U.S. subversion against Cuba continues

Source:  Granma
October 24 2016

by Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu

Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against Cuba was published on the U.S. State Department website

us subversion against cuba.jpg

Funding announcement posted on U.S. State Department website. Photo: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/263310.htm

If you mix the same ingredients any number of times, the result will always be the same. The United States, however, is attempting to change its Cuba policy while maintaining the same subversive recipe.

Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against the island, containing all usual ingredients of the typical aggressive and interventionist policies of the past, was published on the U.S. State Department website on October 21.

Using the guise of assistance projects

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, is offering funding opportunities for projects which supposedly promote “democratic changes” in the spheres of civil, political and labor rights in Cuba.

Washington has historically used the guise of assistance projects to hide their subversive plans, not only against Cuba, but also communities which do not respond to the geo-strategic interests of the U.S.; while the country maintains relations with some of the nations with the worst human rights records on this planet.

The Bureau is offering those interested in interfering in the internal affairs of the island, some 5.6 million dollars, subject to availability.

USAID

We want to engage “openly and honestly with the Cuban people,” stated U.S. National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, on October 14, in regards to the new presidential policy directive; adding that in order to do so, the so-called “democracy assistance” programs in Cuba will be made more “transparent.”

The final part of the directive contains terms almost identical to those used by various government bodies, in particular the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which funnels billions of dollars into projects aimed at defending Washington’s interests around the world.

According to the directive, “The USAID will co-lead efforts with State to ensure that democracy programming is transparent and consistent with programming in other similarly situated societies,” as if the mere act of making these programs more transparent, without changing their subversive nature, would automatically make them acceptable for Cuba.

Off-island activities

The new announcement helps to dispel doubts surrounding euphemisms by the U.S. government: “DRL’s programmatic emphasis aligns with the U.S. government policy to promote human rights in Cuba,” reads the announcement. It continues by noting that “DRL prefers creative approaches” to fulfilling its objectives and that approved activities “should have potential for short-term impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms.”
Among activities typically funded by the DRL the announcement highlights: “Capacity building on and off the island. Off-island activities sometimes include short-term fellowships.”

To promote regime change

Cuba recently denounced the true intentions behind the World Learning program, offering surreptitious summer scholarships to Cuban youth and organized outside of the state apparatus, which aim to create an alternative leadership movement to promote regime change on the island.

“Access to software that would be easily accessible in an open society, or the adaptation of software for the Cuban technological environment,” is another priority area.
The most recent example of such projects was the case of ZunZuneo revealed by U.S. news agency AP, in 2014.

Cuban Twitter

USAID financed the creation of an alternative cell-phone messaging service, which came to be known as the Cuban Twitter, targeting the island’s youth with apparently inoffensive messages on sports and culture. However, the app was really designed to create a platform among this sector of Cuban society, which could be used to launch future destabilization initiatives.

According to the DRL announcement, projects can be submitted by “a U.S.-based or foreign-based non-profit organization/non-governmental organization (NGO), or a public international organization,” among others.

However, the document clearly states that no project involving the participation of the island’s legitimate institutions will be accepted: “DRL does not fund programs for Cuba that are directed towards supporting Cuban government institutions, individuals employed by those institutions, or organizations controlled by government institutions.”

Supposed objectives

The clearest demonstration of the masked interests of DRL funded programs lies in their supposed objectives on the island: “Programs should support the realization in Cuba of the rights and principles enshrined within the following Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” including “the prohibition of torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…The right to a free and fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal; the right to privacy; the freedom of movement within one’s country; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;” in addition to “the right to work in conditions of dignity with fair remuneration and the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of the workers’ interests.”

The announcement also notes that the “DRL strives to ensure its projects inter alia advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable, marginalized or at-risk populations.”

Guantanamo

Anyone who stays informed as to what’s happening in Cuba, and is aware of the negative propaganda continually published by the mass media, will know that the island’s recently approved Labor Code is at the vanguard of global labor rights.

In Cuba, men and women receive equal pay for equal work, while employee maternity, paternity, and social security rights, which private sector workers also enjoy, are achievements which are still only a dream in various other countries across the world.

The only acts of torture perpetrated in Cuba are carried out in the territory illegally occupied by the Naval Base in Guantánamo, under U.S. control, where 60 individuals are currently being held, all deprived of their most basic legal rights.

African American minority in the US targeted 

It seems like a waste of money, even for a power like the United States, to allocate 5.6 million dollars to helping supposedly excluded minorities in Cuba, when African Americans in the U.S. are being targeted by police and the unemployment rate among this sector is double that of the country’s Caucasian population.

