How Hip-Hop Helped Obama Get A Foot In Havana, Cuba

(AllHipHop News) Yesterday President Barack Obama landed in Cuba with the First Family and met with Cuban dictator Raul Castro.

In his meeting with the Cuban government, Obama ceremoniously re-opened the U.S. Embassy and also suggested that the U.S. lift the embargo against Cuba that has crippled the island for decades.

But how did all this come together after 95 years? How was Obama able to make this happen on his way out of office?

While much of the Caribbean country remains in a 1950’s time warp (for now), many see youth movements like Hip-Hop as a catalyst for change in Cuba.

According to an article in The Guardian in December of 2014 by Matthew Weaver, U.S. government organization (USAID) was “secretly trying to infiltrate Cuba’s underground Hip-Hop movement, according to records obtained by the Associated Press.”

Spearheaded by government contracted Creative Associates, the goal was to build a network of rappers and a community that wanted social change amongst the youth in order to spark a movement against the Cuban government.

But things didn’t go exactly as planned. As the Guardian article states, the involvement with the Hip-Hop community and USAID nearly “compromised Cuban hip-hop culture.”

The multi-million dollar initiative by (USAID) also included a Twitter strategy to further entice the youth to rebel against the government and a payment of $15,000 for an arts and music festival with musicians opposing the government.

At one point, pressure from the Cuban government stopped musicians from performing at live shows, and “one of the island’s most popular independent music festivals was taken over after officials linked it to USAID.”

Los Aldeanos is one of the groups that was part of this (USAID) assisted movement that specifically faced scrutiny after it’s rhymes took aim at the government.

“People marching blind, you have no credibility / Go and tell the captain this ship’s sinking rapidly.” – Los Aldeanos  on “Long Live Free Cuba”

Los Aldeanos’s frontman, Aldo Rodriguez, faced continued harassment and was eventually arrested for “illegal possession of a computer” after some incendiary statements at live shows.

After numerous run-ins with the government, speaking out at concerts and other events, Los Aldeanos ended up moving to South Florida to seek asylum.

It’s clear the objective of the Obama administration is to make Cuba more transparent than ever before, by enacting the freedom of speech, freedom of press and other rights available in America.

Check it out below as the AP provides coverage of Obama meeting today (March 22) with some of the oppressed that have spoken out against the government of Cuba.

Obama talks about making sure the Cuban people have a voice, despite the fact that the U.S. and Cuba still disagree on a good number of issues related to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


Weaver, Matthew, and Associated Press. “US Agency Infiltrated Cuban Hip-hop Scene to Spark Youth Unrest.” TheGuardian. 10 Dec. 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.

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  • Inmadopicouroz✓QUEENSᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    no,………….just no.

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  • Leonard Tarver

    Communist roles with Communist. Obama aint foolin’ nobody…

    • Yall still scared and worrying about “communists” ?? lmao

      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        that aint the problem – all their diralets and bums coming here is (again)

  • Brook York

    I wonder what hip hop is going to get out of it.

    • yomomma

      another pitbull

      • Brook York

        Lol…not much.

    • They get to see Assata Shakur get Bin Ladened.

      • Brook York

        Smh…hiphop would like to see that. Damn shame.

      • Jay & Bey went first, this pres put her #1 on Most Wanted List after Bin Laden got doubled tapped…ad that in with the Top 10 Reasons he hasn’t done chet for Black people & next pres with a convenient bad guy…… Dafuq Black folks gonna do?

        Sharpton already tried to set her up.
        FarraCON helped kill X.
        Messy Jessy led King to that balcony & pointed in the opposite direction the shot came from.

      • **

  • yomomma

    there might be some cuban rappers that are dope

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  • Q.

    Pay close attention. You see how the U.S. gov’t recognized Hip-Hop as a tool for social change and revolution abroad? Right. The same powers that be are the ones promoting Drake. Young Thug, Migos, Nicki Minaj, et al here at home, to promote the opposite among the youth.

    … And y’all think this sh!t is just about entertainment. Wake up!

    • Let Jay Z & Beyonce travel there….& then put Assata Shakur, Black America’s female Malcolm X….with GUNS, #1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, as she chills in exile in Cuba as a National Treasure.

      They already offered to lift the embargo in exchange for Assata……..
      Black vs African American

      • Q.

