Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Photo: Yaimí Ravelo
After hard months of the pandemic, of shocking world economic crisis, of intensified and sustained blockade -which have harshly hit our people-, Cuba is beginning to revive its social life, public spaces and services, schools, tourism and other sectors of the economy.
We are already the country in the Americas with the highest percentage of the population with at least one administered dose of the vaccines against COVID-19, the one with the highest daily vaccination rate in the world and the only one that has been able to develop a massive campaign in children from two years of age. All this has been possible due to the country’s capacity to produce its own vaccines, as a result of the scientific policy outlined and promoted by Fidel and the talent of men and women forged by the Revolution.
We are rising up with our own strength, with the unbending spirit, the dignity and the capacity of resistance of our people, with the serene and firm leadership of the country, with the spirit of victory and the creativity that has been cultivated in the midst of so many years of hard battles.
Those who have bet on the failure of Socialism in Cuba and saw July 11[,2021] as the definitive blow to the Revolution, are frustrated and in a hurry in their plans. They intend to prevent any possibility of well-being, individual and collective development, citizen tranquility and peace in our Homeland.
That is why they are promoting various destabilizing actions in the country, to provoke an incident that will lead to a social outbreak that will bring about the longed-for military intervention, which they are vociferously calling for in Miami and even in front of the White House itself.
Neither 62 years of blockade nor its 243 additional measures have been able nor will they be able to bring us down, hence the repeated attempt at a “soft coup”. It is part of the unconventional warfare that they apply to us with intensity. Strike on top of the blow.
In the Central Report to the 8th Party Congress, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz warned:
“The program of subversion and ideological and cultural influence has been redoubled, aimed at discrediting the socialist model of development and presenting us with capitalist restoration as the only alternative.
“The subversive component of U.S. policy toward Cuba is focused on the breakdown of national unity. In that sense, priority is given to actions aimed at young people, women and academics, the artistic and intellectual sector, journalists, athletes, people of sexual diversity and religions. Matters of interest to specific groups linked to animal protection, the environment, or artistic and cultural manifestations are manipulated, all aimed at disregarding existing institutions.
“Act of aggression have not ceased to be financed with the use of radio and television stations based in the United States, while the monetary support for the development of platforms for the generation of ideological contents that openly call to defeat the Revolution. They launch calls for demonstrations in public spaces, incite the execution of sabotage and terrorist acts, including the assassination of agents of public order and representatives of the revolutionary power. Without the slightest modesty, they declare the fees paid from the United States to the executors of these criminal actions.
“Let us not forget that the U.S. government created the “Internet Working Group for Cuba” which aspires to turn social networks into channels of subversion, creation of wireless networks outside state control and the carrying out of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.[…]
“Lies, manipulation and the propagation of fake news no longer know any limits. Through them, a virtual image of Cuba as a dying society with no future, on the verge of collapsing and giving way to the longed-for social explosion, is shaped and spread to the four winds.”
Sectors of the traditional counterrevolution and new characters, educated in leadership courses financed by US foundations or the US federal budget, have joined forces to try to fulfill such purposes. They lack a social base in the country, but they are duly instructed, financed and supported from abroad.
The empire puts money and expectations on the annexationists trained by them, who, under the false banner of pacifism, seek to provoke new disturbances, generate chaos and induce the destabilization of the country.
In the last few weeks, they made public their intentions to hold a march in November, supposedly peaceful, designed to take place simultaneously in several cities of the country. Their declared purposes and their organizational scheme reveal a provocation articulated as part of the strategy of “regime change” for Cuba, previously tested in other countries.
They choose dates with a certain symbolism? But this time it seems that they also wanted to show off their annexationist stature. Did they want to celebrate President Biden’s birthday with an attack on the Revolution that has so annoyed imperial administrations for 62 years? They were left wanting.
One of its promoters has been trained in courses sponsored by the right-wing Argentine foundation CADAL, U.S. universities and think tanks such as the Carnegie Fund for International Peace (directed until recently by the current CIA director, William J. Burns). Among the topics of their indoctrination have been the formation of leaders, confrontation against government structures, the dynamics of mobilization, and the role of the Armed Forces in the “democratic transition”.
Last July 11 he was the organizer of an attempted takeover of the ICRT, complying with instruction 167 of the Nonviolent Action Workshop which states: Nonviolent “Attacks”: invasions: starting with a march and taking peaceful possession of a place or property.
