Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The AP news agency has reported that the US tried
to undermine Cuba’s government with a social media website called ZunZuneo. Expert
William LeoGrande says that US credibility in the region has now been damaged.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) clandestinely developed
ZunZuneo, which was similar to Twitter, in order to incite flash mobs at sensitive
political moments in an effort to force democratic change in Havana.
At its height, ZunZuneo had 40,000 users in Cuba, who were unaware of the US
government’s involvement. Realizing that the US role would eventually be discovered,
those involved in the operation sought to find independent financing for ZunZuneo.
Unable to secure a private sector sponsor, they shut the social media site down in
2012 when government financing dried up.
According to The Guardian, White House press secretary denied any involvement of
the White House with the program.
“It was a development-assistance program,” Carney said, adding: “I am not aware of
individuals here in the White House who were involved.” He also said the program was
subject to congressional oversight.
Carney denied suggestions the program was “under the table” or had “roped in”
The president of Venezuela has already pointed to this incident as proof that the
unrest in his country is being fomented by the United States. This operation in Cuba
gives other governments the perfect excuse to blame internal problems on USAID and
the United States government.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Agency for International Development has agreed to support an African Development Bank fund that helps members of the diaspora in the United States promote development in Africa and improve the flow of worker remittances.
The Migration and Development Fund will award up to $500,000 to financial institutions or network associations in West or Central Africa that propose innovations aimed at boosting local development, increasing investment in migrant home countries in Africa, or promoting regulatory reforms that affect money transfers. The fund aims to scale up its capacity-building efforts in the financial sector to benefit low-income Africans, according to a USAID press release.
Proposals must show evidence of building wealth or creating jobs in Africa, and of reducing informal financial practices, according to the development bank. In addition, proposal sponsors must be registered within Africa, the bank said in a press release.
“We are doing this to encourage members of the African diaspora to build on the social capital of their countries of origin in their local communities as well as their host societies,” said Rafael Jabba, the fund’s coordinator.
About 30 million Africans have migrated to other countries in Africa or to other continents, according to USAID. This group “holds tremendous potential for the development of Africa as indicated by a strong flow of remittances,” it stated. Remittances are the continent’s largest source of net foreign inflows after foreign direct investment, which approaches $80 billion. Remittance flows to Africa quadrupled between 1990 and 2010, to nearly $40 billion, USAID said.
However, the cost of sending remittances to sub-Saharan Africa is the highest in the developing world, USAID noted. The fund will address this cost by encouraging competition among money transfer operators, by supporting a regulatory framework and by backing the introduction of innovative technologies.