Zunzuneo, the Tip of the Iceberg in the U.S. Campaign against Cuba

Havana, Apr 6 (Prensa Latina) – USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah will testify before the U.S. Senate next Tuesday to explain the Zunzuneo project, which is “the tip of the iceberg” in Washington’s subversive campaign against Cuba, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.

This week, the world learned about Zunzuneo, an alleged Cuban Twitter that is, in fact, a secret plan by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to sow subversion, mainly among youths, and contribute to destabilizing the Cuban government.

But that U.S. covert plan to create a Cuban Twitter “is barely the tip of the iceberg of a broader and dirtier subversive plan using new technologies”, Juventud Rebelde newspaper reported today.

According to the daily, it is a destabilizing scheme that has already been tested in countries such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, where U.S. intelligence agencies resorted to state-of-the-art technologies to exert their influence on people, mainly youths, who are very close to those tools.

With that goal, the article adds, they carry out several maneuvers, including the use of ghost companies in third countries, money laundering and the hiring of technological mercenaries disguised as entrepreneurs, both in Cuba and abroad.

They also carry out operations that violate U.S. laws and international telecommunications regulations, and use clandestine funds to execute their plans, even without reporting to the U.S. Congress, says Juventud Rebelde.

In that regard, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) reported that a usual procedure by Zunzuneo was sending mass SMS to Cuban cell phones, whose numbers were obtained in a fraudulent manner.

In light of that, ETECSA informed more than 200 SMS Centers about unwanted text messages or spams, a procedure that is normally rejected by international operators.

However, other mass chain messages were received, such as the so-called Martinoticias, created by Radio and TV Marti using money from U.S. tax payers in violation of U.S. and international telecommunications regulations.

According to Juventud Rebelde, Martinoticias violates Cuban laws as well as the CAN SPAM Act, Public Law108-187, approved by the U.S. Congress in December 2003, which prohibits sending commercial or any other kind of text messages without the addressee’s express consent.

Other projects have been implemented using a similar modus operandi, such as Cubasincensura or Diario de Cuba, and ETECSA reported that as a whole, they have sent a total of 55,746 SMS to Cuban users.

After the failure of Zunzuneo, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) and Martinoticias created a network called Piramideo, also using secret funds, the newspaper says.

The new project made it easier for users to articulate a network of “friends” and gave people the possibility to send mass SMS to the members of his/her pyramid at the price of only one text message.

“That strategy, also aimed at stealing resources from Cuba, also seeks to create a channel of communications among small counterrevolutionary groups,” notes the newspaper.

With Piramideo, they have even tried to deceive the sector of self-employed workers and Cuban artists, providing them with an alleged advertising platform for free or at low prices.

Right now, another program called Commotion, which was launched in 2012 and is scheduled to conclude in 2015, is under way to foster the installation of clandestine wireless networks in Cuba at a cost of 4.3 million dollars.

“The primary objective, of course, is young people, who they seduce with the possibility of exchanging materials such as music and films through these connections, as well as chatting and even playing on line,” notes Juventud Rebelde.

Regarding the USAID administrator’s testimony before the U.S. Congress, the newspaper suggests that in addition to speak about Zunzuneo, he might also talk about other programs such as Piramideo, Commotion, Hablalosinmiedo or Singularidad, which were created with the same purpose of destroying Cuba’s revolutionary project.

“Furthermore, those plans are aimed at undermining the economic foundation that allows the Cuban State to invest in improving telecommunications and bringing them closer to the people,” concludes Juventud Rebelde.