Ever since the people’s victory in 1959, U.S. imperialism has made it a top priority to overthrow the Cuban Revolution and bring back the old elite. The recently-exposed ZunZuneo scandal, the so-called Cuban Twitter, is just the latest chapter in this ongoing effort.
ZunZuneo is the name given to a social networking platform that was largely a replica of Twitter, set up in 2010 by the United States Agency for International Development and contractors hired by the agency. The purpose was to build a base of unsuspecting Cuban users, and then introduce rumors and misinformation to destabilize the country’s socialist government.
As revealed in a recent Associated Press investigation, the operators of ZunZuneo at first generated what they called “non-controversial content” and did not manufacture any political posts. The true purpose of the site was not to be revealed until later, when the project’s directors envisioned “smart mobs” gathering based on rumors and slander they would spread over ZunZuneo.
This type of operation is popularly associated with the U.S. military or CIA, but USAID is ostensibly a humanitarian aid organization. The ZunZuneo scandal exposes a key tactic of U.S. imperialism—to use USAID along with similar agencies and NGOs to carry out political operations and distribute money to opponents of any government that resists U.S. imperialism.
These schemes are usually referred to as “democracy promotion” activities. In this instance it was overseen by USAID’s euphemistically named Office of Transition Initiatives – meaning in the case of Cuba transition from socialism back to the tyranny of the old ruling class. Well over $150 million has been spent towards these ends since the passage of a law in 1996 that significantly escalated the U.S. campaign against Cuba.
The ZunZuneo project was discontinued in 2012 after funding ran out for unclear reasons. At its height, the network had approximately 40,000 users. The recent revelations have prompted Congressional hearings, but of course these will not condemn the criminal aggression of U.S. imperialism against the Cuban Revolution.
Cuba has had to defend itself against countless plots in the 65 years since the triumph of the revolution. These range from the more outlandish, such as ZunZuneo, to the most despicable forms of terrorism.
After news of USAID’s involvement in ZunZuneo came to light, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement pointing out how the scheme “once again demonstrated that the government of the United States has not given up on its subversive plans against Cuba…to which the government of the United States continues to dedicate budgets of millions of dollars every year.”
Cuba has been able to withstand these attacks because of the revolutionary consciousness of its people. Every attempt by U.S. imperialism to cultivate internal opposition or strangle the country economically to make conditions unbearable has not succeeded. With ZunZuneo specifically, the U.S. government thought that Cuban youth were easy targets, but once again young people refused to turn against their revolution.