The member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, accused the U.S. government of being directly involved and of having serious responsibility in the incidents that occurred in our country on July 11th.
During a press conference, convened this Tuesday, the Cuban Foreign Minister presented evidence of this statement and warned the U.S. that it will be responsible for the consequences if it persists in the policy of strangulation of our country, and that its irresponsible conduct can have serious consequences that damage the interest of both countries.
Rodríguez Parrilla exposed that the controversial hashtag #SOSCuba did not emerge in Cuba, but was launched last June in New York, to try to hinder the vote in the United Nations General Assembly against the blockade. He specified that this operation uses millions of dollars in resources, laboratories and technological platforms with funds from the U.S. government.
Rodríguez Parrilla stressed that, in its beginnings, this hashtag had no reach at all, “the campaign was disarticulated when it was crushed by an international clamor, by the predominance of the will of the world to demand the lifting of the blockade.”
He explained that the call to protest at the United Nations and the launching of the campaign were made by the U.S. company ProActivo Miami, which coincidentally received a certificate of eligibility to obtain state funds from the Florida Department of State on June 15, 2021.
For this reason, the head of Cuban diplomacy accused the Republican government of Florida of financing these destabilizing actions, and presented the journalists in attendance with a copy of that certification.
He added that this acquisition vehicle works in concert with a group of companies, with high technology that moves, finances and technologically sustains a limited but influential group in Florida and in the virtual world, as well as a handful of media that control the flow of data, always with manipulative undertones.
Rodriguez Parrilla explained that they do this through many illegalities, violating the codes of the very U.S. platforms that host them, and managing the narrative to deceive the naïve who do not have the capacity to validate that information. “They take advantage of naivety and youth, the affinity people have for social media,” he stressed.
He asserted that this small media group, which was active in a major way during the Donald Trump campaign in Florida, receives federal and state funding and manages the discourse on digital networks against Cuba, encourages violence, disorder and subversion.
He stressed that among the main operators of this campaign is ADN Cuba, a project created by the U.S. Government and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the propaganda war against Cuba.
“The company Proactive Miami itself lists among its partners Yaima Pardo, the head of information of ADN Cuba, and Norge Rodriguez, who is a political operator linked to that media,” he said, adding that neither of them are representatives of our people, but have participated in violent attacks on our embassy at the United Nations and in Washington, and were also among the agitators against the baseball team during the pre-Olympics in Florida.
“The link between the funds and the operations of the U.S. Government and these operators is undeniable,” said our Foreign Minister.
Tactics To Viralize The #Soscuba Hashtag
According to the information provided by Rodríguez Parrilla, the ProActivo Miami media laboratory launched the campaign Humanitarian Intervention in Cuba and Humanitarian Corridor Cuba on Twitter as of June 5.
“Those who ask for it should be warned that it not only violates the laws, but that asking for a humanitarian intervention in Cuba is asking for a U.S. military intervention,” he pointed out.
Rodríguez Parrilla highlighted that as these tags lost ground, on June 9 #SOSCuba was taken up again because it is a hashtag that has been widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic for humanitarian and solidarity purposes, but which is now used to manipulate people, using it like a Red Cross flag, when it is really a warlike tag against Cuba.
He denounced that this label was moved from a dozen accounts, but with great technological capacity, automated, inorganic, robotic, with computerized instruments. Rodríguez Parrilla showed the press the leading accounts that moved that tag, which was joined by #SOSMatanzas and #CubaDuele. He also denounced that the operators used troll farms, which are users that coordinate a number of fake accounts and that disseminate messages on Twitter in an automated way, which implies that this large number of fake accounts launch tweets through bots at a speed that can only happen in an automated way.
“Some of these bots used in this campaign are state-of-the-art, they are expensive and they are undetectable, unless you consciously probe through the platforms’ auditing systems that regulate the environment on the networks,” he clarified.
“It is a political operation. It is an aggression by the U.S. government, which today does not need missiles, nor marines, and which has an enormous capacity for non-conventional warfare actions,” he stressed.
#SOSCuba Violates Twitter Rules
Rodríguez Parrilla showed a study carried out on July 8 and 9 that revealed that the most prolific users of the hashtags #CanalHumanitarioCuba, #SOSCuba and #SOSMatanzas operate all three tags and are also coordinated by the directors of ProActivo Miami.
