CELAC repudiates illegal use of telecommunications against Cuba

(PL) – The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on April 29 condemned the illegal use of new information and telecommunications technology against its member countries, in the wake of recent revelations about the so-called Cuban Twitter, ZunZuneo.

The mobile phone network was established by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote destabilization of Cuba’s internal order, by sending massive, unsolicited text messages with subversive content.

The CELAC statement, released in Havana, asserted that the use of information and telecommunications technology, in violation of international regulations, has a negative impact on nations and their citizens, emphasizing that all such activity must be fully compatible with the principles and purpose of the United Nations Charter and international law, including respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs.

The organization reiterated its desire to cooperate in the protection of cyberspace, and the promotion of its use for peaceful ends, insisting that the best way to combat violations, such as ZunZuneo type undercover operations, is to cooperate internationally on regulation. Costa Rica, currently holding CELAC’s pro tempore presidency, has asked U.S. authorities to explain illegal acts committed within Costa Rican national territory, during the establishment the mobile phone network.

Cuba denounces ZunZuneo and other subversive efforts at United Nations

Cuba also denounced the ZunZuneo operation before the United Nations, while additionally condemning ongoing, illegal radio and television broadcasts, used to implement U.S. policy directed toward promoting destabilization and ‘regime change’ in Cuba.

Cuba’s ambassador to the UN, Rodolfo Reyes, emphasized during the Information Committee’s 36th period of sessions that the United States has not abandoned efforts to subvert the political, social and economic order chosen by the Cuban people exercising the right to self-determination.

Recently revealed were details of the millions of dollars spent on the ZunZuneo undercover operation, a mobile phone messaging network, Reyes reported during the meeting. Reyes explained that the illegal network was active from 2009 through 2012, and was used to collect users’ personal information, without their permission. This data was then used to create profiles and lists based on gender, age, interests and affiliations of different kinds, meant to be utilized for subversive purposes.

U.S. media have released information revealing the scope and magnitude of ZunZuneo, which was created with financing from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This and other destabilization operations violate both Cuban and U.S. laws, including the CAN-SPAM Act, approved by Congress in 2003, which prohibits the sending of unsolicited commercial text messages, Reyes commented.

He added that such activities violate the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) constitution, using advanced technology – social networks in particular – for purposes far removed from the promotion of peaceful relations and international cooperation. In regards to radio and television broadcasts, Reyes decried the fact that, more than a year since his last presentation to the UN General Assembly’s Information Committee, 1,909 to 2,070 broadcast hours of subversive content are directed toward Cuba every week, using more than 27 different frequencies, in flagrant violation of ITU regulations. The Cuban diplomat emphasized that the recently revealed U.S. destabilization projects are “just one page in the more than 50 year history of a hostile policy toward Cuba, which is now supported with new information technology and telecommunications.”

Cuba, through its permanent representative in the UN, has demanded that the United States respect international law and end such illegal projects, meant to compliment the economic, commercial and financial blockade it has imposed on Cuba, since shortly after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

Reyes furthermore emphasized that U.S. actions confirm the need to establish a new mode of governance for internet use and telecommunications, a new, more just and effective framework directed toward promoting peace and international understanding.