The “most moral army in world” shits all over Gaza. Literally.

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Israeli troops may have (momentarily) withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, but they haven’t really left it. Traces of them still cling to everything they’ve occupied, and not in a good way:

When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench.

He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine.

If that was not clear enough, the words “Fuck Hamas” had been carved into a concrete wall in the staircase. “Burn Gaza down” and “Good Arab = dead Arab” were engraved on a coffee table. The star of David was drawn in blue in a bedroom.

[...]

A handful of plastic chairs had their seats ripped open, through which the occupying soldiers defecated, he said. Gaping holes had been blown in four ground-floor external walls, and there was damage from shelling to the top floor. There, in the living room, diagrams had been drawn on the walls, showing buildings and palm trees in the village, with figures that Owedat thought represented their distance from the border.

“I have no money to fix this,” he said, claiming that his life savings of $10,000 (£6,000) were missing from his apartment. But at least it could be repaired, he acknowledged, gesturing through the broken glass at a wasteland stretching towards the Israel-Gaza border 3km away. “Every house between here and there has been destroyed.”

Charming. Didn’t any of their mothers toilet-train these little terrorists? Couldn’t they at least find a bathroom to do their business in? Did they wash their hands afterwards, or just wipe them down on the curtains? And where were their superior officers when these bandits robbed Ahmed of his life savings? Sucking hummus made by settlers in the Occupied Territories off their thumbs, no doubt.

Yeah, these guys have all the maturity of a diaper-dragging two-year-old. It’s a wonder they can hold a rifle straight. Doesn’t give me much confidence in their ability to wage “surgical” strikes if they can’t even clean up after themselves. Or be trusted to leave a cash stash where they found it. Land is not the only thing these guys are in the business of stealing, it seems.

And how does this “most moral army in the world” treat the children of Gaza? Like this:

Half an hour’s drive north, a similar picture was found at Beit Hanoun girls’ school, taken over by the IDF following the ground operation. Broken glass and rubble littered the floors and stairs. Tables and desks were covered in the abandoned detritus of an occupying army: hardened bread rolls, empty tins of hummus, desiccated olives, cans of energy drinks, bullet casings. Flies buzzed around the rotting food.

Here too, said the school’s caretaker, Fayez, who didn’t want to give his full name, soldiers had defecated in bins and cardboard boxes, and urinated in water bottles. “You will be fucked here” and “Don’t forget it’s time for you to die” were chalked in English on blackboards.

The Guardian notes that the new school year is slated to begin in a little over two weeks. Not much time to repair the damage and clean up the mess, in other words. Assuming that Israel doesn’t start bombing all over again, and smash that school to rubble this time, those girls will be seeing that those “moral” Israeli soldiers are all slobbering for the chance to rape and kill them. And they’ll also be smelling the lingering stench of their ordure.

The Guardian also notes that “The Israel Defence Forces did not respond to a request for comment.” Could it because they haven’t yet made up a hasbaratic “explanation” for why their brave, brave boys felt compelled to shit all over innocent people’s homes and schools?

Golly, talk about leading by example. Yep, that squeaky-clean “only democracy in the Middle East” is sure adept at persuading those barbarous Arabs of its nobility and virtue!

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 54

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Behold, a white horse. And a pale rider.

Good morning, and welcome to today’s installment of VenOpIronía. Today, we have a very special guest from Miami, where all the flotsam and jetsam of corrupt and failed Latin American right-wing political hackery has a funny way of washing ashore. Please give it up for yet another failed Venezuelan presidential candidate…this one having the unfortunate honor of being the first man to lose the presidential elections to Chavecito himself:

Henrique Salas Römer, ex-governor of the state of Carabobo and fugitive from Venezuelan justice, stated in an interview on a Miami channel that the “Exit” was a movement dreamed up by Leopoldo López, whom he called erratic and politically hasty.

Salas also confirmed that Henrique Capriles Radonski, if he had won the presidential elections, would not have been able to efficiently govern the country, and relegated the most minimal commentary to María Corina Machado, whom he only referred to as a “special” person. In Salas Römer’s words, political inexperience and bad time management have taken their toll on these three personages.