He explained that on July 9 they deployed coordinated actions to give volume in an inauthentic way to #SOSCuba and managed to achieve 16 times the volume of the #SOSCuba tag, which does not happen in digital networks, unless there are deliberate operations designed with high technology.
He stressed that the fact that this tag has been positioned in the networks is the result of an inorganic action from U.S. territory, with the support of trolls, digital media, activists and automated systems to turn a message into a global trend, which is a violation of the rules of Twitter.
That platform sanctions, removes from the air, interrupts legitimate accounts of Cuban users, making an arbitrary interpretation of that rule; however, when the manipulation of the tweets with #SOSCuba took place, it did not do anything, said the Cuban Foreign Minister.
He pointed out that a single account, located in Spain, managed from the U.S., posted more than a thousand tweets on July 10 and 11, at a rate of five retweets per second. He added that it also organized the harassment of influencers, a tactic that was denounced by Cuban users on Twitter.
He denounced that, at the same time, dozens of users who logged on in a normal way, did so without knowing that they were being manipulated by U.S. companies participating in the information war against Cuba.
He explained that these users were asked to change the geolocation in their account profiles to indicate that they were acting from Cuba to deceive the Internet community, to create the fantasy that Cuba was experiencing a social explosion when in reality this was only happening from the very expensive servers of U.S. companies that for political purposes protect these digital operations.
The Cuban Foreign Minister denounced the fact that the company Twitter never activated, in spite of the denunciations it received, its anti-spam systems, nor has it blocked a single one of these accounts up to this minute.
He categorically affirmed that the users who participated in this campaign were located in the U.S., and called on Twitter to deny or confirm this. He asked the platform to act to prevent this, in compliance with its own policy.
“Twitter’s geolocation tools were manipulated to falsely indicate that 60 per cent of the users were in Cuba,” the Cuban government pointed out in its complaint.
“The tolerance of the U.S. government and those companies in the campaign against Cuba is inadmissible, and I urge them to take measures to stop it,” he said.
Likewise, he denounced the fact that there was a manipulation of images, not only in social networks, but also in some television stations that used images of Egypt, of Argentina, during the arrival of its soccer team, or of the Caracas airport, as if they were happening in Cuba on July 11, giving rise to so-called Fake News.
As part of the manipulation, some media have used images of Cubans who went out to the streets to show their support to the Revolution as if they were protesters. In the photo above, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo can be seen behind the flag. [Gerardo is one of the Cuban Five, the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters who were imprisoned in the U.S. for the “crime” of informing the U.S. authorities of terrorist attacks being launched against Cuba from U.S. soil.]
In Cuba There Was No Social Outburst
Rodríguez Parrilla affirmed that in Cuba there was no social outburst, that on Sunday July 11 there were disturbances, disorders on a very limited scale, taking advantage of the current conditions, but that these disturbances were generated by the development of a political-communications operation even at the price of violence.
“These facts are condemnable, and are being rejected by all our people,” he stated.
He added that the disorder was caused by the presence of criminal elements, and that an attempt has been made to manipulate the people by making them believe that there are pseudo-movements, with the purpose of forming a political opposition.
He stressed that the events of last Sunday were the result of the combination of several elements, among them: the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of Cubans, the shortages caused by the economic difficulties and the economic problems faced by our nation due to the tightening of the blockade, which has repercussions on our health system, electric network, food and medicines, shortages and prices.
“The United States dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to interfere in Cuba, at the cost of generating disorder and instability to fracture the social order and the tranquility of the citizenry. It uses sophisticated tools to try to take advantage of the harsh social conditions that the pandemic has generated on the planet. It is a design with political purposes that imperialism has been working on for a long time,” reiterated the Cuban Foreign Minister.
He recalled that during the presentation of the resolution against the blockade at the UN, on June 23, the use of lies and manipulation by the United States was denounced. In his speech Rodríguez Parrilla pointed out that some dream of provoking social chaos, violence and death in Cuba, already used in several countries. He added that, since that day, calls for violence and the assassination of the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, were identified.
Rodríguez Parrilla stated that today we are debating the sovereign right of a people to exercise self-determination without foreign interference, the alternative of ensuring peace and tranquility, stability and security against the usurper, a power that tries to determine our destinies.
“The international peace of all the states of the planet is threatened, and the constitutional order of our country is being challenged,” he stated.
