Human Interest

US rapper sparks controversy in Cuba

Havana, Feb 17 (EFE).- Cuba was abuzz Friday with reactions to a visiting hip hop singer from the United States who purportedly tossed money off a hotel balcony to a crowd of hundreds of fans.

Video of the episode shows hundreds of people running toward the Grand Packard Iberostar on Havana’s Paseo del Prado as what appears to be cash rains down.

Fans of 6ix9ine – the stage name of Daniel Hernandez – learned from social media that he was staying at the hotel and flocked to the spot.

The 26-year-old New Yorker has a history of handing out $100 bills to fans, but it remains unclear whether the person on the balcony was 6ix9ine or if the bills were genuine.

In an Instagram post Friday, the artist shared a video of a man saying, “I ain’t go no money, that money you be seeing me with on Instagrams that be fake money, props.”

Hernandez, a former gang member, has a criminal record that includes convictions for use of a child in a sexual performance and racketeering and admitted to having abused an ex-girlfriend.

Police acted quickly to disperse the crowd outside the hotel, but Cuba’s cell-phone network went down at around the same time and state telecoms provider Etecsa took several hours to restore connectivity.

The stunt drew criticism from Cubadebate, an official online outlet.

“Not even Elvis Presley himself returned to life can come to Havana to put on those shows that humiliate (Cubans),” editor Randy Alonso Falcon wrote. “If he wants to be generous with his money, there are other ways and purposes.”

Cuba, where median pay is less than $30 a month, is currently experiencing shortages of basic goods and rampant inflation.

The Communist-ruled island’s economic woes have worsened in recent years with the intensification of the US embargo under Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic, which crippled tourism. EFE jce/dr

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