Neither does the U.S. recognize the Convention of the Rights of Migratory Workers and their Families, employing degrading practices in blatant violation of human rights against those traveling to the country in order to improve their economic situation.

U.S. maintains the highest child poverty rate

While the nation’s rich continue to amass more wealth, the U.S. maintains the highest child poverty rate among all industrialized countries, and continues to violate the rights of thousands of migrant minors; indiscriminately separated from their parents.

Washington should take care when using such explosive ingredients in its failed subversive recipe against Cuba, as it won’t be the first time the mix ends-up blowing up in their hands. One might think that Obama’s policy change toward Cuba would include abandoning “failed policies,” but everything seems to indicate that some powerful sectors of the U.S. refuse to “leave the past behind.”

Costa Rica: We are alarmed that USAID used Costa Ricans and put them at risk

usaid 3Costa Rica’s government will begin investigating programs, funded by the U.S. International Development Agency, or USAID, that used its citizens to destabilize Cuba’s government. The Costa Rican government has not yet confronted Washington formally but communication on the topic will be relayed through the foreign ministries of both governments, according to the Associated Press.

Costa Rican officials also said that the country has not yet found proper records to prove these USAID programs and their motive, the government will begin its investigation, based on an article published by the Associated Press on Aug. 4, which said that USAID and a Washington-based contractor Creative Associates International, used health and civic programs, including the ones being operated from Costa Rica, as a ploy. Washington reportedly sent Venezuelans, Costa Ricans and Peruvians to Cuba to provoke a change in Cuba’s political set-up when it was being led by ousted President Fidel Castro.

It’s a matter of sovereignty and respect

mariano figuerescosta rica“If we can confirm all this, of course we’re not going to agree that our national territory be used to attack a friendly government, regardless of what ideological side you’re on,” Mariano Figueres, the director of intelligence and security said, according to the Associated Press, adding: “It’s a matter of sovereignty and respect … and we’re very alarmed that they used Costa Rican citizens and put them at risk.”

Workers for the U.S. government programs had posed mostly as travelers in Cuba and tried to convert several people into political activists. One of the Cubans also said that the workers were taught how to evade Cuban intelligence, according to the AP.

Dozens of Latin-Americans were reportedly working for pay as low as $5.41 an hour.

The latest revelations come as the U.S. President Barack Obama’s government already faces questions about a secret project, known as “Cuban Twitter,” launched in 2009.

Source:  Costa Rica To Investigate If US Tried To Destabilize Cuban Government Using Costa Ricans   International Business Times

Related article:  Washington Used Foreign Youth for Political Subversion against Cuba  JSC Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Destabilization in Latin America

by MATT PEPPE

zunzuneoNews from the AP about the U.S. government’s secret project to create a Cuban Twitter or “ZunZuneo,” to be used for disseminating propaganda and fomenting unrest in Cuba, spurring young people in that country to overthrow their government, comes as no surprise to anyone with even the most cursory understanding of U.S. policy in Cuba and Latin America in general. It is but a tiny part of a 55-year-old, completely unprovoked, genocidal policy against a nation whose only offense is failing to subordinate itself to the will of the U.S. government.

ZunZuneo was initiated and run by the ostensibly “humanitarian” U.S. Agency for International Development through a series of shell corporations which were not supposed to be traced back to the government. The project is typical of the type of subversion and interference with another nation that the U.S. government has always felt entitled to undertake, regardless of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination fundamental to international law.

life mag bay of pigs Due to Cuba’s successful revolution in 1959 and their ongoing ability to resist U.S. subversion of their socioeconomic system, U.S. actions against the tiny nation in the Caribbean have been harsher than any other victim who fails to recognize the U.S. as its rightful master. Early destabilization efforts included a vicious campaign of terrorism against Cuba, part of a massive CIA effort that later evolved into a policy of providing safe haven to terrorist exile groups and looking the other way as they violate the U.S. Neutrality Act and international law.

The largest act of subversion is, of course, the blockade, euphemistically known in the U.S. as an “embargo.” The U.S. blockade against Cuba has now lasted more than a half century as a punishment for Cuba achieving self-determination. The blockade is an act of warfare, as it is based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 (TWEA), which is only applicable during times of war. The blockade has been expanded and strengthened over the years with various violations of international law such as the Helms-Burton Act and the Torricelli Act. The policy of the U.S. blockade has been found to be an illegal violation of international law for 22 straight years by 99% of the world’s nations, who have demanded its end.

ned2The attempted subversion of a country’s political system is not unique to U.S. actions against Cuba, nor is it unique to USAID. Other U.S. government agencies, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have long carried out similar actions. Such organizations purport to be apolitical groups for “democratic” promotion but are in reality nothing more than fronts, essentially political action committees (PACs). Due to the concealment of their purpose, they are more like political slush funds used to advanced the perceived interest of the United States.

