The news that USAID has secretly given support to Cuban hip-hoppers could have been conveyed more thoughtfully by Ekot, Svergies Radio. An individual cultural effort for increased democracy may have the potential to giggle, but it is likely that the cultural worker who is prevented from having politically charged messages will hold back the giggle. It writes Henrik G Ehrenberg, KIC.
The echo could recently bring how the American state aid organization USAID should have given support to Cuban hip-hoppers. One can imagine that the news dissemination took place with a certain amount of surprise - and perhaps with a touch of ridiculousness. The foreign press describes the support in slightly different ways - an undermining of the Cuban hip-hop scene, an infiltration or "carelessness".
One could have wished for a slightly more thoughtful reporting. In what can be read in public about support for hip-hop critical of the communist regime, one can trace obvious mistakes.
However, solidarity with independent cultural workers, journalists or popular movements working under the oppression of a dictatorship is anything but careless or ridiculous.
In Cuba, everyone with a different attitude is affected by the regime's judgment, whether you are a musician, actor, journalist, author, lawyer, lay librarian, politically active, human rights activist, union activist or want to organize study circles on topics that are not pleasant for the communist regime. a person". The repression is compact. Your records are not published, your articles are not published, you can not start your own newspapers or book publishers, do not organize a concert, do not rent a room for your educational activities, do not organize workers, do not gather for political talks or let neighbors come and borrow the books undisturbed which is on its own bookshelf.
If you have a job, it is very likely that you will lose it. If you want to visit friends and family in another part of the country, you can be prevented from buying a bus or plane ticket. If you are a student, there is a great risk that you will be expelled from your education. Ultimately, you risk imprisonment and deportation.
When a group of 10-20 from the opposition group "Ladies in White" wanted to organize a gathering to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10, Cuban police intervened and arrested people before they even had time for the demonstration. Faithful protesters are ordered out to silence and slander the participants. In a country with eleven million inhabitants, a demonstration with about 20 participants is an unacceptable problem that must be stopped.
This is what it looks like in many more countries than Cuba. The fact that there are Democrats around the world who want to show solidarity with those who are being ignored, persecuted and imprisoned because they want to live out their human rights is not a problem. It is an asset and - one could argue - a matter of values.
No one should imagine that hordes of American agents who want to recruit randomly selected citizens go to Cuba or other dictatorships. That would be downright inappropriate, if not impossible. You can not turn randomly selected but willing citizens into audience-loved hip-hoppers spiced with social criticism. But if someone from the outside sees how musicians with a socially critical message are treated and what limited opportunities they have to work, it is not entirely unreasonable if he extends his hand and sees if there are opportunities to facilitate, for example, the publication of music or lyrics. Nor is it entirely unreasonable that aid funding can be found to support potential actors in a dictatorship to influence their society to become more democratic.
When the news came that the United States and Cuba were approaching each other diplomatically and economically, it should be borne in mind that no reforms have been implemented - or promised - that extend political rights and guarantee respect for human rights. Cuba is the same police state of GDR average today as before. The biggest obstacle for the Cuban people to increase their wealth and live out their rights has not been US policy and embargo. The greatest obstacle is and remains the dictatorship. It is therefore more important than ever that civil society and political actors have the opportunity to show solidarity with and build ties with the Cubans who want to change their society for the better.
Dictatorship is an obstacle to human rights and to creating a successful fight against poverty. Democracy and human rights are therefore part of development aid. If you highlight an individual effort, it is possible that it may have the potential to giggle. The cultural worker who is prevented from meeting a potential audience and from having politically charged messages, can probably hold back the giggle. And possibly worried about how the outside world plays a part in the dictatorship's set-up and follows its direction.
Henrik G Ehrenberg
Chairman of the Christian Democratic International Center and author of the book "Cuba from within".