Thursday, April 03, 2014


U.S. policy toward Castro-era Cuba has always had an Elmer Fudd quality -- it's been full of ridiculously elaborate schemes that had no chance of success. I'm sorry to learn that President Obama used some Acme products* to try to kill the wabbit, too:
The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" - a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned.

The Obama administration project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba's stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent....
We can't blame this on throwback Republicans. It started in Obama's first year in office, and was clearly aiming at Obamaesque Net-savvy hipsterism:
The social media project began development in 2009 after Washington-based Creative Associates International obtained a half-million Cuban cellphone numbers.

... Eventually, documents and interviews reveal, they hoped the network would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize "smart mobs" - mass gatherings called at a moment's notice - that could trigger political demonstrations, or "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society." ...
Needless to say, this hasn't brought the Cuban government to its knees. But what if it had? What if it had succeeded beyond its planners' wildest expectations? I assume the president imagined that commie-hating conservatives would rethink their enmity toward him, and would stop regarding him as an American-hating menace. Toppling the Cuban government would win him respect.

Y'know, just the way ordering the death of Osama bin Laden has won him all that respect from his enemies.

Forget it. All the credit, according to right-wingers, would have gone to ... oh, I'm going to take a wild guess and say Ronald Reagan. Does that seem about right?

Seriously, Mr. President: If you were thought this would change your domestic enemies' minds, you shouldn't have bothered. It was never possible.

*Oops -- as Victor notes in comments, Wile E. Coyote was the Acme repeat customer, not Elmer Fudd.


Victor said...

It was Wile E. Coyote who had an ACME product catalogue.

Elmer was strictly an NRA gun-nut.

flipyrwhig said...

Maybe it would change the minds of a handful of Cubans in Florida who tend to vote for Republicans. It's a closely contested state. It might be worth it. Again, not all efforts along this line are aimed at appealing to "domestic enemies," i.e., hardcore Republicans who will never be pleased. There are other categories of people who may, in fact, be pleased. Immigration in general, same deal. Not all of the enforcement-first people are Republican wingnuts. Some of them are grumpy blue-collar populists. Cuban policy doesn't affect grumpy blue-collar populists, but it does affect a certain demographic that Democrats could, in fact, peel away from Republicans.

aimai said...

Yeah, this doesn't seem like a big deal to me at all. Aren't we still spending tons of money on things like Voice of America? What does it mean to shift some of that crap to something like twitter? Its just a change in venue/media/platform. And I agree with flipyrwhig that it is highly unlikely that Obama gives a flying fuck about Cuba qua Cuba--but it still has important political ramifications here. Younger cubans are peeling away from the older ones at a rapid rate. Maybe this was a sop thrown in their direction, a way to give them some walking around and organizing money and a sense of investment in the Obama administration.

Steve M. said...

Argh -- that Acme mistake. Thanks, Victor.