More recently he has joined a subversive project in academic garb, in which he shares a seat on its Deliberative Council with the terrorist Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat.
He is accompanied among the organizers of the November demonstration by counterrevolutionary leaders of the so-called Council for the Democratic Transition of Cuba, a platform that is articulated according to the anti-constitutional coup in the country, and who have openly acknowledged receiving funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a front for the U.S. government.
As soon as it was announced by its organizers, the march received public and notorious support from U.S. legislators, political operators of the anti-Cuban mafia and media that encourage actions against the Revolution.
Tweets, declarations, Resistance Assemblies and other frenetic actions fill Miami these days, as if the demonstration were to take place in that city. Regime change, the overthrow of the government and military intervention is once again the prevailing narrative in South Florida.
Among the most fervent supporters of the provocation are Congressmen Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart and Maria Elvira Salazar; the reconverted terrorist Gutierrez Boronat (who has declared his support for this action “to overthrow the regime”), the Cuban American National Foundation and the mercenary retinue of Brigade 2506, whose president on duty declared in Miami that “With these steps, an explosion will be fomented inside Cuba so that once again our brothers take to the streets and this will lead us to the overthrow of a regime…”
As denounced by the U.S. media outlet MintPressNews, many of the operators of the digital social network campaign in support of the demonstration are residents of Florida and other U.S. states. “The participation of foreign citizens in Cuba’s internal affairs is at a level that is hardly conceivable in the United States,” the publication says.
The direct involvement of the U.S. government in the counterrevolutionary farce is also explicit and provocative. No care has been taken to conceal it and no one can do so honestly. High government officials are directly involved in its promotion and, with the support of the special services, in its organization. An important instrument, though not the only one, is the U.S. embassy in Cuba, whose public statements often include blatant meddling in the nation’s internal affairs.
That office, fruit of the bilateral agreements signed in 2015 to formalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, has not fulfilled any diplomatic office for years. It does not even serve for the provision of immigration and consular services that citizens of both countries demand and depend on.
Its officials, including the Chargé d’Affaires, are forced to play the unworthy role of babysitters of the counterrevolutionary exponents and provocateurs in our country. They have the thankless task of falling in behind them, providing them with logistical and material support, as well as advice and guidance. Everything is known and documented. The embassy’s own activity in the digital networks provides evidence of what is happening and what the counterrevolution is doing.
Such behavior is in total contravention of International Law and in particular of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
With such sponsors and declared purposes, it is very difficult to presume civility and pacifism in the action called for November. Much less any legitimate and sovereign intentions.
What is at stake here, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind, is Cuba’s right to defend itself against foreign aggression, regardless of the disguise it takes.
The organizers try to cloak themselves in the Constitution to legitimize the provocation. They use constitutional precepts to defend anti-constitutional strategies. They adduce the right to demonstrate expressed in the Magna Carta, but they forget that this same Constitution, in its Article 45, indicates that the rights of the people are limited, among others, by the respect to this supreme norm: “The exercise of the rights of the people is only limited by the rights of others, the collective security, the general welfare, the respect to the public order, the Constitution and the laws”.
This Magna Carta, approved in a referendum just three years ago by 86.85 % of the voters, clearly defines in its Article 4 that: “The socialist system endorsed by this Constitution is irrevocable”. And in Article 229 it also establishes that “In no case shall the pronouncements on the irrevocability of the socialist system established in Article 4, and the prohibition to negotiate under the circumstances foreseen in paragraph a) of Article 16, be reformable”.
It is clear that neither now nor in the future can the right to demonstrate be used to subvert the political system, to overthrow the Cuban socialist project, or to establish alliances with groups and organizations that receive foreign financing with the objective of promoting the interests of the government of the United States and other foreign powers.
There does not exist in our country the right to act in favor of the interests of a foreign power and to put the stability of our citizens at risk. It is unconstitutional, illegitimate, immoral, to adhere to an annexationist project. Our laws say so and our history says so.
This is what our National Hero José Martí warned: “On our land, there is another plan more sinister than what we know until now, and it is the iniquitous one of forcing the Island, of precipitating it to war to have a pretext to intervene in it, and with the credit of mediator and guarantor, to keep it. (…) To die, in order to give a basis on which to rise to these people who push us to death for their benefit? Our lives are worth more, and it is necessary that the Island knows this in time. And there are Cubans, Cubans, who serve, with disguised boasts of patriotism, these interests”.
