A Precision Propaganda Campaign on Cuba

By Rosa Miriam Elizalde on December 10, 2021

Cubans respond to N15 provocations. photo: Abel Padron Padilla

The November 15 provocation in Cuba failed. That is not coming from the communist newspaper Granma, but by the promoters and sponsors of the march that did not happen. It is reaffirmed by the sudden silence of legislators who live off the anti-Castro industry in the United States, such as Representative Maria Elvira Salazar, who issued from Florida more than 20 communiqués in one day on Twitter to promote the revolt on the island, but on November 16 she stopped dead in her tracks to avoid being the chronicler of her own fiasco.

The publicized provocation of 15N confirmed the hypothesis that the conjunction of media and social platforms can create fictions and distort reality. What they cannot do is to supplant it. While attempts were being made to rarefy and poison the social climate, the island was breathing for the first time in two years of the pandemic, more than 80 percent of the population -children included- had the three doses of vaccines and the borders were opened, which in a nation surrounded by water on all sides is the main gateway to trade and family reunion.

Whoever has closely followed this operation that began two months ago and tried to repeat the July 11-12 riots in Cuba, will find a basic narrative structure, common to all accounts: 15N was a “protest movement” similar to those that have emerged in Latin America and other parts of the world via the Internet, with young people connected to their cell phones and disconnected from Cuban socialism that could make communism disappear in the Caribbean with a sustained trending topic.

In reality, it was a smokescreen for a typical U.S. Army Information Operation (now called Military Information Support Operations, MISO). Aimed at influencing foreign audiences to achieve Washington’s foreign policy objectives, these exercises often trigger several simultaneous actions that have been widely documented in Latin America.

From the territory of the United States, whose government issued dozens of declarations of support to 15N in less than two months, everything was tried to force the revolution 2.0 in Cuba: diplomatic and symbolic warfare; cyber-attacks with the use of last generation robots on Twitter, cyber-troops and computer viruses that hijack data (the ramsom ware Cuba, for example); digital espionage with the tracking of all air and naval traffic on the island, in addition to continuous calls for denunciation; propaganda and false, manipulated and hyperbolic information. Also, calls for marches in more than 120 cities around the world, naval flotillas, payment to influencers and mobilization of the network operations systems of the transnational right wing, declarations of parliaments and parliamentarians, harassment of embassies and a siege of the Vatican, among other manifestations of international pressure.

At the same time, they made a great effort to make visible the hashtag #15NCuba. The goal was to inaugurate and give maximum visibility to a social movement created in a laboratory, which would remain in the imagination like others referenced by their hashtags: #jan25 for the uprising in Tahrir Square, Egypt, on January 25, 2011; #VemPraRua (“Come to the streets”) in Brazil, against Dilma Rousseff; #direngezi for the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the #15M in Spain, #occupywallstreet, in New York, and many more.

Finding no images on the streets of Cuba to sustain it, the “#15NCuba movement” deflated in less than 24 hours. However, the U.S. military’s precision propaganda system continues to sharpen its tactics. As I write this column, there are dozens of calls on the Internet to combat alleged Cuban totalitarianism under the guise of political correctness or in a bestial manner, calling for economic destabilization and violence. Right now, from fake profiles on Facebook, there are calls for something as crazy and dangerous as going in a migratory caravan to the US military base in Guantanamo.

The 15N campaign failed, although no one doubts that a new form of covert war or terrorism 2.0 is just beginning, which can only be designed by one state against another.  The United States, which has not been able to deal with Cuba in more than 60 years, is opting for the digital apocalypse.  But it will not be a cakewalk for Washington, judging by how it fared in its first skirmish.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English