AP: U.S. Agency Created 'Cuban Twitter' To Stir Political Unrest

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Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, on April 1. The U.S. Agency for International Development masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter," a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned. (Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo)

An Associated Press investigation released today reveals that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) created a Twitter-like company in Cuba. The goal was to undermine the Cuban government by giving disgruntled citizens the tools to more easily organize and communicate.

The company, called Zunzuneo, gradually grew to include more than 40,000 Cuban subscribers who had no idea their messages were being monitored and their personal data was being gathered by the U.S. government.

The operation lasted more than two years and cost about $1.6 million — money that had been earmarked for a project in Pakistan.

Jack Gillum is one of the reporters who conducted the investigation. He joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson from Washington to discuss the findings.


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