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U.S. Secretly Sent Latin American Youth To Cuba To Stir Up a Revolution

Categories: La Habana

photo by Agensia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons
Dwight Eisenhower still holds the record for the most hamfisted attempts to oust Fidel Castro, thanks to alleged plots like the CIA's exploding cigar caper. But Barack Obama is giving Ike a run for his money. First came the "Cuban Twitter" fiasco, when news leaked that the US Agency for International Development had secretly started a Havana-based Twitter copycat in the hopes it might inspire an Arab Spring-esque rebellion.

Now this morning the AP reports on another USAID scheme: The agency secretly sent teams of young Latin Americans to the island posing as tourists with the goal of sparking revolution.

See also: U.S. Secretly Created a 'Cuban Twitter' to Try to Incite an Anti-Castro Uprising

The program, which started in October 2009, recruited youth from Venezuela, Peru and Costa Rica to pose as travelers to the island. Once there, their real job was to meet Cubans whom they could turn into secret political activists working against the Castro regime.

The young USAID contractors were given code words to use if things went sour -- "My sister is ill" meant they had to cut their trip short, for instance -- but this plot was hardly the stuff of James Bond.

The "travelers" got less than half an hour of training on how to evade Cuban security forces while on the island, the AP reports, even though the first missions started weeks after U.S. contractor Alan Gross was arrested while doing his own work for USAID in Cuba.

Others were given reassuring messages like this before heading to Havana: "Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them."

Thanks, USAID!

The program, needless to say, did not whip up a fury of revolution in Cuba and much like the "Cuban Twitter" embarrassment, mostly serves to undermine more legitimate attempts to spark reform in Cuba.

Not that you'll get Miami's own Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to criticize the attempt. "We must continue to pressure the Castro regime and support the Cuban people, who are oppressed on a daily basis," she tells the AP.

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31 comments
Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Hilarious, did someone in DC really think this was a good idea? SMH, but we do have some very stupid people in our government. Leave Cuba alone guys. Hasn't the last 60 yrs taught you nothing? Castro failed at everything he tried, but he succeeded in ONE area and the whole world APPLAUDS him for it. He kept Cuba out of the hands of Americans for 60 years. Was it worth it? Who knows, but most people think it was. Puerto Rico is a mess today, so if Cuba HAD become another US colony, there's no reason to think it would have been any different than a slightly larger version of Puerto Rico. Whoever succeeds the Castro brothers, we hope they are smart enough to keep the Yanquis at arm's length, and not succumb to the temptations of the dollar.

Peter Caroddo
Peter Caroddo

Good luck continuing tourist trips to Cuba after september......

samueljackson864
samueljackson864 topcommenter

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Curt Notree
Curt Notree

That would be a foolish move... if the people of Cuba wanted a revolt it would've been done by now. All the so called revolutionaries are in south Florida.

Karina Trovato
Karina Trovato

There was a piece in Aljazeera America on it, but I couldn't access it on mobile today...not sure how objective it would be, anyway. Will search for it. Eddie.

Eddie Gonzalez
Eddie Gonzalez

I had not heard of this either, but I commend the President for his action.

Karina Trovato
Karina Trovato

I had briefly heard of the "Twittergate" thing recently...not the physical infiltrators, Eddie.

Eddie Gonzalez
Eddie Gonzalez

Karina, I hope this story is true. It's long past time the sons of liberty shared their birthright.

Chris Cvnt
Chris Cvnt

Another top-notch strategic maneuver by our beloved government.

Rudy Mayor
Rudy Mayor

Miami New Times' article is full of sensationalism. These kids are merely talking to and connecting prodemocracy groups in Cuba. No ones talking about revolution.

Cts Limo Cts Limo
Cts Limo Cts Limo

Our government doesn't want free Cuba, otherwise they would lift sanctions & embargo against the Cuban people

George Hoover
George Hoover

Why don't WE just end the travel embargo instead...then they can see how we roll with their own eyes!

Luci Area Aran
Luci Area Aran

Not any different than the Cuban spies among us. Only difference is that they want to destroy America and we want to destroy communism.

Mency Acosta
Mency Acosta

Same thing they doing in the Middle East

MattRMia
MattRMia

I'm sure this isn't the first time our government has tried this tactic and it won't be the last.

Aman Siddiqui
Aman Siddiqui

Well....it was better than the exploding cigar stunt.........they really worked

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............yeah but they went the wrong way on 826 and wound up in HIALEAH...........and that explains what really happened

Frank Daddario
Frank Daddario

...............yeah but they went the wrong way on 826 and wound up in HIALEAH...........and that explains what really happened

Fred Bascum
Fred Bascum

Castro is a bonehead. The US. Loves Cuba.

Orlando De Frias
Orlando De Frias

Their plan was foiled when the Latinos they sent were Mexican, and were quickly identified as spies.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Your Dear Leader is so ignorant of history it almost defies belief.


Using students to stir up revolution?  When has that ever worked?


Revolution has always been fomented by the powerful and Rich who are tired or fear the government they live under.


The American Revolution, French, Russian.....The list goes on and on.  All started by the wealthy, educated and powerful.


Only President Mom Jeans would think sending some college students would do anything.

agheffernan
agheffernan

@Anthonyvop1 The Civil Rights movement? probably the most historic movements of all time was put on mostly by students. The Tianamen Square in China in 1989? That was all students How misinformed can you possibly be?

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@agheffernan @Anthonyvop1 

misinformed?  Sweety you need to study up on your history.

The Civil Rights movement was just that...A Movement!  It worked with the government to enact some laws.  It wasn't a revolution.  No Government was toppled.  No Head of state was removed. 

Even if it did it is pretty much common knowledge that the Civil Rights movement was funded and directed by NorthEast Liberal elites and Wealthy Republicans.

Tianamen Square? Can you tell me when the Chinese Dictatorship was overthrown?


Try again.

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