“Capriles is behind the wave, and it overthrew Leopoldo, and María Corina is a very special being,” was the ex-governor’s observation in describing the current situation of the most renowned directors of the the MUD.

Of Capriles, Salas says that he “was lucky, because he has been very fortunate in political life in not having won”, because he would not have been able to accurately exercise the presidency. That would have provoked the immediate loss of his followers and the confidence of an important sector of the citizenry in the opposition.

Salas Römer explained that the “Exit” was Leopoldo López’s initiative. “He took it because there was something which was called “La Movida” (The Happening)…They [Machado and López] were switching from one day to the next, changing the term “La Movida” to “La Salida” (The Exit), which I consider to have been a bit hasty.”

Finally, the fugitive Salas reiterated that he had no part in “The Exit”, as an extremist and radical movement, although he was in agreement with the protest as a means of opposition to the Bolivarian Revolution.

There is no doubt that Leopoldo López, national director of the terrorist cells of Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) is growing more isolated every day in the Venezuelan political panorama.

Translation mine.

You’ll notice in the picture at that top that Salas is mounted on a white horse. That was taken in 1998, during his flopped presidential campaign against Chavecito. Salas is trying hard to look, if not exactly youthful (to compete with handsome young Chavecito, who was quite the hottie in ’98), then at least macho and still relevant. Unfortunately for him, the gambit didn’t pay off. For one thing, a chubby old man waving his cowboy hat on a white horse is still just a chubby old man on a horse. For another, the horse’s name was Frijolito (Little Bean) — not exactly a dignified name for a great leader’s trusty steed. And last but certainly not least, Frijolito — sorry, Salas — was already tainted by virtue of being a member of the old Venezuelan political establishment. The same that the Bolivarian Revolution was then on the verge of sweeping out for good. But Salas, bless his heart, was blissfully unaware that Venezuelan politics had moved beyond clownish, superficial displays by then. And just as blissfully unaware that being a member of the political establishment was not enough to get the vote anymore. On the contrary, it was working against him, as he found out during his trouncing at the polls later that year.

That’s why it’s ironic and hilarious to hear him criticizing these young whippersnappers. All of them are just as much products of the old Punto Fijo/Fourth Republic political establishment as Salas himself, and all of them, no doubt, want the same things as he: an end to all this pesky socialism, and progress, and rich people like themselves being made to pay their taxes, and so on. Salas isn’t objecting to their silly anti-progressive agenda, but rather to their haste. As though a great leap backward could be accomplished by plodding. He’s totally clueless to the fact that these leaders all failed not just by being “hasty” (or “special”, in the case of that specialest of snowflakes Maricori), but because they are all right-wing, and because Venezuela is sick and tired of their shit. Sick of old-order politics-as-usual, in which votes were bought with cans of paint and bags of groceries in the poor neighborhoods; sicker still of neo-fascist putschism, and 24/7/365 hatemongering, violence and death. And sickest of all when it comes to all these talking heads bla-bla-blathering away, proposing “movements” and “happenings” and “exits” that are never going to get off the ground, no matter how many people have to die on either side. For them, Henrique Salas Römer is just a reanimated political corpse, and one that should have been buried long ago. The fact that he has to go to Miami to be taken seriously by a talk-show host should tell you all you need to know.

Honestly, Frijolito the horse stands a better chance of being taken seriously as an opposition political candidate. If he weren’t already tainted by an unfortunate association with Salas’s ass, that is.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 53

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“United to push Venezuela along the road to destruction…” That looks about right, eh?

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to VenOpIronía!

Yes, I realize it’s been quiet on this front here lately. Mainly because the oppos have failed in their latest bid for a coup d’état, and the embarrassed silence from them has been deafening…until now. Yup, Majunche’s back, sorta…or at least, he’s back to shooting off his mouth. And what just popped out is doubly humiliating, not just for him, but for Prettyboy Leo and MariCori, ha ha:

The governor of the state of Miranda, and twice-failed opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, has declared that the project to put an end to the Bolivarian Republic, called “La Salida” (The Exit), proposed by María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López, is a failure.

