Sponsored hip-hop


[Muffled Rap Music Playing in the Distance]
You’ve probably never heard of Rebel Diaz, a hip-hop group from NYC’s South Bronx, whose music is top-heavy with ñángara politics.

Days ago, they released a new tribute to the late Hugo Chávez. In “Work like Chávez”, they didn’t just remember him but imply in its lyrics that the U.S. somehow killed him.

Rebel Diaz used the song to show their gratitude to Chávez, who visited the Bronx in 2005 and started providing low-cost heating oil there and to other U.S. cities shortly after.

CITGO, the big oil corporation owned by PDVSA also started to support social programs in the Bronx thorugh its non-profit Simón Bolívar Foundation. One of its main beneficiaries in 2011 and 2012 was the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC-BX), a arts community center which gives “…performances, educational workshops, and multi-media training.”

Whoddathunkit? The ñángara rappers were on a cancillería payroll.

In truth, their hold on the petroteat seems to have been tenuous. Right now, the RDAC-BX is without a home, as they were evicted last month by NYPD officers from a formerly abandoned warehouse after constant clashes with its landlord. The eviction comes after not paying six months of rent and multiple complains over graffiti in the building and nearby areas.

Maybe they figured a little bit of  “sponsored hip hop” will be just the thing to make their HQ woes disappear.

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  1. Up until now Capriles has somehow managed to convince a good section of the international media that he’ll be the Venezuelan version of Lula.

    Then Lulu Da Silva goes and does this:


    Now I don’t know if that will change media coverage (I doubt it) it sure loses Capriles the Venezuelan Lula lover’s vote.

    Maybe Capriles should actually come up with a campaign platform instead of pretending to be people he’s not?

    • “Maybe Capriles should actually come up with a campaign platform instead of pretending to be people he’s not?”
      I guess Maduro would argue against that, having his whole political plataform completely built upon Chavez’s image and (literal) body.

      • Maduro es Chavez.

        Also sad to see that Lula is stepping up to make sure Chavismo stays in power, I don’t blame him given how mightily Brazilian business interests have benefited, but it’s still sad.

    • Lula is known to have followed the liberal economic policies of his predecessor while adding a social touch to improve the life of the poorest (poor mothers get an stipend for sending their children to school , for taking them to medical check ups for example) . So much so that in a filmed interview his predecessor when asked about lulas economic policies had to admit that they were faultless even if politically they had been fierce rivals The thing is that as everyone knows Lula’s party has a radical left wing which Lula has to appease while following in practice policies which are liberal , he does this by following an international policy which underlines his simpathy for figures like chavez and castro . this also allows him to make Brasil seem like the latam leader it aspires to be by uniting left centre and right wing regional governments arround its international image and in passing opens good business opportunities for Brasilian corporations in Venezuela which is helping them reap big profits from their venezuelan ventures (Odebrecht) . When Capriles says he intends to follow Lula type policies he is saying that he will apply the same kind of succesful economic and social measures that Lula applied in Brasil , which has nothing to do with being simpathetic .to those things which Lula very cunnigngly says in public to curry the favour of his radical left wing allies and to win the economic business advantages that his sponsorship of Chavez regime grants Brasilian big business corporations in Venezuela !! .

      • Lula is more radical than you think, but imagine how difficult a revolution would be in Brazil. Would there be an electoral majority? I think Lula did what he could within the available parameters, but would have loved to take on the capitalists.

        • Lula said he would take on the capitalists and then did not, so I think your silly revisionist history is full of it. What Lula did was realize that the well being of the people was more important than ideology and that ideology has never delivered. So, he decided to deliver. Contrast that with Dilma, who by emphasizing ideology has taken Brazil in a short time in a path of no growth which is hurting people.

        • You just demonstrate the genius of Lula. He follows the liberal economic policies of his predecessor, yet gets credit from “revolutionaries” like Yoyo. Obama wishes he could do that on the international stage!

          • Exacto, the guy squared the circle!

            What these guys don’t get is that allegiance to chavismo has always been the cheapest possible bone he can throw to his crazies: a nearly costless way to shore up the legions of Fidel nostalgics in the PT and sustain his reputation as a radical without in any way penning him in on, y’know, actual policy matters. The guy really is brilliant!

          • So if Lula isn’t anti-capitalist and doesn’t need Venezuelan oil, can you give me the benefit of your wisdom as to why he’s doing propaganda for a communist candidate?