Enough of lies and gross manipulation of the facts. Nobody is going to be crushed by tanks in the streets as the spokesmen of the next provocation have spread. The Moncada exercise [November 20, National Defense Day] is part of the training we constantly do in preparation for defense. In the face of provocations such as this one, we are assisted by the most legitimate act in defense of the people and their conquests.
Dignity, resistance and unity are our most powerful forces in the face of the dishonorable and dishonorable annexationist action that serves the historical enemy of the Cuban nation in its plan to fracture and divide us in order to defeat us.
They have not been able to and will not be able to. Reason is our shield.
(No English subtitles on the video.)
This is considered in a report, by the non-governmental organization Amnesty International. According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.
November 21, 2019
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, general secretary of Amnesty International.
In a report, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International argues that by making their free online services essential for billions of people and by using personal data collected for targeted advertising, these groups threaten freedom of opinion and expression.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty Secretary-General, cited in the document.
Kumi Naidoo added that people are “trapped.”
«Google and Facebook have gradually eroded our privacy. Today we are stuck. Or we submit to this great surveillance machine, where our data is easily used to manipulate and influence us, or we renounce the benefits of the digital world, ”he added.
For AI’s secretary-general, the “extraction and analysis of personal data in gigantic proportions” is not compatible with the right to freedom.
According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands because it can be used for political purposes and leaves the field open to all kinds of new advertising strategies, such as attacking vulnerable people who are fighting diseases, mental illnesses or addictions ».
Amnesty International has called on governments to “act urgently,” including through the “application of strict data protection laws and the effective regulation of the activities of technology giants.”
By Juventud Rebelde
Wednesday 14 August 2019 | 09:51:48 pm.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Facebook, the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg, explains that the purpose of the practice of listening to and transcribing conversations from its users was to test the functioning of its artificial intelligence system.
“Hundreds” of external Facebook contractors have listened to and decrypted voice messages that users of the technology giant send in their chats on Facebook Messenger, Bloomberg revealed on Tuesday, quoting sources familiar with the project.
According to its statements, the company paid them to transcribe audio conversations, but did not explain where the recordings were from – several of them with vulgar content – were obtained and why they had to be deciphered.
Facebook has confirmed the information in this regard, specifying that the project ended only a few days ago. “Like Apple and Google, we stopped the human review of audios more than a week ago,” said the company. They also noted that affected users gave their consent to the practice by checking the option of transcription of their recordings in the “Settings” of Facebook Messenger.
Facebook clarified that the aim of the project was to test the functioning of its artificial intelligence system, said RT, which describes it as “a new scandal.”
This is not the first report on the violation of the privacy of users of technological giants. In early August, the corporations Google, Apple and Amazon modified their privacy policies, responding to a wave of criticism caused by reports that they listen to and transcribe audio recordings recorded by their virtual assistants – Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa, respectively – without the consent of the users.
Thus, on August 1, German regulators announced that Google had informed them that it had suspended the transcription of conversations for at least three months. In turn, Amazon allowed Alexa users to delete voice recordings from a database accessible to company employees and contractors on Aug. 2.
Liberty Guiding the People is one of the many posts that has suffered unbridled medieval voracity, typical of the old regime, on the part of the editors of the social network.
by Mauricio Escuela | email@example.com
July 7, 2019 20:07:27
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
At the beginning of 2018, Jocelyn Fiorina, a French theater director, used Eugène Delacroix’s famous painting, Liberty Guiding the People, to promote her work Shooting in the Rue Saint-Roch. It was not at all a political message per se, much less pornographic, however, the image of the woman with her breast in the air (representing the ideals of the French Revolution), was censored by the social network Facebook.
Much has rained down on the streets of Paris since that July 14, 1789, which so many point to as the beginning of a new era. So much has happened since then, that our historical culture sometimes fails to recognize its origins, especially from the generation of contents that reread that past. Tons of books were written about the French Revolution, especially about that afternoon when Governor Lunay of the Bastille opened the doors of the fortress and surrendered. It is said that the king, buried in the palace, asked if it was a revolt. “No sir, it’s a revolution,” a minister told him.