“The opposition lost,” Capriles said, underscoring the contradictions and confirming the internal divisions in the MUD coalition.

The opposition ex-leader recognized that the so-called “Exit” was rejected by 89% of Venezuelans, according to surveys. This, according to Capriles, could only benefit the Maduro government.

“The only one benefiting was the ruling [PSUV] party…in places where the people are in need, they fear the opposition discourse, they believe it wants to set the country on fire,” Capriles said.

However, it is a public and published fact that the governor of Miranda took part in political rallies in favor of López’s radical proposal, accompanied by López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, and speaking alongside María Corina Machado of the need to emphatically warn the national executive, especially President Nicolás Maduro. His famous phrase was “I will make Miraflores [Palace] tremble”, spoken on Francisco de Miranda Avenue, at the Unicentro el Marqués shopping centre, before a public debate between opposition leaders and the political high command of the Revolution.

Translation mine.

Yup, nothing like the solidarity and unity of the aptly named MUD coalition. When all you’ve got to tie you together is an urge to divide and conquer, you shouldn’t be too surprised when the divided and conquered party turns out to be yours.

Ah well. Maybe another good ol’-fashioned racist lynching will serve to rally the opposition troops. When they get done shivving each other from behind, that is.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 52

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Howdy, folks, and welcome to another episode of “As the Irony Burns”. In today’s installment, Prettyboy Leo’s got some apologizing to do. To whom? Well, Jesus Christ, for one. And Gandhi. And Nelson Mandela. And oh yeah…Chavecito’s ghost, too, since he ironically owes him big-time for what he’s proposing here:

Extremist opposition leader Leopoldo López said in an interview that his situation is similar to that lived by such historic personages as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and the disciples of Jesus.

“What I’m suffering today is the same as what the disciples of Jesus suffered, and the freedom fighters. I draw strength from the testimonies of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Leonardo Ruiz Pineda,” said the Venezuelan neo-Nazi leader.

The director of the terrorist cells of Voluntad Popular was interviewed in his jail cell at Ramo Verde by El Nacional, following a hearing that determined that there is sufficient proof to bring him to trial for the events which occurred before, during and after February 12.

After 111 days in jail, López maintains that there are no reasons for engaging in dialogue with the government.

“I know the dialogue won’t go anywhere, and for that reason we decided not to participate…It is a conviction that we are in dictatorship and one doesn’t negotiate with dictators,” López told the newspaper.

López’s line concerning the Revolution remains clear and of radical tendency, as one can see from the following declarations:

“The streets will remain active until we come out of the dictatorship. Let no one doubt it…I hope that my comrades who fell into the trap of dialogue responsibly assume the frontal route of confronting the dictatorship until we dislodge it by the popular, democratic and constitutional way. If they close off all the institutional paths, which in effect is occurring, we’ll have to call for a constituent assembly, as the Constitution establishes.”

In addition, the far-right leader took advantage of the interview to threaten the female judge in charge of his case, Adriana López, who considers it pertinent, due to accusations and proofs presented, to place him on trial. “History will pay her back for that decision,” he said pointedly.

Translation mine.

Can you beat that? Putschist Prettyboy is actually calling for a constituent assembly, as set forth in the Venezuelan constitution. That would be the Bolivarian constitution that Chavecito put in place, and which was ratified by a direct majority vote of Venezuelans themselves. The same that the putschists are actually trying to do away with. Maybe that’s why this cartoon is so apt:

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“Comparing myself to Mandela was a bad idea; they could give me 27 years in jail!”

And that would be the one and only thing he’d have in common with the real Mandela, ironically enough.

Peace and order restored in Mérida

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So, how’s that coup going in Venezuela? Not so well for the putschists, ha ha:

Security corps have restored calm to the Venezuelan state of Mérida, following a spate of far-right violence dating back to last February, according to the Minister of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres.

“Mérida is liberated. Our Bolivarian National Guard will guarantee the right of free transit to its citizens. We want peace,” wrote the minister on his Twitter account, @RodriguezT_MIJP.

