Map of Actions and Actors in the Soft War Against Cuba

Misión Verdad
Luis Otero Alcántara’s light-hearted gimmickry has contributed to the overexposure of the soft coup strategy exercised against Cuba since Trump occupied the White House (Photo: Archive).

Last March 30, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, issued  a statement  in which he described as “spontaneous demonstrations” that were “a reflection of the legitimate demands of the population, but were met with repression” the national protests of July 11 and 12, 2021 in Cuba.

The intervention of the United States  and several of its allied governments in the destabilizing escalation developed last year within the framework of an aggravation of unilateral coercive measures and the effects of the global pandemic of covid-19 is well known.

In a clear act of interference, Borrell described as “disproportionate” the 128 sentences applied to the operators of the violent escalation that sought to carry out a soft coup. He also called on the Cuban authorities to allow the diplomatic community to attend the trials and urged the release of all those involved who are subject to justice and the law, according to Cuban legislation.

The Cuban government’s response was not long in coming. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, who is also a member of the Political Bureau, pointed out that “only our courts, and not any European authority, are empowered to issue sentences in strict adherence to due process”, adding that the EU has no right or moral authority to intervene in matters that are the sole responsibility of the Cuban State. He stated that the EU should concern itself with the episodes of repression occurring in its member states and of minors detained in its jails.


As is well known, last year small and medium sized demonstrations took place in some Cuban cities calling for a “humanitarian intervention”, but which basically sought to dismantle, with the same script but with new actors, the revolutionary process that has been developing for more than 60 years. This was accompanied by a disinformation war and a component that included sectors of the island’s cultural movement.

It was a call to the United States and the “international community” to intervene in an alleged collapse of the health and economic crisis experienced by the island due to the pandemic, aggravated by the impacts of the economic, financial and commercial war waged by Washington. The judicial balance was more than 1,400 people arrested and 790 charged, from which the condemnations pointed out by the European interventionist statement were derived.

In an act of illusory superiority, the European axis tried to pontificate on human rights, even when it is subordinated to Washington, its members close media, condemn rappers such as Pablo Hasel for accusations against a monarch allegedly involved in corruption and the repression of the protests of the Yellow Vests in France exceeded 1 thousand injured and has caused the loss of eyes and even hands to several demonstrators.
While the EU condemns Cuba, Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel was sentenced for “insulting the monarchy and extolling terrorism” and protests over his imprisonment saw 137 people arrested across Catalonia | CREDITS:Reuters

During last July’s protests in Cuba, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, the coordinator of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), was arrested and since then he has carried out several hunger strikes in prison, which he ended last February.

One of his sponsors, the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL) Foundation, based in Argentina, asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to intercede on Otero’s behalf. They also requested intercession for Maykel Castillo Perez “Osorbo”, who has been detained since May 2021 for alleged crimes of resistance and contempt, is winner of two Latin Grammy Awards for the song “Patria y Vida” together with rapper Yotuel Romero, singer and composer Descemer Bueno, and the reggaeton group Gente de Zona.

Borrell’s communiqué refers to a 30-year sentence. The two cases correspond to the crime of sedition (destabilizing the State and subverting the order, legally established in Cuba) because they armed themselves with stones, bottles and other objects for the aggression, which were thrown at the cordon of public agents, while they were advancing towards them. One of them is a recidivist in the commission of criminal acts and was on extrapenal license, the other is a multi-recidivist and had been sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment for robbery with force, and three months of imprisonment for theft.

Regarding the convicted juvenile offenders:

  • 31 defendants between 16 and 20 years of age were sanctioned, to whom the reduction of the minimum and maximum frames of the sentences was applied.
  • Those between 16 and 18 years of age can be reduced by up to half, and those between 18 and 20 years of age by up to 1/3.
  • Twenty-two of them were found to have “social misconduct”, in addition to having no work or student ties.


In addition to the EU, dozens of prestigious world organizations, such as Amnesty International and Pen International, have been demanding for months the release of the detainees for the events of last July.

A previous investigation revealed how the Cadal Foundation economically stimulated the protests, and its resources came “from the hands of the CIA branches for the region; the Atlas Foundation (linked to the Koch brothers), Fupad (Pan American Development Foundation), USAID and NED”.

There are other actors such as the Institute of Peace and War Journalism, Factual, Distintas Latitudes, Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, Editorial Hipermedia, Diario de Cuba, Cubanet, the Sergio Arboleda University (technocratic nucleus of Uribism where Iván Duque comes from), in addition to fundraisers from different agencies and foundations together with other NGOs registered in different countries that mask media such as CiberCuba, ADN Cuba, Cubanos por el Mundo, Cubita Now, Cubanet, Periodismo de Barrio, El Toque, El Estornudo and YucaByte.

The network of media, influencers and financed media agents support the activity of actors bought for regime change in Cuba, has been moving with strong funding until today in networks and digital media.

In addition to cyberactivism they have escalated into new journalistic trends, as journalist Javier Gómez Sánchez states:

“They are digital media created and sustained as part of a long-term operation implemented by the CIA in Cuba to manufacture a press that, from the Internet, would generate deliberately toxic political content towards the Revolution, under the facade of journalistic exercise.”

