BBC reports that the US government created a phone based, Twitter-like company to be implemented in Cuba. This application, originally presented to the Cuban people through a guise as “sports news updates,” was based out of Spain and the Cayman Islands to reroute information flow, hiding America’s development and involvement with the project.
After hooking users, the US planned to “introduce political messages in the hope of spurring the network’s users, especially younger Cubans, into dissent from their communist-run government.”
USAID spokesman Matt Herrick said – “That’s how you protect the practitioners and the public.”
It is interesting to note that the government believes it was protecting the rights of Cubans. Is it freedom of speech if you’ve politically inspired the citizens in a certain direction? It seems to me like this is a Cuban petrie dish, and American scientists, wanting to instigate freedom of speech, tampered the results by accidentally slipping a strain of American Interests into the experiment.
Herrick also said, “In hostile environments, we often take steps to protect the partners we’re working with on the ground. This is not unique to Cuba.”
Cubans certainly don’t have equal rights to the United States citizens. “Cubans were only permitted to own mobile phones in 2008.” Just only, “last year, 137 public internet access points have been opened – for the whole island. But one hour online costs $4.50 (£2.70) – or almost a quarter of an average monthly state salary.” These infringements speech rights is troubling. But, is a country truly liberated if political reform doesn’t come directly from its citizens?
Governments instigating sparks that could lead to coup d’etats sounds very dangerous to me. Think of how Russia invaded Crimea during political unrest, how they sponsored a succession referendum. What if China saw signs to erode North Korea’s regime, and ‘freed’ its citizens by absorbing the country?
Is it ethical for us to allow our government to do these type of activities?
Food for thought.