          • It’s a halfway plausible theory, but not that plausible. Dilma doesn’t get many votes for what Lula says about other countries’ leaders.

          • Perhaps, he’s just covering all bases to keep VE’s business: If maduro wins, BR will only get VE’s business if he speaks in favor of chavismo, whereas if Capriles wins, BR will get VE’s business no matter what he says.

            Or, perhaps, he’s just paying back a favor, or, worse, avoiding the spilling of dark secrets of old.

            Regardless, OW’s insidiousness is obvious: why does Lula’s opinion of maduro change Capriles’s stance regarding wanting to model after some of Lula’s policy, some of chavez’s policy, and some of his own? Again, he’s adopting the typical communist tactic of preemptively accusing others of what they themselves are guilty, in this case, pretending to be something their not and having no platform, which is maduro to a t.

          • Lula ain’t dumb, he wants the desnalgue called socialismo del siglo XXI to keep going, he knows the venezuelan government disastrous economic policies equals more brazilian imports, on top of that, if said imports are paid for in oil, well, what else can he ask for?

        • On this I agree with yoyo: I think Lula practiced realpolitik (played his hand as best he could) but he is not a capitalist at heart, or, more accurately put, he does not like the current interpretation of capitalism played out in latam.

          • Whatever Lulas personal opinions or motives (which are only known to himself) history has given his name to a brand of governance which is viewed by many as as both economically succesful and socially fair . Its not really important whether in the innermost recesses of Lulas mind he fully likes the system his deeds have created because the system has now an historical life of its own , its own identity and style which have caught the attention of many Latin americans and which offers a stark contrast to that sponsored by Chavez.

          • Bill: I think you are wrong that Lula’s personal opinions don’t matter. To these guys it’s not just about elevating standards of living by so-and-so much in 5 years. They have to win elections, and that’s where realpolitik comes in. But ideology is still a guiding force in dictating goals, if not the immediate strategy. In fact what I am saying is consistent with what Quico has repeated many times: when looked at in slowmo you hardly notice the changes in Venezuela, but if you look at the country over longer span changes are more dramatic. And the direction actually matters more than the short term changes. You elect a president to set the immediate agenda but also the long-term course of the country.

          • We both seem to have a lot of time in our hands , but lets attempt to explain ourselves , I agree that if youre fanatically ideologized opinions do matter , and thats probably the case for some of the regimes leaders in Venezuela , but sometimes experience changes your view of things , you learn things while in power that you did not know before , you still suit your discourse to realpolitik demands but in your behaviour and practical attitudes your are no longer a fanatic but a practical man. Take the case of Deng Tsiao Ping , he was the most radical of Communists becoming more and more pragmatic as time passed but being careful to maintain his ortodox chinese discourse for a long time . I suspect thats the case of Lula , he was for instance very adamant in that he did not believe getting reelected forever did any good something which Chavez evidently did not believe in. But even if your view of Lula is right , the form of governance he created now posseses an attraction for people that is independent of what he may intimately feel about it , so that even if he tells his followers that he wants to change that form of governance for a more radical one , lots of people will not follow him because they like that form of governance for itself !! Hes lost control of his child , its no longer a vehicle of deceit , but a self sustained principle of government people like and respect !!

          • This exchange is affecting my productivity a slight bit :>) but this seems as good a time as ever to have this sort of dialogue.

            I will agree with you that Lula does not have the autocratic aura of Chavez but his meddling in Venezuela’s politics is not easily explained. To follow your reasoning as an alternative to my earlier argument I guess I would call Lula’s baking of Maduro his “bet on the likely winning horse”. Which if true doubly lowers my opinion of him, at least before I thought he was principled, now he just seems an opportunist.

          • feo, don’t forget lula could be getting paid. And I hope you notice how none of the chavistas are speaking against lula’s meddling into Venezuelan elections, whereas mere comments regarding hoping that the elections are free and fair from other nations receive time at the national assembly to officially condem them.

  2. These “rebellious chavistas” youths like for example the guys from zurda konducta (Or whatever its spelled) Dame pa matala, and in this case, this Rebel Diaz group, have always managed to crack me up, they are a “contradicción ambulante”.
    On one hand, you have the leftist rethoric of resistance against the capitalistic values of the US and their imperialists allies, on the other hand, you have them wearing Ray-bans, using their Iphones to post some new popular meme on their facebook walls, reserving their copy of Skyrim on Amazon, the list goes on and on.

