Did you see this story by Washington Post Manuel Roig-Franzia about USAID and twitter and Cuba? Pretty wild …. (and how much funding was it?)


* This is a fascinating story.  I am curious — see below that the funding dried up — how much funding was there? who paid, taxpayers?  and if so, who authorized it?  was a smart idea or a stink bomb? and one other thing, twitter is FREE — so where is the cost? 


USAID effort to undermine Cuban government with fake ‘Twitter’ another anti-Castro failure


By Manuel Roig-Franzia, Published: April 3


On April 6, 1960, a U.S. diplomat named Lester Mallory wrote a secret memo about Cuba. Subject line: “The Decline and Fall of Castro.”


Make Cubans unhappy, argued the memo, which was a precursor to the U.S. embargo. Saddle them with “economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” They’ll sour on Fidel Castro.


Or, others thought, get him with an exploding cigar. Contaminate his scuba suit with tuberculosis. Have the Mafia off him.


More than half a century later, the U.S. government seemed to have come up with a much more modern and techie approach: Tweet the Castros off the island.


On Thursday, the U.S. Agency for International Development confirmed the broad outlines of an Associated Press report exposing the clandestine creation of a phony “Cuban Twitter” network that was meant to undermine the government now headed by Fidel’s brother Raul. The audacious program, set in motion through shell companies around the world, lured 40,000 unsuspecting Cuban subscribers with seemingly innocuous text messages about sports and popular music, the report said. Its creators called the network “Zunzuneo,” Cuban slang for the sound a hummingbird makes.


For all its bravura, the program survived barely two years, failing in 2012 as its funding dried up. The campaign became, as so many before it, a punchline in the annals of an enduring, bizarre and frequently imagination-defying international standoff.


“It’s part of our legacy of the wild and loony brainstorming we’ve been doing on Cuba going back to the ’50s,” Ann Louise Bardach, a Cuba expert and author of “Without Fidel,” said Thursday between bouts of laughter.


The revelation of Zunzuneo’s existence sent official Washington into a spin. Memos unearthed