Of course, they are not used to promote American “values” or “humanitarian principles” with abstract names like “freedom” and “democracy”, but the interests of the corporate sector eager to seek new investment opportunities outside their own country and control over the resources that they refuse to recognize as the property of local populations.

us in la For example, over the last 15 years in Venezuela the U.S. spent $90 million funding opposition groups, including $5 million in the current federal budget. During this time, since Hugo Chavez first assumed office, his revolutionary party has won 18 elections and lost only 1. The margins of victory during Chavez’s tenure reached higher than 20%. After his death, his hand-picked successor Nicolás Maduro won by a margin of 1.6% in 2012. This is a very narrow margin, to be sure, but as Dan Kovalik points out it is a margin of victory larger than JFK’s victory over Richard Nixon and certainly larger than George Bush’s victory over Al Gore. Bush actually lost the popular vote but was declared the winner by the Supreme Court in an instance of political mettling that would be hard to imagine in any other democracy in the world.

Despite the success of the Chavista party, the opposition, aided and abetted by the U.S. government, has tried to portray the elections as “questionable” or “illegitimate”. Secretary of State John Kerry led the way by calling for a recount, encouraging the opposition to challenge the results of the election and refuse to concede.

“Washington’s efforts to de-legitimise the election mark a significant escalation of US efforts at regime change in Venezuela,” wrote Mark Weisbrot. “Not since its involvement in the 2002 military coup has the US government done this much to promote open conflict in Venezuela… It amounted to telling the government of Venezuela what was necessary to make their elections legitimate.”

jimmy carter 2 In fact, international organizations monitoring the Venezuelan Presidential vote attested to the “fair and transparent” election process and former President Jimmy Carter called the country’s electoral system “the best in the world.”

The U.S. government has also refused to recognize the vast advances social progress made under the current government. Under Chavez, the country drastically reduced poverty, especially extreme poverty, with the latter falling from 23.4% in 1999 to 8.5% in 2011. As the government has put its massive revenues from oil sales to use to provide universal education and health care for all Venezuela’s citizens, people traditionally shut out of the country’s economic gains have benefited tremendously. Venezuela has gone from one of the highest rates of income inequality in Latin America to the lowest, a truly Herculean accomplishment.

John kerry Yet this does not even factor into the U.S.’s policy toward Venezuela. As a cable published by Wikileaks from 2006 demonstrates, the U.S. policy of destabilization and regime change against Hugo Chavez was pursued until his death. Now, with the perceived weakness of Maduro and the propaganda value of violent street protests portrayed in the international media as a “student movement”, it seems that Kerry is like a shark who smells blood in the water when he slanderously proclaims a “terror campaign” and foments further unrest.

U.S. government officials must feel frustrated at their inability to project their will for Venezuela to be subservient to the United States. After all, it has proved much easier in countries such as Honduras to oust a democratically elected President as happened with Manuel Zelaya.

noam chomsky 2  “Zelaya was initiating such dangerous measures as a rise in minimum wage in a country where 60 percent live in poverty. He had to go,” wrote Noam Chomsky, who goes on to note that the U.S. virtually alone in the world in recognizing the “elections” later held under military rule of Pepe Lobo. “The endorsement also preserved the use of Honduras’ Palmerola air base, increasingly valuable as the U.S. military is being driven out of most of Latin America.”  (Photo:  Chomsky)

Unsurprisingly, four years after the coup a Center for Economic and Policy Research report finds that “much of the economic and social progress experienced from 2006 – 2009 has been reversed in the years since,” with “economic inequality in Honduras” rising “dramatically.”

Coup in Paraguay

The next success of Obama’s administration in Latin America was the coup in Paraguay, in which the right-wing, elite opposition was able to drive democratically-elected Fernando Lugo from the Presidency and thus stop his program of promoting land rights for a long-oppressed peasant population.

“The United States promotes the interests of the wealthy of these mostly-poor countries, and in turn, these elite-run countries are obedient to the pro-corporate foreign policy of the United States,” writes Shamus Cooke.

In Colombia

There was also the coup last year against the progressive former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Gustavo Petro. His supposed abuse of power was de-privatizing garbage collection in the capital city, which allegedly harmed the “freedom of free enterprise.” The anti-democratic actions in Colombia, a beneficiary of an enormous amount of U.S. aid, have not affected the U.S. policy toward the nation. Kovalik notes that the actions taken against Petro are part of a much larger pattern.