In another message, Rodríguez wrote: “There has been a tremendous effort on the part of our GNB officers to return peace to the city of Mérida.”

Rodríguez Torres congratulated the commanding general of the GNB, Justo Noguera, and the Bolivarian National Police “for their excellent work in re-establishing order in Mérida”.

The minister stated that “opposition radicalism has brought environmental and social disaster to this beautiful city.” Later he reflected: “This is how they try to gain power.”

Extortion, homicides, kidnappings and undue use of firearms stand out in the list of crimes perpetrated by the vandal groups who were operating in the sectors of El Rodeo, El Campito, and Cardenal Quintero, in the Libertador municipality of Mérida.

On April 25, Major-General Justo Noguera announced that more than 2,000 members of the GNB were active in the region to guarantee peace there.

To date 41 people have been killed, between February 12 and April 21, 2014. They were victims of violent blockades, traps set by the opposition, obstacles, and coups de grâce executed by terrorists.

Also, 5,000 trees were cut down indiscriminately, and damage was done to infrastructure and public property, causing losses totalling approximately $10 billion.

Translation mine.

All that death, all that wasted money, and what has it accomplished for the opposition? Nada. Zippo. Zilch. Bupkus. Madurito is still firmly in power, and democracy isn’t about to bow to terrorism. Or imperialism.

And those of you in the northern hemisphere supporting these violent so-called “protests” — don’t you feel like idiots now?

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 49

Remember this video? Remember how Ramón Muchacho, the mayor of Chacao, was all for the putsch just a few short weeks ago?

Well, that was then. This is now, and Ramoncito Muchachito is suddenly against what he used to be all for. And no less than the president of the land has made a very pointed note of it:

On his show, “in Contact With Maduro”, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, revealed that the mayor of Chacao, Ramón Muchacho, sought the government’s help to solve the problem he created, and carry out the raids which took place early Monday morning in the municipality.

“There are the people of Chacao, suffering so much that mayor Ramón Muchacho made some puzzling political declarations. He’s been nominated for the Guinness world record for most confusing statements by a mayor in many years. He said he doesn’t understand why the people are protesting. But he promoted that,” said Maduro.

“I’m very worried about the families living in Chacao, who have been victims of their own mayor, who is irresponsible and belongs to these violent groups,” the president said.

[...]

Maduro recalled how in declarations recorded by the residents of Chacao, Muchacho stated that “It’s only a matter of weeks before the government falls”.

“We have had to go and resolve, by request of Ramón Muchacho, the problem he created, because the raids carried out today — Tuesday — were in collaboration with the Chacao Police and the Bolivarian National Police to protect the locals who want to live in peace,” added Maduro.

The minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, explained that the capture of 9 vandals was possible thanks to an intelligence operation carried out over some 20 days, in which videos and recordings were seized that made the raids possible.

“We have advanced in terms of security” after detecting the presence of armed groups in the Santa Fe area in Baruta, in the state of Miranda, said the president.

In Chacao, authorities are still on the trail of 15 citizens. “They will go behind bars. Let them not think they can make a mockery of the law,” warned President Maduro.

Translation mine.

So yesterday’s raids must be more than a little embarrassing to the Muchacho in question. And more than a little funny to the Bolivarians, who at least get something to chuckle about, what with all this 180-degree opposition spinning and all.

More violent “protesters” arrested in Venezuela

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Well, well. Looks like Venezuela’s infamous guarimbas are about to be several persons lighter, if a certain highly effective justice minister has anything to say about it:

The Venezuelan minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, informed that a man known as “El Chino” has been captured after paying five thousand bolivars a week to other persons who participated in “protests” in the Chacao sector of eastern Caracas.

Rodríguez Torres added that thanks to the work of the intelligence services, early this morning ten raids were carried out, and nine people were detained, “about whom there is sufficient proof to incriminate them in the organization of terrorist acts in Chacao.”

He added that “15 raids are still to come in the days ahead to close this chapter so that the people of Chacao can return to their habitual life.”

He stated that there is proof that during the violent demonstrations in Chacao, young people consumed “crispy”, or transgenic marijuana, which was distributed in order to “raise their spirits”.

