For such a little country, Cuba does manage to maintain its role as the pebble in America’s shoe with ease, as we’ve discussed. With the old regime getting pretty old and restrictions being gradually eased by both sides, it’s easy to start thinking that more than 50 years of this is about to come to an end and that we can finally laugh off some of the wilder theories that involve Cuba — Fidel got to JFK before JFK could get to Fidel, Tupac Shakur lives there, Latin American youth under the pretext of being aid workers were sent there to foment political unrest, Danny Almonte was 12…
Wait, what was that other one?
Yes, once again, the U.S. Agency for International Development — creators of the so-called Cuban Twitter — have been caught fomenting civil instability on the island. This time USAID is paying twentysomethings who got little or no training around $5 an hour to seed disaffection among Cuban youth under the guise of educating them about HIV prevention, according to the Associated Press, which broke the “Cuban Twitter” story.
As the AP reports, the ruse “could undermine USAID’s credibility in critical health work around the world.” This evokes the fake vaccination program the CIA contrived in Pakistan in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, and the notion that the U.S. would surrender its reputation like this deserves greater scrutiny.
As for dealing with one of the world’s most sophisticated counter-intelligence services, as AP put it, the USAID workers got this advice:
“‘Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you,’ the workers’ instructions read. ‘Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.’”
The negative publicity doesn’t seem to be helping another USAID contractor, Alan Gross, who has been in prison for four years and who recently bid goodbye to his wife and daughters and is preparing for death, which sounds like it’s on the way.
–Courtesy of Bloomberg