about U.S. operations
in Cuba corroborate
President Raúl Castro’s assertions
President Raul Castro's
denunciations of the United States government's
attempts to destabilize Cuba were corroborated by
the April 3 revelation of a plan to draw Cuban youth
toward counter-revolution, with the participation of
a U.S. government agency.
To undermine Cuban authorities,
Washington planned the creation of a "Cuban Twitter,"
promoted by USAID (U.S. Agency for International
Development), through a network of secretly
organized front companies with financing routed
through offshore banks.
The Associated Press (AP) said today
that it had access to more than a thousand documents
regarding the Zunzuneo communications network,
designed to gain popularity among young Cubans and
later "push them toward dissidence."
The objective of the operation was
to launch a messaging network which could reach
hundreds of thousands of Cubans using non- controversial
content, and popular topics such as soccer, music,
hurricanes and advertising. When this goal was met,
the plan was to begin sending messages with
political content and calls for mass action, which
could unleash a "Cuban spring."
AP reported that the network's users
never knew that the project was created by a U.S.
agency working with the State Department, nor that
U.S. contractors were gathering personal data, in
hopes of using it for political purposes.
On January 1 of this year, on the
occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Cuban
Revolution, President Raul Castro denounced
"attempts to subtly introduce platforms for
neoliberal thought and restoration of neo-colonial
capitalism" in Cuba.
"They are eager to deceptively
market the supposed advantages of disregard for
ideology or social conscience to the youngest
(Cubans), as if such concepts were not fully
reflective of ruling class interests in the
capitalist world," the President said in Santiago de
He emphasized that such efforts were
meant to "induce a break between the historical
leadership of the Revolution and younger
generations, promoting uncertainty and pessimism
about future prospects, all with the clear objective
of dismantling socialism in Cuba from within."
According to the AP report, the
anti-Cuban plan may have violated U.S. law, which
requires written presidential authorization and
notification of Congress to carry out any undercover
operation. At the very least, the evidence would
seem to contradict the arguments long advanced by
USAID about its non-participation in covert action.
The matter is closely related to the
situation of USAID contractor Alan Gross, arrested
in Cuba in 2009 and convicted of engaging in illegal
actions with objectives and procedures very similar
to those of the Zunzuneo operation.
The report emphasizes that USAID and
its contractors made a significant effort to conceal
the project's ties with Washington. To this end,
front companies were established in Spain and bank
accounts in the Cayman Islands, to cover the money
Attempts were also made to hire business executives
without revealing to them that the project was being
financed by the U.S. government.
There will be absolutely no mention
of United States government involvement," said a
memo from Mobile Accord, one of the businesses
contracted for the project. "This is absolutely
crucial for the long-term success of the service and
to ensure the success of the Mission," it added.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont,
chairman of the Senate sub-committee overseeing
State Department and Foreign Operations, said that
the revelations were troubling.
"There is the risk to young,
unsuspecting Cuban cellphone users who had no idea
this was a U.S. government-funded activity," he
pointed out. Also, "There is the clandestine nature
of the program which was not disclosed to the
Appropriations Subcommittee with oversight
responsibility. And there is the disturbing fact
that it was apparently activated shortly after Alan
Gross, a USAID subcontractor who was sent to Cuba to
help provide citizens access to the Internet, was
The plan, which was meant to mobilize and organize
young Cubans to oppose their country's government
lasted from 2009 to 2012, said the AP.
Zunzuneo is yet another in a long
list of secret anti-Cuban operations, ranging from
the Bay of Pigs, through the hundreds of attempts to
assassinate Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders,
and support for other counter-revolutionary bands
who murdered rural residents and teachers.
That list includes terrorist actions
such as the downing of the Cubana de Aviacion
passenger plane in 1976, with 73 people aboard, and
the introduction to Cuba of illnesses such as
hemorraghic dengue and other bio-warfare agents.
The U.S. government finances and
directs anti-Cuban radio and television broadcasts,
and has subjected the country to the longest
economic, financial and commercial blockade in
SPANISH COMPANY WILL REVEAL
INFORMATION ABOUT ANTI-CUBAN NETWORK
The Spanish communications company
Lleida.net has expressed its willingness to release
information about its participation in the ZunZuneo
project, a social network created in Cuba by the U.S.
government, to promote subversive action.
According to an Associated Press
investigation, the project was financed with U.S.
public funds and included a contract with Lleida.net
to send unidentifiable messages to Cuba.
In a communiqué received by Prensa
Latina, LLeida.net denies having participated "in an
active way" in the program which was launched in
2010 and functioned through 2012. The company
expressed its willingness to collaborate in
clarification of the events.
"If at any point, users of
Lleida.net have committed and illegal act,
Lleida.net is, as it had always been, at the
disposition of competent authorities to facilitate
necessary information through legally established
channels," the communiqué stated.
The company argues that as a
telecommunications operator it must abide by privacy
regulations, and cannot verify or modify the content
of messages sent by its clients.
Lleida.net adds that it operates
messaging systems used by thousands of clients
around the world, and functions transparently.
An internet attorney Carlos Sánchez
Almeida, cited by AP, said that the activities
revealed violated Spanish data privacy laws since,
the personal information gathered was used to
illegally develop a list of telephone numbers to
which unsolicited messages were sent from a Spanish