What Senator Patrick Leahy and the Associated Press aren’t telling you about Cuban Twitter
It’s not often that a U.S. government agency gets caught red-handed abiding by its charter and performing its publicly-avowed and legislatively-approved duties. But last week the AP “broke” a long and breathless story from Havana that nailed the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for just that.
In their own words, “a secret plan aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government,” was courageously exposed by the AP’s intrepid Havana bureau.
Such is the magnitude of the scandal that even as I write, a red-faced and snarling Senator Patrick Leahy is chairing hearings on Capitol Hill, grilling USAID director Rajiv Shah on his agency’s “cockamamie!” plan.
The diabolical cloak and dagger scheme was hatched in 2008 during George Bush’s term, (which may account for Democratic Senator Leahy’s dudgeon) amounted to setting up a “Cuban Twitter” named ZunZuneo (Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s tweet) in order for Cuban youths to text each other without being snooped on by Castro’s KGB-mentored secret police.
Caught your breath back? Yes, amazingly such a scheme somehow escaped the imaginations of Ian Fleming, John Le Carré, and Tom Clancy.
In sum, a brief effort was made (lasting from 2008-12, and involving 68,000 of Castro’s hapless subjects) to allow Cubans (who pre-Castro enjoyed more phones and TVs per-capita than most Europeans) to communicate with each other in the same manner as do teenagers today in such places as Sudan, Papua New Guinea, and Laos.
Understandably this scheme to facilitate a tiny window of freedom for a tiny fraction of their subjects greatly alarmed Cuba’s communist rulers.
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