Merida, 20th April 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, including Venezuela, have condemned a social networking system developed by the United States to stir anti-government protests in Cuba.
Labelling the US programme as “illegal and immoral”, ALBA demanded the “immediate cessation” of the ZunZuneo network.
“[ALBA] repudiates this new subversive meddling and illegal project against our people, executed with all the features of a covert operation, which flagrantly violated international law and the national sovereignty of Cuba,” ALBA said in a statement released on Saturday.
Originally founded by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, ALBA now includes nine Latin American and Caribbean nations.
The ALBA statement called for nations to use new technology to promote international cooperation.
Operating for more than two years and boasting tens of thousands of subscribers, ZunZuneo is a mobile phone-based network often described as a “Cuban Twitter”.
However, an Associated Press investigation has found that ZunZuneo was developed under the Obama administration to promote anti-government protests in Cuba.
“First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent,” the AP report stated.
In its early stages, ZunZuneo would share material intended as uncontroversial, such as sports and weather reports. Later, developers planned to introduce political content aimed at sparking protests, according to documents obtained by AP.
The programme was backed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through a myriad of shell companies and offshore bank accounts.
“At minimum, details uncovered by the AP appear to muddy...[USAID's] longstanding claims that it does not conduct covert actions,” AP stated.
Responding to the revelations earlier this month, White House press secretary Jay Carney rejected allegations that ZunZuneo was a “covert” operation; opting instead to describe it as “discreet”.
“It was a development-assistance programme,” Carney stated.