Concerning the raids, Rodríguez stated that three were carried out in Chacao, one in Prados del Este, one in Propatria, one in Caricuao, and the rest in other zones of the capital.

“Not everyone who is there is from the municipality. Among the detained, there are lawyers and some business owners who gave material aid to the insurrections,” he added.

Translation mine.

Recall that I blogged some weeks ago about “young student” putschists receiving 5,000 bolivars a week to “protest”. Where did that money come from? Well, looks like we have a few answers. I don’t kid myself that they have anywhere near all of the culprits, mind you…but at least the denizens of one wealthy and ungrateful part of the capital city will at last be able — or forced? — to live normal lives again.

And I can’t help chuckling about the “crispy” marijuana. I guess that explains this:

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Homemade spike belts…and munchies? What a combination!

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 48

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“Oh son, I’m so proud of your ‘peaceful work’!”

(Yes, I realize this is an old image. Unfortunately, WordPress’s latest update is one big nest of bugs, and one is that it doesn’t let me add new image files. Until they fix it, this will have to do. At least it fits the subject matter!)

Howdy, folks, and welcome to the latest installment of VenOpIronía, where we see how every bite the oppos try to take out of Madurito and his government…comes back to bite them:

Losses in the millions and damages done by violent “protests” to hundreds of small, medium and large-sized businesses on the Avenue Las Américas in the capital city of the western state of Mérida have caused a turnaround in the destabilizing discourse of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry there.

The organization’s leadership took a political position last February 25, releasing a communiqué in which they declared support for the “exit” which sectors of the far right promoted, intending to depose the majority-elected government of Nicolás Maduro through violence and terrorism.

However, in the last month and a half, groups of vandals have devastated the community and its merchants with the closure of the avenues, Las Américas and Los Próceres.

Marcos Delgado, president of the state Chamber of Commerce, informed that the preliminary estimates for merchants in the sector run into the millions.

“Definitively, calling for violence is calling for a civil war, and that is not the way for any country,” said Delgado, referring to the persistent calls to actions on the street on the part of spokespersons of the Voluntad Popular party.

Economic setbacks currently experienced by merchants on the avenue Las Américas, caused by roadblocks and vandalism still persisting on that main artery, have moderated the discourse of the chamber, such that it has warned of losses greatly in excess of five million bolivars a month.

“We must all recover peace in the city, political differences must be resolved in other ways, with other actions. Interrupting the free transit doesn’t seem to us an appropriate means of action, because it affects the merchants too greatly. Violent acts have led to nothing, only anarchy and destruction of public and private property,” said Delgado in an interview with the AVN news agency.

Delgado pointed out the case of the Garzón supermarket chain, a large food distributor whose flagship store on the avenue Las Américas, which employs 500 persons, as been closed since April 4 due to permanent siege and looting attempts, with monthly losses estimated at 4 million bolivars in wages and salaries alone.

Between February 17 and April 4, Garzón Supermarkets operated part-time, generating just 10% of its usual sales, due to the blockade of the avenue by violent groups.

According to Delgado, a return to normal operations and repair of the damage caused by looting to commercial infrastructure could take up to 90 days.

At present, violent groups have affected over 300 businesses and thousands of residents by way of what the Chamber of Commerce described in February as “peaceful protests by the glorious students and civil society”, according to the communiqué released at the time.

In the estimated 3 square kilometres surrounding the avenues of Las Américas and Los Próceres, at least eleven violent blockades have impeded free transit, curtailing the right to work, health, recreation, peace and education for thousands of Mérida’s people.

In the remainder of the state, the people maintain their normal rhythm of life, despite a scarcity of supplies and vehicular congestion generated by the closure of the two important arteries by violent groups.

Translation mine.

So we can see that not only are the violent uprisings by a very small group of well-to-do “students” (not all of whom are students, as we have seen) have not only failed to unseat Madurito and the other elected Bolivarians of his government, but they are also doing damage to the very entities that originally supported those “peaceful protests” (the majority of which are far from peaceful): namely, the business sector, the capitalists who would have been only too happy to have the bad old days of real shortages, real riots and real government crises back.

