Cuban Artists Respond to AP's Attack

Sunday, December 14, 2014
From Fusion:

People getting all bent out of shape by the idea of USAID funding Cuba’s underground hip-hop scene need to drink a rum and coke and relax, according to a figure at the center of the controversy.

Before critics start to squawk sanctimoniously about the U.S. using hip-hop artists in a plot to destabilize a foreign government through subversive songs, people need to understand the reality of trying to survive as an independent artist in Cuba, says Cuban filmmaker and event producer Diddier Santos.

Santos denies that he or his production company Matraka Productions ever knowingly received funding from the U.S. to support their countercultural music and arts festival in Cuba. “But with that said, who would you rather get money from? The Cuban government who will only give you money if you follow the party line, or another government who will give you creative freedom to do what you want to do?” Santos told Fusion.

“We’ve gotten money from the government of Holland too, and no one ever had an issue with that. It all comes back to this mess that we have between our countries, that [the U.S.] is the ‘enemy’,” he added. “My conscience is clean, but if things were how they should be this [scandal] would have been no big deal. But it’s not, so it’s seen as a treason.”