Tags: us | cuban | twitter

US Launched Secret Cuban Twitter to Feed Unrest in Communist Country: Report

Image: US Launched Secret Cuban Twitter to Feed Unrest in Communist Country: Report

Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 12:13 PM

By Morgan Chilson

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The U.S. government devised a covert plan five years ago to start a Twitter-like messaging network in Cuba that would undercut the country's Communist government, The Associated Press reported.

The secret project, called "ZunZuneo" (slang for a Cuban hummingbird's tweet), launched in 2009 under the direction of Joe McSpedon, an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the AP said.

USAID reportedly set up ZunZuneo using cellphone text messaging "to evade Cuba's strict control of information and its stranglehold restrictions over the Internet."

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The site initially launched with what was designated as "non-controversial content" to build users, and planned to then start disseminating information to encourage "smart mobs," or quick-gathering masses that would "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society," according to a USAID document.

At one point, more than 40,000 Cubans were using the site without realizing it was a U.S. government site. It is unclear if the project was legal under U.S. law, the news agency said, noting that the president must authorize covert actions. It ended suddenly in 2012.

A spokesperson for USAID told the AP all of its Cuban programs had been looked at by congressional investigators.

"In the implementation, has the government taken steps to be discreet in non-permissive environments? Of course," a representative said. "That's how you protect the practitioners and the public. In hostile environments, we often take steps to protect the partners we're working with on the ground. This is not unique to Cuba."

That explanation didn’t soothe Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont.

"There is the risk to young, unsuspecting Cuban cellphone users who had no idea this was a U.S. government-funded activity. There is the clandestine nature of the program that was not disclosed to the appropriations subcommittee with oversight responsibility," Leahy told the AP.

Reactions to the AP story printed by The Guardian showed mixed support for U.S. actions. One of the least divisive was posted by user JanHolm: "Well, at least no one seems to have been killed in this CIA operation!"

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Cambodia HIV Outbreak: 100-Plus People Diagnosed; Investigation Sought

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 18:50 PM

More than 100 HIV infections in a single Cambodian village have spurred the country's prime minister to ask for an inves . . .

Slender Man Case: Two Girls Competent to Stand Trial in Stabbing

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 18:26 PM

Two girls who allegedly stabbed a 12-year-old friend over the online game Slender Man are competent to stand trial for a . . .

Kate Upton Sexiest Woman Alive; Model Apologizes to Teen Brother

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 17:52 PM

Model Kate Upton was selected as People magazine's first Sexiest Woman Alive, a month after Chris Hemsworth received the . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved