Target: Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
Goal: Demand that the agency’s leadership acknowledge and end their covert actions to undermine the government of Cuba
For more than 50 years the United States has maintained an embargo against Cuba in hopes of forcing the country to embrace Democracy and abandon Communism. The United Nations has widely criticized the embargo for its negative impact on the health and well-being of average Cuban citizens, stifling economic growth while restricting access to clean water, medicine and other essentials. Even into the present America continues to meddle with the independent nation–including with a covert, Twitter-like campaign the Associated Press called “an effort to undermine the Cuban government.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) created the program, dubbed “ZunZuneo,” in part to collect users’ personal information while sowing discontent towards the current Cuban regime. USAID coordinators have repeatedly denied that political messages were distributed as a part of the project. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, told Congress that ZunZuneo was by no means a covert operation despite the fact that the agency went to a great deal of trouble to conceal its American origins.
Senator Patrick Leahy called the program “cockamamie” and asked Shah whether the intention was to “influence political conditions abroad by gathering information about Cuban cellphone users” or “to encourage popular opposition to the Cuban government.” Shah denies this was the case, but the Associated Press and other sources paint a different picture. Demand that USAID end its covert attempts to undermine the Cuban government.
Dear Mr. Shah,
Despite some limited progress in weakening its embargo against Cuba the United States continues to meddle in the affairs of the Communist nation. USAID is better known for its humanitarian work, yet recent revelations about its failed ZunZuneo program call into question the real motivation of its efforts in Cuba.
At a recent Senate hearing you defended the program and insisted there was nothing covert about ZunZuneo. You maintained that USAID was not intending to weaken support for the Cuban government, yet this very much appears to be the case. By disseminating politically-weighted, anti-Castro messages via ZunZuneo–including those created at the behest of USAID rather than by average Cuban citizens–you overstepped the bounds of decency and of your organization’s mission.
I must insist that you come clean to the American people and end the cover-up of this failed attempt to sow dissent. End your investment in programs like ZunZuneo and end USAID’s covert operations in Cuba.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rarelibra via Wikimedia