The U.S. government has once again been caught trying to subvert Cuba’s sovereignty. The news agency AP has just revealed a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) covert operation to infiltrate Cuban society with young people from Latin America, recruit “apathetic” youth and turn them into anti-government counterrevolutionary forces.
According to the AP, the campaign was launched in late 2009. Fortunately, it failed in its aims and was abandoned after Cuban security and patriotic Cubans detected the subversive operation.
USAID was instituted under the Kennedy administration. Along with the Alliance for Progress and the U.S. Peace Corp, all begun in 1961, these entities were part of the U.S. public strategy to counter the influence of the new Cuban Revolution and rising popular struggles throughout Latin America.
Although USAID has been touted giving health, disaster and food assistance, the aid is always tied to U.S. political influence and demands.
In recent years, USAID has played a stepped-up role in fostering opposition groups within countries of progressive or revolutionary bent. Using billions of dollars, money is funneled, often secretly, into countries that refuse to bow to U.S. imperialism.
The aim is overthrow, by financing the formation of opposition groups, and organizing inside the target country to create disturbances and destabilization. Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia have been heavily targeted by USAID schemes. Last year Bolivia’s president Evo Morales ordered the expulsion of USAID.
According to documents uncovered by AP, the agency contracted Creative Associates International to carry out the program. CAI is the same company that hired a U.S. contractor, Alan Gross, to bring sophisticated communications equipment secretly into Cuba and establish an underground network undetectable by the Cuban government. This network was then to be used by counterrevolutionaries for whatever plans the U.S. directed.
Gross was arrested in December 2009, tried and convicted in a Cuban court of subverting the country’s sovereignty, and is serving a 15-year sentence. Amazingly, despite Gross’s arrest, CAI continued soon after with the “youth recruitment” program.
Earlier, in April 2014, AP’s investigation exposed another program, of USAID attempting to create a social media site “ZunZuneo,” aimed at subversion. To try to hide the U.S. government’s fingerprints, Zunzuneo was routed through several countries, from Latin America to Europe to Cuba.
That plan too failed.
As the latest revelation shows, Creative Associates and USAID hired young people from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to enter Cuba posing as tourists and use the guise of HIV prevention seminars to find Cuban youth who could later be turned into agents of regime change.
The agents were to check in with their officials every 48 hours using encrypted emails systems like Hushmail. Their reports focused on in-depth bios of personalities, traits, and leadership capabilities of the Cuban youth they befriended. According to AP they spoke using coded phrases like “I have a headache” which would mean “we suspect we are being monitored and will temporarily abstain from carrying out the objectives of the trip.”
According to AP the “Obama administration defended its use of the HIV-prevention workshop for its Cuban democracy-promotion efforts.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it “enabled support for Cuban civil society, while providing a secondary benefit of addressing the desires Cubans express for information and training about HIV prevention.”
The statements from the White House insult the intelligence of the people.
Democracy obviously does not come through covert actions, subversion, espionage, or from people who don’t even live in the society concerned.
In reality this had nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with imperialist domination. For centuries the U.S. has tried to control the markets of Latin American countries for its own enrichment. This recent scenario is only the latest episode in the long history of the U.S. trying to overthrow the people’s revolutionary government in Cuba.
The Cubans are familiar with these kinds of subversive plots. They place this case within the bigger picture of a class war. A statement published in Granma, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, read: “[T]his new subversive project… [is] part of Unconventional Warfare strategy which has gained popularity in recent years. This form of warfare seeks to realize the goals of domination and regime change in countries that the U.S. considers contrary to its interests. This is done without direct involvement of traditional forces on the ground.”
Although we have seen these kinds of actions before from the U.S. government, the character of this case is particularly appalling. Using something as important as health education in a world where people are suffering or dying from HIV is shameful. It threatens the existence of legitimate HIV-prevention programs. It takes the world backwards and away from eliminating HIV. Furthermore, the insidious tactics of these agents to befriend Cubans, worm their way into communities, and use information against them was underhanded and treacherous.
But where imperialism is concerned shame has no effect on its actions. The imperialists have no conscience, only an insatiable drive for domination and wealth. They lie to the people of the United States by portraying U.S. foreign aid like USAID as helping people but instead it is secretly re-routed to political warfare. That’s why we must become vigilant and join the movement against imperialism in all of its forms.