Cuba slams US-built ‘Cuban Twitter’
Platform based on microblogging site designed to ‘promote democracy’ says US State Dept
The Cuban government has spoken out against a US project to establish a Twitter-style service in Cuba, arguing that Washington is continuing a "subversive" campaign against the Caribbean island's administration, Reuters reported.
On Thursday the US government admitted to the existence of the "discreet" $1.2m project, which was intended to promote democracy, after it was revealed in a news report by the Associated Press.
Cuba's foreign ministry, referring to the UN charter and citing international law, denounced the operation and urged the US to "cease ... its illegal and covert actions against Cuba, which are rejected by the Cuban people and the international public opinion".
The ministry also opined that the AP story "once again demonstrated that the government of the United States has not given up on its subversive plans against Cuba, which seek to create destabilizing situations in the country in order to provoke changes in our political order, to which the government of the United States continues to dedicate budgets of millions of dollars every year".
The creation of the platform was overseen by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and allowed its architects to bypass Cuba's strict Internet controls. The project used shell companies in Spain and the Cayman Islands to hide money trails, according to the AP.
The news agency reports the project ran for two years and accrued 40,000 users who were unaware their personal details were being gathered or that the site was developed by a US agency.
However, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Thursday claimed the project was neither "secret" nor "covert" under the US government's definitions of those terms. Instead she characterised it as a "democracy promotion" campaign that used an online service "similar to Twitter".