agent recruited an unwitting rising star in the Havana rap scene, Aldo Rodriguez (aka El Aldeano), to take part in the slipshod operation. This episode of Sound/Systems tells the whole tale, which also implicates Belgrade’s famous music festival Exit and a half-cooked scheme to launch a Cuban Twitter to provoke a “color revolution”-style overthrow. Elissa contextualizes this odd story as the latest development in the long history of US counterinsurgency against Fidel Castro’s movement and regime, and she analyzes the Cuban state’s cultural policies in light of US subversion.

Playlist

Orishas - Represent
Anónimo Consejo & Debie - Sueño Americano
El Aldeano - Carta Al Presidente
El Aldeano & Silvito - El Libre Cuba
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
El Aldeano - Hotel Nacional
Obsesión - Los Pelos
Orishas - A Lo Cubano
Pablo Milanés y el Grupo De Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC - Si El Poeta Eres Tu

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