USAID Hired Writers for ‘Cuban Twitter’

USAID Chief Defends Scheme as Vital 'Democracy Assistance'

Details continue to emerge on ZunZuneo, the notorious “Cuban Twitter” that was manufactured entirely by USAID as a US taxpayer-funded attempt at Cuban regime change. It keeps getting worse.

Far from just a social media network they figured would organically produce “democracy,” USAID actually went out and hired writers to come up with tweets mocking the Cuban government, and sent them around to Cuban users of the program.

USAID sunk $1.6 million into the program, which officially reached around 40,000 subscribers in 2012. They pulled funding that year, and the service disappeared pretty much immediately thereafter.

USAID chief Rajiv Shah defended the program as “critical democracy assistance” to Cuba, and confirmed that there are other similar programs targeting “a broad range of goals” in other countries, though he declined to name any of them.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT), the head of the finance subcommittee for the program, dubbed it “dumb” when it was first revealed, and later declared it a “cockamamie” idea. Congress was never told about the program, and the money came out of aid earmarked for Pakistan.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ever a regime-change enthusiast, cheered the program, and condemned the media for “demonizing” it, suggesting it was exactly the sort of thing USAID should be doing.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of