And how ironic is it that those who “peacefully” protested an alleged scarcity of goods and freedoms in the land have in fact CREATED that scarcity themselves? Isn’t it funny how those who have been paid thousands of bolivars weekly to generate violence are now costing their commercial supporters in the millions?

Most ironic of all is that these efforts have overwhelmingly failed to convince the poor, who voted for Madurito and Chavecito in the first place, that the socialist way of life is the way to more poverty. Instead, all it’s done is tear the last shreds of the “benevolent” mask off of capitalism and its local proponents, who are now left scrambling to restitch the scraps into something remotely convincing. While they may be able to whitewash their own cheerleading role in the catastrophe somewhat, I doubt they will ever get back the public’s trust, if they even had it to begin with.

Now those same sad clowns are going to come begging the government for more money to help them repair their premises and recoup their losses, because Uncle Sam’s multimillion-dollar budget for disruption, delivered through USAID, ironically doesn’t allow for things like this!

If only it all hadn’t left in excess of 40 dead, with more still to come, I’d be laughing so hard.

Yoani Sánchez and the ZunZuneo scandal

yoani-dinero

So, you thought that Yoani Sánchez and her “popular” anti-Castro blog were all that and a bag of Doritos, did you? Well, you may want to think again. Because there is a connection between her and the dearly defunct ex-parrot that is ZunZuneo, and a real Cuban blogger, Norelys Morales Aguilera, has laid it out for us:

While US vice-president Joe Biden was talking about his meeting with his country’s Cuban-born blogger, Yoani Sánchez, the Associated Press (AP) was revealing the scandal of how the US government created a communications network designed to undermine the government of Cuba, using shell companies constituted in secret and financed by way of transactions with foreign banks, and in which the US Agency for International Development (USAID) participated: a “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo.

CNN and other sites claimed that the meeting was to discuss topics related to freedom of expression on the Caribbean island, according to Biden’s official Twitter account. With the picturesque mystery that accompanies the US blogger, no details of the meeting have been revealed. A representative of the White House, in an e-mail to HuffPost Voices, stated that “I can only confirm that the Vice-President met with Yoani Sánchez, but beyond that information, there are no additional details.”

The links between Yoani and the Washington-designed network have collapsed under their own weight. The AP report did not mention by name whom Washington had assigned the task of interpreting the “buzz” of this illegal interference operation which as cost several million dollars of taxpayers’ money, which the Miami “Duende” immediately made vanish.

The blogger has always denied any relationship between herself and the US government, or its interests section on the island, but a cable from their diplomatic seat in Havana, on November 27, 2006, spoke of a meeting in the home of a US diplomat with young Cubans, to watch and discuss a documentary about the fall of [former Serbian leader Slobodan] Milosevic and the OTPOR movement. And on top of that, in 2011, information came to light of meetings with the then US interests chief Michael Parmly, although Obama never met with the blogger.

So we know that Yoani was more of a cyber-saboteur than a journalist, as is also demonstrated by her many travels and her lack of the journalistic rigor needed to tell true stories.

One would lack the most elementary logic if one denied the role of the made-in-USA blogger when the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives designed the plan to promote “democratic change in Cuba” in 2009, using text messaging to send political messages and call for massive demonstrations at short notice, or “flash mobs”.

[...]

An analysis of the data of Yoani’s Twitter account, @yoanisanchez, by the website Followerwonk.com, revealed an impressive amount activity in the account from 2010 onwards. Starting in June 2010, Sánchez was attracting over 200 Twitter followers a day, sometimes as many as 700 a day.

By the same means, it was discovered that some 50,000 followers of Sánchez were in fact fake or inactive accounts, to create the illusion that she enjoyed great popularity in the social networks. In fact, of the 214,063 followers of her account in 2012, 27,000 are “eggs” (no photo), and 20,000 have the characteristics of fake accounts with no activity (0-3 messages as of the account’s creation).

Of the fake followers of Yoani Sánchez at that time, 3,363 had no followers, and 2,897 only followed Sánchez. Some accounts had very strange characteristics: no followers, only Yoani Sánchez and yet they had sent more than 2,000 messages.

