(Originally published at http://politicalmoll.com/incite-revolution-2/)
Cuba is back in the news. With the recent report by the Associated Press disclosing, yet again, new information about another program that the US government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, (USAID), attempted to overthrow the Cuban government. This time USAID, along with its contractor, Creative Associate International, recruited youths from various Latin American countries to infiltrate the public and spark an uprising.
The USAID was just in the media a couple months earlier with a very similar story. “Cuban Twitter” was a program that the US government, through USAID, created a social media account in Cuba, with the intentions of inciting a civil unrest among the public.. The program garnered 40,000 followers who were unaware it was a US government-created program disguising itself as a “new” social media platform. This new story of USAID recruiting youths to go into Cuba to incite civil unrest again only makes you wonder why the US government and USAID are trying so desperately to overthrow the Cuban government. And at what cost?
What makes this situation different from the “Cuban Twitter” debacle is that USAID was recruiting, training (in some cases only for half an hour), and sending these youths into Cuba with the risk of the youths getting arrested by authorities. In most cases, the memo obtained from the Associate Press assured the assisting youth that “although there is no certainty,” the Cuban government would not harm them physically, just intimidate them if they were caught. The US government debated cutting the program with continued incarceration of Alan Gross, a contractor who was imprisoned for sneaking in sensitive technology in 2009. With the potential threat to their safety the Latin American youths were compensated $5.41 an hour for their services.
As with the “Cuban Twitter” program – which the senate is still investigating – USAID assures the public that these types of operations are for the good of the people in Cuba. One of the excuses that the Latin Americans youths used for going to Cuba was setting up an HIV-prevention workshop. This was a front. These operations have the risk of putting further strain on US and Cuban relations, as was the case with “Cuban Twitter.”
The release of this program reminds Latin America of the unfortunate politics that the US government displayed throughout the 20th century and the continued shaky relationships our government has with most Latin American countries. While some relationships are already strained for political and economical differences, other relationships have been further burden with the recent leaks of the NSA spying on presidents of Brazil and Mexico. It seems that our government is only garnering further suspicion with the continuation of these type of programs to these countries and
to the world.
USAID has been under scrutiny in the past for its services, and creating rumors that it assists in “covert” acts. But now with the “Cuban Twitter” and this recent disclosure, it’s only further damaging their already questionable image. While USAID may have a history of assisting and bringing countries out of poverty, it has been judged for using its bid on contracts that in the end benefit corporations. Their reaction to the “Cuban Twitter” was defensive about the program, even with its potential illegal and covert approach, which they affirm was legal and discreet and not a “covert operation.”
While USAID’s true intention with “Cuban Twitter” might have been to give the Cuban people freedom of speech, we know with this latest memo, their intents were to help overthrow the government. This is one of the problems the US
government has to confront. Our government does not see this type of behavior problematic, as we feel any government it helps support is better for the public, while blatantly ignoring the general public’s interest. History has shown us again and again you can’t force revolution. When it is forced, like in Iraq, Afghanistan, and various Latin American and Asian countries (in the 20th century), it usually leads to a collapse of the government or morphs into a dictatorship.
If an organization that advertises itself as promoting democracy wants to enact real change, they should put pressure on the US and Cuban governments to participate in talks with each other and lifting the embargo. By assisting in a public
domain with both parties aware of what’s going on, there is no threat of mistrust, and usually the people will feel more comfortable to speak out about injustices and repressed freedoms, thereby expressing their own form of revolution within their country. Otherwise, as we can see with the current leaks, the citizens become distrustful of incoming organizations, the government suspects incoming tourists, and other governments further distance themselves from our government in opposition to these operations.
Aside from the foreign relations conflict and potential legal dilemmas, our government is wasting tax money and exploiting an organization that should assist countries, not exploit the people for their own agenda. USAID, being an
agency of the US government, is dependent on taxes for its endeavors. These leaks come at a time when these resources could have been better spent elsewhere, the US public itself in desperate need of money. These resources could have been put to better use in assisting Detroit’s bankruptcy and water shutoff, and pushing legislation to prop up our crumbling infrastructure. In the international scene it could have been used in promoting talks or funding for the struggling citizens in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and Gaza, or send resources to help with Ebola outbreak.
The exposure of this false program further reveals the shortsightedness our government has with its foreign policy. Our government has its own agenda when it’s involving itself in other countries. And every time something like this is
revealed it further tarnishes the US’s image as well as public support. It further makes its own citizens cynics in a system that is continuing to fail them. Revolution is only successful when it happens through the public and communities, otherwise, it’s bound to collapse.