Only built for Cuban links

I’ve been reading about this Cuban Twitter thing. It sounds like an interesting idea to me, but I’m assuming it was a terrible idea, since the Washington Post editorial board like it. While reading this take-down of the program, I read:

The so-called Cuban Twitter is a step up from the darker and more absurd plottings of yesteryear, including C.I.A. schemes to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars or poisoned milkshakes, or to make his uniform disintegrate during one of his marathon speeches, leaving him naked in front of the crowds. But only just. Smart mobs—and then what?

Yes, “smart mobs–and then what” is the perfect question to ask the Andrew Sullivan/Jeff Jarvis twitter revolutionaries of the world though I guess I prefer smart mobs to smart bombs. But what I’m really wondering is this: where’s a good place to read about this ridiculous plans to kill or embarrass Castro? They sound comical and fascinating.

33 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    There was a 2006 British documentary called IIRC 638 Ways to Kill Castro.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    The most famous (infamous?) scheme was to chemically make his beard fall out.

  3. 3
    Sebastian says:

    Only goes to show what a bunch of incompetent idiots the CIA is. No wonder they are the laughing stock of the world and a standard trope in TV and literature everywhere else but in the US.
    Every other country has no problems killing one of their enemies (see Russia, Israel, France) but the multi-billion dollar clown posse in Langley couldn’t get rid of Fidel in 50 years. Awesome dudes.

  4. 4
    cokane says:

    know what would have undermined Castros? regular Twitter and regular social media. If the US just lifts the freaking embargo and lets open markets and ideas flood into that country, ugh, so frustrating

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Is the title from the Raekwon album?

  6. 6
    J.Ty says:

    @Sebastian: @cokane: Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous, and even more ridiculous that they’re still trying stupid bullshit plans.

    For fuck’s sake, normalizing trade would get rid of the commies in like ten minutes.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    @Sebastian:

    Interestingly, the Company was perfectly capable when it came to overthrowing democracies (Chile), especially fledgling ones (Iran, Guatemala, Zaire). When you get to an actual Communist regime like Castro’s, though…

    No wonder they are the laughing stock of the world and a standard trope in TV and literature everywhere else but in the US.

    Eh, even in the U.S. TV shows and movies that show them as corrupt, incompetent, or both aren’t that hard to find.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    The embargo against Cuba won’t be ending so long as any of the Marco Rubio types in south Florida are still breathing.

  9. 9
    PurpleGirl says:

    Canadians and Europeans vacation in Cuba, conduct trade with Cuba, have all kinds of interactions with Cubans. Yet the good ole USA, looking backwards to the 1950s tries to constrain digital media to a 1950s model. Fidel is old and sick, he ain’t el Presidente anymore. His brother is the decision maker now. It’s like we’ve never moved on.

    I didn’t read the linked article, but were they going to call it digital Marti…

    I was hoping President Obama would be able to change our course in relation to Cuba.

    Head/desk

  10. 10
    J.Ty says:

    @Chris: I always found that Burn After Reading had a certain verisimilitudinous feel to it.

  11. 11
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Why is it that I’m reading “smart mob” and thinking “Brooks Brothers riot”?

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cokane: Can’t do that. Who knows what free markets would actually do, you know. Might benefit him.

  14. 14
    🍀 Martin says:

    The problem is that every failed attempt makes us look like North Korea – over-ambitious and inept. Do we really need to overthrow Cuba in 2014? Seems more like we’re stalking some ex-girlfriend that has since moved on with her life.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    C.I.A. schemes to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars or poisoned milkshakes, or to make his uniform disintegrate during one of his marathon speeches, leaving him naked in front of the crowds.

    I know there’s documented evidence of these ideas being hatched at the CIA, but I still have trouble believing they weren’t cribbed from episodes of Get Smart!

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OT, but Noisemax strikes again:

    Ben Carson: Where Are Liberals When Black Conservatives Are Harassed?

    Ben Carson doesn’t get this…the fact that they’re black is not why they’re being “harassed”. It’s because they’re “conservatives” and therefore irredeemable scum.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I wonder why Dr Carson expects liberals to come to his defence when he is harassed; as a conservative, he would never think to come to theirs.

