Policy: Technology

Costa Rica waits for US to explain 'Cuban Twitter'

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News,World,Twitter,Foreign Policy,Technology,Social Media,Central America,Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rica's new president said Thursday that Washington still has not explained why it operated the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside his Central American nation.

President Luis Solis told The Associated Press that his administration will lodge another request with the U.S. government to clarify the circumstances surrounding the social media program.

We will "reiterate the request for information to know exactly what were the circumstances surrounding that program," said Solis, who began his four-year administration last week.

The AP detailed in an investigation last month how U.S. officials developed the ZunZuneo program in Costa Rica as a way to undermine Cuba's government. The network was created under the U.S. Agency for International Development, but its users in Cuba were unaware it was backed by the U.S. government.

Costa Rican authorities say they were never informed of the project, and the administration that preceded Solis previously asked the U.S. to explain.

Solis said he wants to know exactly what happened and what the U.S. is doing "to prevent this from happening again without authorization from the Costa Rican government."

"I find it regrettable that Costa Rica was used as a platform for such acts without proper notification to its government," he said.

Documents obtained by the AP show that contractors working on ZunZuneo went to extensive lengths to hide its ties to the U.S., using foreign companies and computer servers paid for via a bank account in the Cayman Islands. They did so after acquiring more than 400,000 Cuban cellphone numbers from the island country's state-run telecommunications provider.

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