Until that date, the meaning of the word revolution was linked to the movement of the stars, not even the commotion experienced by England in 1640 was considered as such; however, as the historian Alexis de Tocqueville later noted, the revolutionary current was a force that preceded in centuries to the seizure of the Bastille and that would succeed it forever, accompanying the imaginary and the movement of history.
Hanna Arendt, in her essay Conditions and Meaning of Revolution, points out that revolutionary intellectuals from 1789 onwards, including Americans who participated in the 1776 Revolution against the British Empire, would begin to detach themselves from the notion of “the new” that despite themselves [having been] brought about by the revolution. None of them, obsessed with the purity of the Goddess Reason, wanted to be involved as the architect of a change that also brought with it generalized periods of social terror, as described by Victor Hugo in his classic Ninety-Three.
According to those intellectuals, the revolt actually wanted to take the times back to a foundational and idyllic era, which supposedly existed, in which “the lamb slept next to the lion”. In fact, for them, the revolution was nothing more than a restoration, and thus the hairy ear of counter-revolutionary capital began to be admired in the vision of these early bourgeois historians, who feared the powder keg unleashed by themselves, with the help of the dispossessed and desperate people.
From then on, the bourgeois will begin to validate the king whose head it cut off, will speak of his nobility, as well as the spirit of matron and mother of Marie Antoinette. It is a re-reading of history that goes back to our days, in the figure of the politicians of the system, who celebrate the 14th of July [Bastille Day], but fear the demonstrations of young people who display the “three cursed words”: Equality, Freedom, Fraternity.
It so happens that, quickly, the new bourgeois order took hold of the feudal imaginary, and a new “ancien regime” began to live in modern societies. Bourgeois obscurantism sanctified, above all, private property and from there it built its notion of State, Law and civil society and, therefore, morality.
Mark Zuckerberg must have been a very libertine student, during his time as a brilliant university student, taking the first tests of what was then the most extensive (and dangerous) social network in history. Judging by the number of insubstantial advertisements that fall under the censorship label of “pornography,” we read a certain obsession with the pleasures of the flesh, perhaps due to knowing them too much.
The truth is that Liberty Guiding the People is one of the many posts that suffer the unbridled medieval voracity, typical of the old regime, on the part of the editors of the social network. Facebook’s will to restore was evident during the exchange of messages between the editors and the director of the play. “When I appealed this absurd decision, the representatives of the social network assumed this censorship and said that, even in a 19th-century painting, any nudity is inadmissible…,” Fiorina told the press. The post was only unblocked, after the artist made a second version from the use of Photoshop, placing a poster of “censored by Facebook”.
It is no less alarming that those who monitor the use of the most used platform around the world not only do not know the painting, but also the historical fact and its meaning.
The upheavals of 1789 not only liberated the productive forces and brought a new rule of law, but also established a different morality, in which the body played an active role, as well as the nakedness of those parts that expressed the earthiness of man and woman. Most artists, starting with the French Revolution, would not only paint scenes of it, but would also mix eroticism with freedom, almost as synonyms.
It was the historical change that art needed to get rid of medieval censorship, the artist creates from what he [or she] feels and what he [or she] thinks, in a revolutionary dynamic that was not seen with good eyes either by the current critics. In fact, throughout the nineteenth-century, schools and authors were pondered that today nobody mentions. It was an attempt to restore medieval censorship, to take back that narrative, that of the arts, to the old regime that the bourgeoisie evoked to appease the genius summoned by itself.
No wonder, then, that Facebook, a private company that supports conservatism and still aspires to restoration, censured Delacroix. So far does the desire to restore the social network go that a Venus de Willendorf, a Paleolithic sculpture, was even blocked. Without a doubt, Facebook and Zuckerberg would have been excellent platforms not for restoration, but for the medieval witch-hunt, the Inquisition index or that modern version of totalitarian dystopia, the novel 1984. And there are still those who describe the social network and its publishers as revolutionaries.
Cuban journalist. First Vice-President of UPEC and Vice-President of FELAP. She is a Doctor in Communication Sciences and author or co-author of the books “Antes de que se me olvide“, “Jineteros en La Habana”, “Clic Internet” and “Chávez Nuestro”, among others. He has been awarded the “Juan Gualberto Gómez” National Journalism Prize on several occasions. Founder of Cubadebate and its Editor-in-Chief until January 2017. On twitter: @elizalderosa
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The new digital platforms favor the emergence of groups of individuals organized like a claque, ready to unconditionally applaud the one who pays. Anyone who isn’t in a blockaded country like Cuba can create content, invest in it for specific groups to see and even rent or buy virtual applause to generate “likes” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter.