        The White House had to back the FBI’s “terrorist” designation to satisfy the establishment–that’s politics. Obama has no reason to pursue Assata further, as a lame duck…I don’t believe they’ll ever get their hands on Assata.

      • True, he just laid the groundwork for Trump or Hillary to get her!
        Could have pardoned her but……?

      • Q.

        Assata is so low on the list of U.S. priorities, I don’t see them successfully extraditing her…if anything, they’re trying to get Cubans on board with this push for the TPP.

      • She’s #1 on the list…replaced Bin Laden.
        That’s like saying King & X were low on U.S. priorities.

        If they offered to lift the embargo in exchange for Assata, she isn’t low on U.S. priorities. No TRUE Black leader is.

      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        wrong – she is no where near as important as King , X , and many more of us Negros

      • Did you base that off of Obama moving her up to #1 on the list???

        Is bama a Negro like YOU or an African ( That sold your Negro @$$ to an ) American?

      • Q.

        Like I said, that’s posturing. Assata isn’t a threat to national security, and never has been. The fact that she’s been upgraded shows that they have no one else to focus on at the moment. LOL Give it a few months.…And Cuba’s never giving her up, so hinging trade on her freedom will be an impasse. The U.S. has a bigger agenda with Cuba than one old lady.

      • So what if it was Trump…think Trump would feel the same?

        The U.S. , through NJ Gov Christine Whitman, ( Trump’s home state? ) who as Head Of the EPA told workers it was save to breath 9/11 air because she RAISED the levels that were considered dangerous ( IE: 10 PPM was dangerous until it hit 50 PPM…so then she changed it to 100PPM???) offered to end embargo over Assata, even got the Pope involved, so you sleeping if you think they aren’t playing chess…instead of checkers.

        The pres pardoned a bunch of dope dealers …but not Assata???

        I know you getting ready to hit me with the Top 10 reasons he hasn’t done chet for Black people, but do you think the next one will…or will they point to him & say :
        “FOH! You had one of your own in & didn’t make him do chet for you!”

      • Q.

        First, I don’t believe any POTUS has Black folks’ interests in mind. Two, If Trump (Drumpf) is elected, all bets would be off, as We, the people will have much bigger problems on the table. However, I highly doubt Drumpf will be elected. With that being said, it’s not like Hillary wouldn’t do the same, but what I’m saying is Cuba is not likely to give up Assata as a bargaining chip, so there will be an impasse if the U.S. presses the issue. The gov can try…but at the end of the day, Assata is not affecting U.S. dollars, so it’s unlikely they’re going to let one individual hinder their bigger agenda. And no, no POTUS would ever, ever, ever pardon anyone deemed a “terrorist.” You already know, that’s against protocol. LOL Obama’s no different. But I would love to be proven wrong,

      • Would love to be wrong too.
        Cuba wouldn’t sell her out under Castro, that’s for sure, but he’s dead now.

        Under his brother?
        Under the next one, that listens to government exported RAP???

      • Q.

        Raul Castro is in charge now. He’s not giving her up. I think it’ll stay that way for the forseeable…They can try to wait out another decade for Raul to die off, hoping for a Cuban leader more compliant with U.S. interests…just to get Assata. That seems impractical. No one’s getting any younger–she may be long gone by then. IJS
        But the funny thing is, regardless of Assata, half of Congress is mad at Obama for dealing with Cuba in the first place.

      • Right & could he have done it with Fidel???

        Could he have done it if he were white with Pam Anderson, Kid Rock & Rock music instead with Jay & Bey & Hip Hop?

        They are playing chess, not checkers & the corporate jet needs two wings to fly, right & left.

        If he isn’t trying to get Assata, why isn’t he trying to address reparations?
        “He isn’t worrying about Assata cuz he’s Black & won’t address reparations because he has to be pres for everybody…”

        She is #1 on the list, could have been taken off the list with just as much effort.

        He isn’t looking out for Black people.

      • Q.

        “He isn’t looking out for Black people.”

        Yeah, we reached that conclusion a long time ago.

      • Aight, so at least you know what it’s hitting for!

      • Q.

        C’mon man, you’ve never heard me tout Obama as the Black Messiah. He’s just the kinder, gentler puppet. Even some common negroes have figured that out by now.

      • I know you know!
        Some still don’t but this proves it!
        His job was to get back into Africa…because a white face couldn’t!