On June 2, shortly before the insurrectional assembly, Samantha Power, director of USAID, condemned the imprisonment of Osorbo, making evident her agency’s bet on the infiltration of Cuba’s hip-hop music industry and the recruitment of rappers to culturally condition the younger generations and incite them to “regime change”. It is a strategic project that has the main Cuban cities as its nucleus, but directed from the United States.


A brief profile defines the two named characters:

  • Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara. He has dedicated himself, through grotesque pseudo-artistic expressions, to promote values contrary to the Cuban Revolution, patriotic symbols, bordering on public offense, provocation and illegality.
  • Maykel Castillo “Osorbo”. He issued constant calls, via social networks, for violence, disrespect and disorder, advocating a U.S. invasion of Cuba. He has been previously prosecuted for the crimes of robbery, theft, contempt of court and assault.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo of the San Isidro Movement have been convicted of recurring crimes in Cuba and the U.S. government is demanding they be released “immediately”  | CREDITS: Diario de Cuba

Other actors:

  • Berta Soler. Leader of the Ladies in White, who declared in Spain that Batista’s Cuba was a “golden jewel”, has a long history of provocations backed by money from the Cuban American National Foundation in Florida (United States). The lack of effectiveness of his media actions has taken its toll on him, that is why he has decreased the amount of money he receives, he has been accused of using those funds for personal benefits and not to fight for a supposed “cause of Cuba”.
  • José Daniel Ferrer. Promoter of criminal and counterrevolutionary actions with international recognition. This is the character who hit his head several times against a table and then accused a security officer of having assaulted him.
  • Denis Solis. Positioned as an engine of mobilization for the MSI. Served a sentence in Cuba for assaulting a policeman at the door of his house when he was summoned to testify about his links with counterrevolutionary groups abroad who were planning to carry out vandalism actions, at the end of the measure he left Cuba to an unknown destination.

Actors from outside Cuba:

    • Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat. Cuban-American based in South Florida, he heads the organization Directorio Democrático Cubano or Dirección Democrática Cubana, even though his speeches are tinged with pacifism in November 2020 he issued a communiqué saying that: “If there is deadly repression, it is legitimate to use military force to repress the people of Cuba, and we call for international intervention led by the United States to overthrow that regime and put an end to it.”
    • Ultrak. It promotes terrorist actions in Cuba, finances acts of vandalism inside the island and uses social networks to make rude calls for contempt, thus transferring the aggressiveness of its language in social networks to the Cuban reality, it has even threatened to kill journalists in Cuba.
    • Alexander Otaola. Initially he attracted public and followers by addressing issues related to artists and show business but then he defined his clear line of incitement to a social outbreak on the island through disobedience and chaos. In 2020, he interviewed then U.S. President Donald Trump on his program and gave him a “red list” of Cubans to be barred from entering the country, among them, the duo Gente de Zona and their families for having greeted President Miguel Díaz-Canel during a concert in Havana. The group purged their guilt by participating in “Patria y Vida”.
    • Tania Bruguera. Operator of the MSI that seeks benefits and positioning, bordering on illegality through the organization of provocative acts of violence and confrontation in spaces such as the Plaza de la Revolución, all from a symbolic construction in art.
    • Carlos Manuel Álvarez. He directs the media called El Estornudo, from his social networks he tries to denigrate the work of Cuban doctors abroad, Che and Fidel. He is a high-level Cuban journalist and writer installed in Mexico who managed to insert the MSI in hegemonic media such as the New York Times.
    • Omara Ruiz Urquiola. Former professor at the Instituto Superior de Diseño, MSI participant, related to high-level U.S. government officials in Cuba. She described as “profiteers and careerists” a part of the San Isidro Movement that participated in dialogue spaces with the Ministry of Culture of Cuba.
    • Elaine Díaz. Journalist and former professor at the University of Havana based outside Cuba and dedicated to recruiting young journalists and university students to build subaltern narratives against the Cuban Revolution. She was the first Cuban to obtain a Nieman scholarship from Harvard University, within the “leadership training” programs that have been implemented and financed in several universities in the United States, Europe and Latin America through apparently innocent interfering entities.
    • Eliécer Ávila. Based in the United States, who has declared on multiple occasions that he is in favor of violence and the invasion of Cuba, linked to the ultra-right-wing Vox party and operates from the Somos+ group. He went so far as to criticize the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and said that the high unemployment among the black population in that country is due to their lack of “will to work”. He signed a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, demanding that the blockade and economic sanctions against his country not be lifted (14).
    • Ariel Ruiz Urquiola. Biologist who has tried to denigrate the international medical cooperation of the island and the National Health System that treats him for a chronic illness and guarantees him free medication. He is presented by the United States as an ecologist and defender of Human Rights, he has a sanction for the crime of contempt and links with representatives in Havana of the United States government.
    • Rosa María Payá. Representative of the interests of the extreme right in Miami in relation to Cuba, in her Twitter account she published: “For years I have requested first of the Obama administration and then the Trump administration to reincorporate the Cuban regime in the list of sponsors of terrorism because it is the right and coherent thing to do”. He requested on Wednesday, March 30, to the UK Parliament, the application of sanctions against Cuba for “violating human rights and judicial repression against the demonstrators of the social outburst of last July 11 and 12.”

    Elements that shape the subversive campaign led by cultural actors, media and social networks. | CREDITS:Prensa Latina