This operation, intended to create a fictitious popularity on Twitter, is impossible to perform without Internet access, which Sánchez swore up and down that she did not have. It also requires technical support, as well as a considerable budget. According to an investigation by the Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada, “They paid up to $2000 for an army of 25,000 fake followers, and for 500 profiles, managed by 50 persons, it would have cost between $12,000 and $15,000.”

Translation mine.

And that’s not even getting into the vast budget it must have taken for Yoani’s blog to be translated, by human hands, into over a dozen different languages. Or the fact that it’s on dedicated servers in a country that is most certainly not Cuba. Machetera has all the details, so if you’re wondering, clicky through and happy reading.

Meanwhile, here’s CubaInformación’s take on the whole scandal:

US vice-president Joe Biden picked a bad moment to meet with his Cuban collaborator, blogger Yoani Sánchez. Almost at the moment the Zunzuneo scandal broke: a social network for sharing messages with cellphones on the island which was created by the US government to provoke social revolts in Cuba after the fashion of the “Arab Spring”.

As one can read in the journalistic investigation by the AP news agency, “strategic documents…show that Yoani Sánchez was one of the personalitites” who used the ZunZuneo messaging platform to transmit their microblog on Twitter.

To be sure, Yoani Sánchez — so critical of the supposed lack of transparency on the part of the Cuban government — refused to respond to the questions of the reporters who published said investigation.

Let’s recall what ZunZuneo is: In 2009, the so-called Office of Transition Initiatives, of USAID (the US Agency for International Development) designed a messaging network for Cuban mobile devices as part of its strategy for “democratic change in Cuba”. It functioned until 2012, when the funding ran out. There were thousands of messages, aimed at young people, about sports or fashion, meant to create a loyal public at whom the second phase would later be directed: that of political messages and calls to join protests against the government.

The assignment of a million dollars to this Washington program concided with the explosion of popularity of the twitter account of blogger Yoani Sánchez. At that time, Sánchez — supposedly from a slow connection from Cuba — managed to snag up to 700 different Twitter accounts a day, and tens of thousands of followers who — later — were found to be fake. Evidently, this strategy for artificial popularity has a structure with a whole lot of money behind it.

Riddle me this: if Washington had dedicated $200 million to similar anti-Cuba propaganda campaigns from 1997 to 2011, and ZunZuneo cost only $1 million, where did the other $199 million go?

Translation mine.

‘Tis a pertinent question, no?

Finally, a little bonus, and this one comes with an ironic punchline:

Cuba plans to open social networks of its own to counteract the actions of platforms such as ZunZuneo, created by the US government, according to an announcement from a functionary of the island.

“Our idea is that no one has to an invent a service for our users,” but “that the enterprise can put in place all possible services to prevent that these things occur,” said Daniel Ramos, the head of the department of Security for the state telecommunications company ETECSA.

ETECSA has “a very broad plan” to offer different types of services, added Ramos during a press conference.

[...]

Ramos affirmed that ZunZuneo, like another similar network called Piramideo, which remains active, “was created to attack Cuban networks,” and said that ETECSA will investigate “the way and form used” by those platforms to access databases of ETECSA clients.

“ETECSA condemns the use of illicit telecommunications against its networks and users,” said Ramos, adding that “all these manifestations generate an over-use of the capacities of the Cuban cellular network”, which “harms the quality of service.”

Cuba has demanded that the United States “cease its illegal and covert actions” against the island, in response to the revelations over ZunZuneo.

Translation, again, mine.

So, there you go. Now there’s gonna be a Cuban Twitter for real. And Cuba will be improving and expanding its own Internet services to accommodate it, so there will no longer be any service crashes due to overloading by outside meddlers.

Bet no one in Washington saw THAT coming!

A metaphor for the entire Venezuelan opposition

Watch what happens when a bunch of peaceful student demonstrators try to launch the Illudium Q-36 Space Modulatorrrrr by human slingshot:

“Where’s the kaboom? There’s supposed to be an Earth-shattering KABOOM!”

And so there is…but it isn’t where they intended it to be. Ha, ha.