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U.S. created Twitter-like service in Cuba, denies fomenting unrest


The U.S. government created a service similar to Twitter in Cuba in a “discreet” operation intended to promote democracy on the communist-ruled island, officials said on Thursday, but denied that the $1.2 million effort was aimed at fomenting unrest. The program, whose existence was first reported by the Associated Press, was run by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which normally delivers aid to the world’s poor, and was discontinued in 2012, officials said. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the program was neither “secret” nor “covert” under the U.S. government’s definitions of those terms. Harf said this “democracy promotion” program created a platform “similar to Twitter” and was carried out under a three-year grant totaling $1.2 million and was created using subcontractors and foreign banks.

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