“While the press, as well as the U.S. government, will not acknowledge it, the elimination of progressive political leaders by coup d’ état is taking place in Latin America with increasing frequency,” Kovalik writes.

Destroying democracies 

Of course this is part of long-standing U.S. policy that has destroyed democracies in countries such as Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and many other nations since the end of WWII alone. The anti-democratic measures enabled and supported by the U.S. have taken decades to recover from, if the nations victimized have been able to recover at all.

US Cuban Twitter programme

Media reporting of the story has tended to downplay or apologize for the Cuban Twitter program by stressing the U.S. government denials that it was meant to overthrow the government, or it was beneficial in allowing Cubans to communicate with each other.

Not surprisingly, Cubans themselves do not see it this way. They understandably do not appreciate an underhanded attempt to collect their personal data or to use them as pawns in a political game.

This should be a reasonable position for any American to understand. Would you support China or Russia setting up a social network meant to overthrow your government to impose one more to their liking? Certainly not. The plot in the fictitious House of Cards of infiltration of the U.S. political process by foreign money probably seems shocking to the average American. In this country, it is a crime for foreign countries or nationals to influence democracy and domestic affairs through political contributions.In reality, this is exactly what the U.S. government has carried out in foreign countries for decades. ZunZuneo is demonstrable proof they continue to do so to this day. ZunZuneo is not just a case of USAID and the U.S. government getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar. It is part of an ongoing assault against sovereignty and self-determination of any country who opposes U.S. foreign policy. People of these countries are just as smart, capable, and deserving of a government independent of outside interference as U.S. citizens are.By simply recognizing that their government has no business in determining another country’s political affairs, and demanding that their government stop spending their tax dollars to do so, U.S. citizens could do more to advance democracy and the ideals their country claims to stand for than the U.S. government has ever done.

Matt Peppe holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany and a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from NYU. His writing about U.S. foreign policy and Latin America has appeared in Countercurrents, La Respuesta Magazine and other outlets. You can read his blog or follow him on twitter.

Source:  Destabilization in Latin America  Counterpunch
See also:  Real Cuba

 

 

Embassy of Cuba Denounces US Cyber-subversion Campaign

In a press release issued today April 16, the Embassy of Cuba in Jamaica has denounced the United States cyber-subversion campaign which seeks to destabilize Cuba in an effort to provoke changes in its political order.  The full text of the release is reproduced below.

Source:  Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Jamaica

Embassy-of-CubaThe Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Jamaica has the honor to denounce the United States cyber-subversion campaign against Cuba. The article on this issue published a few days ago by the American agency AP, confirms repeated denunciation by the Cuban government that the U.S. government has not given up on its subversive plans against Cuba, which seek to create destabilizing situations in the country aimed at provoking changes in its political order, to which the Government of the United States continues to devote multi-million dollar budgets every year.

USAID’s planned creation of a “Cuban Twitter” 

As it was disclosed, in the case of the social network ZunZuneo, the USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) planned its creation as a “Cuban Twitter” aimed at undermining the Cuban government. The network operated for two years until 2012 and
had approximately 40,000 users, for which databases of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) were illicitly obtained. Private data from Cuban users was gathered without their consent through ZunZuneo, which made it possible to categorize them by gender, age, tastes and affiliations of various kinds, to be used for political purposes.

ZunZuneo has not been the only platform

Continue reading

USAID’ s ZunZuneo – Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The disclosure by the U.S. news agency AP of a hidden U.S. plan to create a “Cuban Twitter” is just the tip of the iceberg of a large and dirty subversive plan using new technologies

Source: Juventud Rebelde

The startling allegations recently made by the AP investigation on the existence, for years, of a secret project of the International Development Agency of the United States (USAID) to create an alleged “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo actually are just the tip of the iceberg of the massive subversive campaign mounted against Cuba.

dirty use of technology

The use of new technologies and destabilizing purposes has
been tested on dirty operations in Libya, Syria, Egypt and recently
in Ukraine and Venezuela. 
Photo: Raul Pupo

The use of shell companies from third countries, the diversion of money, hiring mercenaries disguised as technological entrepreneurs, both inside and outside of Cuba; mounting covert operations that violate U.S. laws, international telecommunications, and even the use of illegal funds without Congress even being informed of the northern country, seem to be common denominators of these operations.

Programs may have different names and come from multiple sources, from USAID itself, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (IND) or the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), but all have the common goal for years, trying unsuccessfully to divide the people and overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

Spam networks

The Cuban mass SMS phones, whose numbers were fraudulently obtained, thereby violating the privacy of citizens and their own laws regulating communications in the United States were one of the key strategies used by ZunZuneo project.

Continue reading