The US has admitted to being behind a Twitter-style text-messaging service in Cuba, but denies it was a covert operation to overthrow President Castro.
The Associated Press news agency revealed that the US Aid agency funded Zunzuneo, claiming it aimed to stir unrest in the communist country.
The White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney was quick to address the allegations. Speaking to reporters gathered in Washington he said, ‘Congress funds democracy programming for Cuba to help empower Cubans to access more information and strengthen civil society.” He added that, “these appropriations are public, unlike covert action. The money invested has been debated in Congress.”
However, the AP news agency alleges that the US covered its tracks by using offshore banks accounts and servers overseas, and gathered information on the 40,000 users of the mobile-phone based network which ran from 2009-2012.
In Havana, Cubans reacted to the revelations. Some feel it harked back to Cold War CIA-style tactics.
“It’s no secret that they have always been trying to harm our country and government. It can’t be a surprise for us anymore,” said one resident.
In a country where internet access is restricted, the White House was keen to stress the humanitarian nature of the now defunct service.
However, the legality of such a project is now being called into question.