This is the business model of these technology platforms, thanks to which, for example, in the first quarter of 2018 Facebook had a turnover of $11.79 billion, almost four billion more (49 percent) than a year ago. Of that total, about 98.5 percent comes from advertising.
Such a thing happens every day and it is difficult to generate a perception of popularity on networks without hundreds of thousands of followers. These are usually achieved by registering artificial identities that promote messages of support, and the favor is not free. There are hundreds of companies that offer this service without any complexes. Simply enter “buy followers” in any search engine to find them. And it is not expensive: the price of a thousand followers is between 15 and 20 dollars. Getting ten thousand more people to follow us costs less than $120.
“Troll farms” – editors responsible for spreading false information on the Internet – have been used by politicians, entertainment stars, American spies, Donald Trump’s campaign team, Macri’s campaign team, the British military, Israeli propaganda organizations and many others who have made these huge profits from the platform founded by Mark Zuckerberg possible and placed it among the ten largest companies in the world, according to its value on the stock exchange.
The numbers are impressive and not just for the profits: a study published in March 2017 by the universities of South Carolina and Indiana estimated that, within Twitter, the proportion of “troll farms” that use automated applications to replicate messages (known as bots) was between 9 percent and 15 percent of their total users. The number of automatically-controlled fake profiles is between 30 million and 48 million.
Not out of moral compulsion, but to tune in to Washington’s anti-Russian and anti-Iranian discourse, Facebook has been willing to shut down some “troll farms” and escape, even momentarily, from the wave of criticism that has fallen on it for buying and selling data without the consent of its more than 2.4 billion users. This is how hits decided to eliminate hundreds of accounts with “inauthentic behavior” on Tuesday, according to a press release
We eliminated 652 pages, groups and accounts for coordinated “non-authentic behavior” that originated in Iran and were targeted to people across multiple Internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, the United Kingdom and the United States.
But while Facebook eliminates foreign-generated fake accounts, allegedly of Russian or Iranian origin, it tolerates the U.S. government’s “troll farms” without any crisis of conscience. Before any of us had heard of this machinery of fake accounts, fake news and Cambridge Analytica – the London-based company that intervened in more than 200 elections by manipulating the users of Facebook – the Pentagon was already publicly boasting that it was using the blue thumb network as propaganda bait for its operations.
Defense One magazine reported in November 2016 that Michael Lumpkin, former director of the Global Engagement Center (GEC, Pentagon propaganda department), described how the Center used Facebook data to maximize the effectiveness of its operations:
“Using Facebook ads I can get an audience, choose Country X, a specific age group between 13 and 34, filter people who like Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi or any other group… and I can shoot and hit them directly with messages,” Lumpkin said. He stressed that with the right data, effective message targeting can be done with only pennies per click.
Yesterday, the Miami New Times, a weekly newspaper in Florida, released a document proving that a US government-funded broadcasting organization is creating fake Facebook accounts in disinformation operations. These are directed against a country, Cuba, that has not done the slightest damage to the United States and that cannot access the Facebook ad manager because of the US blockade laws.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will spend more than $23 million in fiscal year 2019 on its Office of Broadcasting to Cuba (OCB), which controls Radio and TV Martí, and its projects include no less than a troll farm.
According to the budget requested of Congress for 2019, OCB will use the money in fake Facebook accounts of the kind that it perfectly classifies as “non-authentic behavior” to promote regime change on the island.
Considering the disaster of inefficiency, waste and corruption that has accompanied Radio Martí and TV Martí in 33 years of existence at a cost of more than $800 million at the expense of the US taxpayer, the former head of the US Interests Office in Havana, Vicki Huddleston, echoed on Twitter the news of the digital propaganda project against the island, to which she added a phrase of contempt: “Same-old-same-old!!”.).
Will Facebook close the US government’s “non-authentic behavior” accounts, starting with those of Radio and TV Martí? To be or not to be, that’s the question, right, Zuckerberg?
(Taken from Cubaperiodistas)