  19. 19
    Steve Crickmore says:

    Canadian tourists arrive in Cuba a million times a year, by far the most numerous of any country. If Obama and Congress had any sense, (which they don’t), lifting the embargo, having ten times the population of Canada, ten million annual American tourists, would change the face of Cuba irreversibly, and the country would go along way to being digital, modernized, more democratic, and raising its standard of living. Of course, Havana would lose much of its charm, and identity with an American invasión.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    oooohh…Cuban twitter…oooohh

  21. 21
    maya says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Ben Carson: Where Are Liberals When Black Conservatives Are Harassed?

    I’m much too busy defending Clarence Thomas’ paving a yellow gold-brick road for wifey’s lobby limo.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Ben Carson: Where Are Liberals When Black Conservatives Are Harassed?

    Busy defending voting rights, reproductive rights, Obamacare, climate scientists, etc.

  23. 23
    Jay C says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    The US normalizing relations with Cuba might have some of the positive effects you note (if only boosting its tourist trade by a non-trivial percentage), but I think it’s at best a guess that even completely open trade with the US would appreciably affect their domestic political considerations. I would imaging a post-embargo Cuba being more like today’s China or Vietnam: a country more-or-less tied into the international economic system, and more-or-less open to outside investment; but one where the (nominally Communist, one-party) government still keeps a tight hand on domestic politics (if they allow any). That, I think, is the main problem with US/Cuba policy, and has been for 50+ years: “normalization” of diplomatic/economic relations would require official American acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. And that, IMO, is the unacceptable step for too much of a significant voting bloc to swallow.

  24. 24
    LT says:

    It beats the hell out of setting cats on fire and setting them loose in sugar cane fields (a golden oldie CIA black-op, circa 1961).

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Jay C:

    “normalization” of diplomatic/economic relations would require official American acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

    Good formulation of the problem.

    Another instance of conservatives trying to create their own reality?

  26. 26
    Mandalay says:

    @J.Ty:

    For fuck’s sake, normalizing trade would get rid of the commies in like ten minutes.

    Right. It’s as though our betters have adopted a plan precisely designed to preserve the Cuban regime in perpetuity so that we can always have an evil bogeyman to fear, regardless of how much things get better in the rest of the world.

    Sometimes our government acts like a sulky teenager. It’s pathetic.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    @LT:

    Setting cats on fire? Torturing an animal… One of triad of activities that portend a psychopath.

  28. 28
    AxelFoley says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Oh, fuck off. Don’t Obama with the assholes in Congress.

  29. 29
    Ejoiner says:

    I cannot recommend Alex von Tunzelmann’s “Red Heat” enough for this topic – I have my seniors read it every year in the IB class I teach locally. It’s a great read for lots of reasons and she’s got a wry sense of humor that she loves to skewer some of the more prominent figures with. The first chapter is a big overview of the background history of Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba and then it just descends into crazy, disturbing, scary violence and geo-political intrigue. Covers the period from (roughly) 1950-1970 really in depth. You will come away thinking Papa Doc was a psychopath with some crazy good juju, Kennedy was a wreck, Bobby was an asshole (a loyal one!), Che was an idealistic dreamer and Castro is the best thing that’s ever happened to Latin America.

  30. 30
    LT says:

    @PurpleGirl: Sick & sad but true. It was referred to as ‘operation mongoose’, or some such junior G-Man gibberish. To quote Casey Stengel, “you can look it up”. You can, I’m certain, google it.

  31. 31
    Armadillo says:

    Here in the People’s Republic, I believe the central government banned both Twitter and Facebook because ethnic minorities were suspected to have used them for internal domestic communication leading to race riots. So Twitter = Race Riots from their point of view. I assume cutting off communication with the outside world was an added benefit.

  32. 32
    jak says:

    Try Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner.

  33. 33
    Steve Crickmore says:

    U.S. policy change on Cuba stalled – by Obama.This is the normal, risk adversive, Obama modus operandi…slow walk a paradigm shift.

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