File - In this April 23, 2010 photo, members of Los Aldeanos, Aldo Rodriguez, left, and Bian Rodriguez, center, perform in concert at the Acapulco Theater in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo)
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A U.S. agency's secret infiltration of Cuba's underground hip-hop scene to spark a youth movement against the government was "reckless" and "stupid," Sen. Patrick Leahy said Thursday after the Associated Press revealed the operation.On at least six occasions, Cuban authorities detained or interrogated people involved in the program; they also confiscated computer hardware that in some cases contained information that jeopardized Cubans who likely had no idea they were caught up in a clandestine U.S. operation. The Washington-based contractor also led other efforts aimed at undermining Cuba's communist government, including a secret Cuban Twitter text messaging service and an operation that sent in young inexperienced Latin American "tourists" to recruit a new generation of activists.Working for U.S.-funded groups is illegal in Cuba and Cubans recruited for the hip-hop program were not told they were partnering with American-backed contractors.In the end, the USAID program accomplished the opposite of what it intended, compromising Cuba's vibrant hip-hop culture.Within months, a USAID contractor told his handlers that the Cubans said USAID had infiltrated the festival, and soon enough the Cubans took it over.
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