Monday, October 15, 2018

Miguel Diaz-Canel on Twitter

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel is now on Twitter, which got attention globally from the press. Amusingly, the Cuban state press lauded it as a campaign promise fulfilled.

The Cuban president had announced at the last Congress of the Union of Journalists of Cuba that before December he would be on the social network Twitter, and precisely at this historic date fulfilled his promise.
Good job crossing that off your promise list!

Just today, minutes ago in fact, he tweeted critiques of U.S. policy toward Cuba, emphasizing the role the U.S. embargo has on the Cuban economy.

One interesting part about dictators tweeting is that they open the door to criticism because of course people are all over each tweet. I imagine that takes some getting used to.

Twitter is unusual diplomacy. World leaders tweet frequently, often about other countries, but rarely engage. For example, Donald Trump periodically tweets about Venezuela, but never says anything directly to Nicolás Maduro or even mentions his name. Indeed, for Trump Twitter is not about dialogue, it is entirely monologue, mostly aimed at a domestic audience. Nonetheless, Maduro is careful not to sound too aggressive about Trump on Twitter, instead referring a lot to dialogue, perhaps hoping Trump might respond. Note that Díaz-Canel criticizes the policy and not the person. They want his attention, but want it to remain on its hinges. Daniel Ortega, who falls in the same category, has never joined Twitter.

Five years ago I wrote a post about Latin American presidents on Twitter. Sometime I will update that.


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