Hip-hop has emerged as the latest covert weapon in the US government's hapless attempts to unseat Cuba's communist government.
Like its previous efforts, including exploding cigars, Cuban Twitter and the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, the attempt to co-opt rappers ended in ignominious failure, new documents have shown.
For more than two years, the American development aid organisation USAid has been secretly trying to infiltrate Cuba's underground hip-hop movement, according to records obtained by the Associated Press.
The idea was to use Cuba's rappers "to break the information blockade" and build a network of young people seeking "social change" to spark a youth movement against the government of President Raul Castro.
The operation followed a familiar pattern to other tactics in America's secret war in Cuba – it was amateurish and profoundly unsuccessful.
On at least six occasions, Cuban authorities detained or interrogated people involved in the operation. They also confiscated computer hardware, which in some cases contained information that endangered Cubans who are thought to have had no idea they were caught up in the clandestine programme.
The USAid operation also ended up compromising Cuba's vibrant hip-hop culture, which has produced some of the hardest-hitting grassroots criticism since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
Musicians that USAid contractors tried to promote left the country or stopped performing after pressure from the Cuban government, and one of the island's most popular independent music festivals was taken over after officials linked it to USAid.
The programme is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine the Cuban government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports.
The work included the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous revelations.
USAid denied that the programme was covert. In a statement, it said it was aimed at strengthening civil society "often in places where civic engagement is suppressed and where people are harassed, arrested, subjected to physical harm or worse". Creative Associates has yet to comment.
At first, the hip-hop operation was run in Cuba by Serbian contractor Rajko Bozic. His project was inspired by the protest concerts of the student movement that helped undermine former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.
Contractors would recruit scores of Cuban musicians for projects disguised as cultural initiatives but really aimed at boosting their visibility and stoking a movement of fans to challenge the government.
Bozic focused much of his efforts on Los Aldeanos, a hip-hop group frustrated by official pressure and widely respected by Cuban youth for its hard-hitting lyrics.