      • Well, let’s not blame it on advertising. The masters of class consciousness, Chavista officials, enjoy iPhones, Blackberries, luxury watches and luxury cars as well. They aren’t being superficial, these youths are just imitating their leaders! I’m sure they’re wise to the influence of corporate advertising. After all, if they were so weak minded as to purchase an iPhone just because they saw advertisements, it would cast doubt on their other “revolutionary” stances as nothing more than the result of some clever paid advertising (eg. Venezuela information center, Citizens Energy, Telesur etc.).

        They’re not exactly Warren Buffet, who still lives in the same modest house and eats cheap meals on the go.

  3. they were evicted last month by NYPD officers from a formerly abandoned warehouse after constant clashes with its landlord.

    That is an exceptional event. It is VERY difficult to evict someone in NYC.

  4. We tend to take peoples ‘public postures’ at face value instead of looking at the motives behind the posturing , a little noted phenomena is the recreational use that people make of the profession of radical ‘eye catching’ ideology (or religion) to present themselves as special or different from every one else , as morally superior or heroic , as deserving of admiration . This is done in the same spirit that a frivolous person says or wears something outrageous or a bit scandalous to call every ones attention to itself , to convince themselves that they are not mediochre or common . I tend to believe that although the venal incentive does help people adopt certain political postures, those incentives are secondary to the narcicistic kick that they get theatrically posing as the partisans of some ‘noble’ and ideologically glamourous cause . The hip hop groups mentioned in this blog are very likely to fall under this sorry human category !!

    • The human psyche can be difficult to deconvolute. But that aside, I think these guys are really angry young men with little education. Dress code and behavior can serve to identify you as member of a group and as status symbol within the group. To people outside of the group it might just seem ludicrous

      • Quite right in your comment feo, but perhaps when thinking of these young mens anger we can also recognize the existence of a “recreational anger”, an anger that is self induced because of the gratifyig and exciting effect it has in your mood and sense of self worth. Nietszche once wrote “how well does bad music and bad speeches sound when you march against an enemy” which translates into “Confrontation is such fun that any excuse is good to engage in it”, Much of the anger and indignation in the world is basically fake, concocted by the mind to experience the excitement of confrontation. Chavez was very skilled in politically exploiting this very human taste for ‘recreational anger’.

        • I disagree with you that the anger is merely recreational. Many of these guys come from troubled communities, there is nothing fake about the anger that unemployment, crime, health issues, an impoverished education and culture, a lack of future prospects will trigger. Now there is a degree of dramatization, I agree – the recreational aspect – to it. That is the whole point of seeking an “artistic” (believe me, it is painful to use the term wrt hiphop) outlet. It’s the same with many other forms of “art,” they tap our emotional side. On the other hand, I do agree that it is an anger in search of an enemy, and the intellectual process that leads to selection of a particular target or “solution” is not usually very profound. Right (neo-nazi) or left-wing it’s basically the same.

          • Well feo your comments are certainly making my neurons tingle which I like , I agree with you that life conditions often make people angry and frustrated ( to me thats a normal part of life for most people ) what I suspect (note the word) is that while the initial anger is ‘real’ its magnification or glamorization or histrionization is inspired by peoples taste for ‘recreational’ or theatrical emotions’. Maybe the same thing you see with different words.

    • One thing that I agree is that pensioners don’t have to make long lines outside the banks under the sun anymore. #CommonSense

      • Agreed, but the advantages go much further than mere customer service. The higher efficiency has direct and indirect repercussions in other aspects of society and the economy.

  5. Dearest Rebel Diaz, Please. It’s a shame you guys have been bought and paid for by the current Venezuelan government’s propaganda machine. Someday you will open your eyes and see the truth behind Chávez phony revolution. The answers to the difficult questions of justice and equality are not as simple as Chávez “revolutionary” talking points would have you believe. He has merely pulled the wool over your eyes (and paid for your rap video) to help build international support to help him and his cronies stay in power. Socialism be damned, these guys are in it for themselves. Believe it.

  6. Just a couple of spics acting stupid and making life hard for the rest of us. Clearly our deportation process needs to be tightened up.

    A fuera con los ilegales.


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