Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cuba Twitter Fail

If you follow U.S.-Latin American relations at all, you've seen the Cuba Twitter story. It is a story of breathtakingly poor judgment. Here's the key paragraph.

At its peak, the project drew in more than 40,000 Cubans to share news and exchange opinions. But its subscribers were never aware it was created by the U.S. government, or that American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes.

The U.S. government does not get it. These sorts of initiatives will fail because they will be found to have a connection to the U.S. government, which immediately produces the exact opposite response of what you want. It is entirely possible that the main result will be for Cubans to be more wary of using any social media, which reduces their chances of organizing.

I'm pretty much dumbfounded by the dumbness, though of course I shouldn't be because stupidity is the hallmark of U.S. policy toward Cuba. But now it will spill into Venezuela as well, where critics bring up USAID all the time. The likely truth is that whatever USAID is doing is dumb and will play into the Venezuelan government's hands but this story shows in black and white how Venezuelan concerns are entirely justified.

Nice job, President Obama!


Anonymous,  8:27 AM  

The program was developed on behalf of the US government as a way for Cubans to communicate with Cubans without having to have the all-powerful Cuban state interfere. All the secondary considerations of what might happen, the so-called Tunisian metaphor for example, are wishful thinking. It seems to me that apart from these fantasies, the basic idea has merit. The North Koreans, Cubans etc.. deserve free and unfettered access to information. It is a fundamental human right. As you point out the US government supplying the technology in secret may not be the optimal way to supply it given the long history. But on the other hand, if not the US, who would supply it? The perceptions and arguments of Cuba's dictatorship matter little because they have it within their power to to address the core issue. Their government denies people the freedom to express their political views without any retribution. Such a blanket denunciation of the program that doesn't account for that fact, but legitimizes their grievances, is off the mark.

Anonymous,  8:22 AM  

The one-sided commentary about this program fails to mention that the Cuban government could allow the unfettered communication of its citizens--a basic human right. If anyone were to circumvent the power of the state with modern communications, it would have to be clandestine and technologically sophisticated. Who else besides the US could, or would do it? Despite the wishful thinking predictions, the inevitable diplomatic blowback from its discovery, its seeming legitimation of repressive governments concerns about the CIA, this is not Operation Mongoose. This is also about 40,000 Cubans on a Twitter-like network. On that level, the critics fail to note, it was a good thing.

Anonymous,  8:26 AM  

Here is a case study in one-sided analysis.

It seems to me that when explaining Che Guevara's extra judicial executions in the spring of 1959, Anderson referred to Guevara's critics. In dismissing them he said, it is as if there was "no before or after." The killings demanded a context that these were military officials of Batista who had committed grave offenses. Apparently, there is no "before or after" when it comes to 55 years of Cuban censorship and government repression.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP