HAVAVA, July 21st TWITTER blocked the account of a Cuban woman on Monday after she complained that her image was being used as a symbol of anti-government protests in a US-backed media warfare campaign.
Betty Pairol Quesada raised objections after her photo was included in a tweet by United Nations human rights high commissioner Michelle Bachelet urging the Cuban government to release those detained for “exercising fundamental freedoms.”
In her Twitter post Ms Bachelet had called on Havana to address the grievances of those involved in recent protests. Her message came amid a targeted campaign of manipulation emanating from US-linked social media accounts.
But Ms Quesada responded angrily, saying in a tweet that she is a supporter of the Cuban government and denouncing the use of her image as a symbol of the demonstrations “of vandals and criminals.”
Soon after her post, US-based Twitter blocked her account on grounds of “unusual activity.”
The image of Ms Quesada was subsequently deleted, but Ms Bachelet has so far failed to apologise for its use and her Twitter account remains active.
It is not the first image that has been misrepresented since protests started in Cuba on July 11.
A photo used by the US-state funded Voice of America — and republished by the Guardian, the Financial Times, Fox News and the New York Times — to portray mass unrest in Cuba was, in fact, an image of a pro-government rally in Havana.
An aggressive media offensive is being waged against Cuba, coupled with attempts to seize on an economic crisis caused by a six-decade US economic blockade and worsened by increased sanctions and the collapse of tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.
But despite Washington’s best efforts, the large majority of Cubans back their government, with tens of thousands rallying in support of the Cuban revolution while demanding an end to the US blockade.
On Monday, the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, the largest mass organisation in Cuba, condemned the “acts of violence” that took place on July 11.
“The right of all to live in peace is today threatened by the destabilising actions encouraged by the United States and by spokespersons who, in some cases, have gone as far as to call for a military invasion of our island,” it said in a statement.
“We … are the great majority of the people, we live equally in the countryside and in the cities, in residential neighbourhoods and in poor neighbourhoods with greater social problems; we stand in the same lines, we suffer the same blackouts, we suffer the same shortages.
“But we are united by the commitment to defend the revolution at all costs and not to get on our knees before an empire that for more than 60 years has subjected us to the most criminal blockade in history in the hope of making our people surrender out of hunger, need and desperation.
“We know that we still have a long way to go to build the Cuba we long for, the one dreamed of by Marti, Fidel and Raul, the one our children deserve; but that Cuba can never be born under the rubble generated by the chaos they want to impose on us.