During his speech, he explained that since July 12, U.S. spokespersons have expressed themselves in a way to distort the reality in our country, including President Joseph Biden who should listen to his own citizens who are speaking out against the blockade and against the restrictions on travel to Cuba.
“It requires a lot of cynicism to ask the Cuban State to listen to its people, when the policies against the island are intensifying and the Cuban economy is being strangled with unilateral policies,” he pointed out.
Rodríguez Parrilla stressed that if Biden had any interest and wanted, in some way, to alleviate the difficulties suffered by the Cuban people, he could take executive decisions, and with his mere signature modify, without a legislative vote, fundamental aspects of the blockade. He could urge Congress to lift the blockade. He could suspend the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. He could take measures in relation to the difficulties imposed on Cuba to acquire medical supplies to fight against COVID-19.
“However, what has occurred is an increase in political and media aggression, an increase in disinformation communication operations financed by federal and covert funds. The conduct of the United States is in violation of international law and constitutes a threat to the enjoyment of human rights”, he remarked.
We Will Apply Our Laws And International Law
The Cuban Foreign Minister acknowledged that our people, in the exercise of their sovereignty, together with the government, will make use of our laws and international law.
Of course, there are difficulties in our country, he stressed, and the U.S. has opportunistically taken advantage of the pandemic for aggression.
“Our Revolution, within international law and the Constitution, will exercise its right to defend the legal order conferred through a free referendum,” he said.
He reiterated that we have lived through worse times, and that we will know how to face the current one. “We are devoted to solving the problems of our economy, we have international support”, he said.
In addition, he added that we are working to face the difficulties: the COVID-19 pandemic and the blockade, which both suffocate and kill.
“We will continue to work on our victorious resistance. We will defend our right to free and sovereign self-determination; and we will not rest until we get out of the situation of the pandemic and the aggravated impacts on our economy,” he insisted.
He also stressed that we will defend with our all strength our right to peace, our national consensus. We will defend the Revolution and our people. With absolute loyalty to the memory of Fidel we will defend the truth, our people and the Revolution.
“We count on our people’s overwhelming consensus,” he expressed.
Exchange With The Press
In the Foreign Minister of Cuba’s exchange with the press, the first question was aimed at knowing if there is a package of solutions to the people’s dissatisfactions.
Rodríguez Parrilla explained that the economic circumstances are complex and the Cuban government has worked hard in spite of this. The country has evenly distributed the weight of the difficulties it is going through.
He added that Cuba will never give up defending itself against any aggression, at whatever level it occurs, but we will respond appropriately, on the basis of consensus.
We will always act in accordance with our laws, the truth and in consultation with our people, and in the coming days we will intensify the exchange with the citizens.
Another question from the press referred to whether the Cuban government has had communication with the Biden administration about what has happened on the island. Mention was made of the movement in social networks of a campaign about boats coming to Cuba.
Rodríguez Parrilla commented that there is communication. Both embassies work under very difficult conditions and there is communication at the diplomatic level.
Regarding the second question he revealed: “I hope that the U.S. government is respectful of international law and does not repeat the tragic consequences of the past.”
He added that Cuba is a sovereign state and our people will act with determination. “We expect the United States to adopt the necessary measures. It would be surprising if the United States, with impunity, encourages irregular and discriminatory emigration,” he said.
To the question of whether the Cuban government contemplates diplomatic retaliation against the U.S. government, the member of the Political Bureau of the CPC commented that Cuba’s conduct is totally in line with international law.
“We have the best interest of respectful relations based on international norms and the national interest of both countries. Therefore, there is always an attitude of respect and constructive disposition to dialogue from the Cuban side,” he said.
If there is any honest concern left in the current U.S. government with respect to Cuba, then there are very powerful reasons to change that policy that harms Cubans inside and outside the country, and that harms the interests of the Americans.
To the question of whether the rights of Cubans are being violated, according to images circulating of how the disturbances were controlled, the Foreign Minister answered that he has seen worse scenes of police violence in Europe, in really different conditions.
He recalled the aggressions experienced by the press in the United States during the demonstrations in Washington.
It is true that violent events have taken place, but it is not in Cuba where there has been repression such as has occurred in some European countries, he alleged, and emphasized, once again, that “we will apply our laws in keeping with what they call for.”
To a question related to the differences between the Republican and Democratic administrations, the Cuban Foreign Minister responded that there is a big difference in the platform that led to Biden’s electoral triumph. “The politics has an inertial effect,” he clarified.