Havana_ The U.S. Government is showing signs of a learning disability, continuing to throw good taxpayer money after bad, in attempts to promote regime change in Cuba, despite abundant evidence that the efforts are in vain.
Recent news reports have revealed that the Obama administration allocated an additional $400,000 in June to finance the “Piramideo” social network, designed to send millions of SMS messages to Cuban cellphones despite the recent scandal involving the similar ZunZuneo project.
The money went to a firm in Germantown, Maryland, which runs the still active program which, like ZunZuneo, has been denounced by Cuban authorities for its subversive and destabilizing objectives. US journalist Tracey Eaton posted the revelations about the payments made via the Office of Cuban Broadcasting (OCB) at his “Along the Malecon” blog. According to the source, the records indicate that the funds will be used for “other computer services” described in abbreviations only as “inherently governmental functions” and “closely related functions.”
Under the title “A Boost for Piramideo”, Eaton reported that the OCB, which operates the anti-Cuban Radio and TV Marti, signed a one year contract with Washington Software Inc., which has collected a total of $4,323,173 since 2011. The bulk of this money is for the development and operation of a short message system (SMS), as well as trying to impede the Cuban Government’s efforts to block it.
Last April, the Associated Press (AP) news agency exposed details about the 2009 “Cuban Twitter” program called “ZunZuneo.” Under the guise of a social networking service, ZunZuneo was a secret project designed and financed by the U.S. International Development Agency (USAID). While still functioning as late as 2012, its objective was to destabilize Cuban society in order to provoke political changes, through the use of modern technological communications systems. One year later,
Even though US law requires that any undercover action by a federal agency must have Presidential authorization, USAID has refused to say who approved the program or whether the White House was aware of its existence. Just days before the news about these latest payments broke, it was also revealed that funding had been cancelled for “Aero Marti,” the Gulfstream jet chartered for the purpose of illegally transmitting radio and tv signals to Cuba.
By Deisy Francis, The Havana Reporter
August 8, 2014