Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee.

Photo by Lingjing Bao.

The head of the US government agency that oversaw the creation of a Twitter-like communications network in Cuba aimed at fueling political dissent against the communist government is expected to testify before Congress on Tuesday. One senator who will be hearing testimony next week has called the whole idea “dumb, dumb, dumb,” according to The Associated Press.
The program, codenamed ZunZuneo, was covertly established by US government agents. Run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the subversion program was targeted at building a user base of young Cubans in hopes that they would use the service to voice opposition to the governing communist party.
By using a list of phone numbers provided by a worker at Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications company Cubacel, USAID workers began to send out mass text messages over the platform. Once the network reached a critical mass of users, the plan was for operators to introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize “smart mobs.” Ultimately, the project sought to trigger a “Cuban Spring” or to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society,” the AP reported.
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