Cuban Twitter user's account blocked after complaining of manipulation by UN HR chief
Published: Jul 19, 2021 11:10 PM
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet gestures at a press conference on Wednesday in Geneva. The UN human rights chief warned that the coronavirus crisis

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet   Photo: AFP

A Cuban woman's Twitter account was blocked without any specific reason given after she protested against the UN human rights chief using her photo to depict "protesters" against the Cuban government, when she was actually supporting the government. 

In her tweet, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet urged the Cuban government to address protesters' grievances amid economic difficulties and called for the release of those detained for "exercising fundamental freedoms." 

Bachelet used a photo of a Cuban woman holding the Cuban national flag and shouting, but to Bachelet's embarrassment, the Cuban was actually a government supporter.

Betty Pariol Quesada posted in Spanish that she strongly denounced the use and manipulation of her image as a symbol of the protests of criminals and vandals in Cuba. 

But following her justified opposition to image manipulation, US firm Twitter blocked her account because of "unusual activity."

Photo: screenshot of Twitter

Photo: original post with the misused picture

Photo: screenshot of Twitter

Photo: the new post


Bachelet, who appeared highly concerned over Cubans' human rights, has remained silent on the matter, and has not apologized for "stealing the photo."

The UN official's Twitter account, as if operated by an Artificial Intelligence, deleted the problematic post, and posted a new one with the same text but a different picture. 

Comparisons of the two posts prompted discontent among Twitter users, and a post showcasing Bachelet's role as a "tool" of the US was retweeted 8,000 times and liked 26,000 times. 

Some suspected the high commissioner is in the employ of the US government. 

"Did you know that the US State Department held secret meetings with Jack Dorsey trying to get him to buy Zunzuneo, a Cuban Twitter-style app they made for regime change?" Twitter user and senior media person Alan Macleod posted. 

Bachelet's use of a photo of a Cuban government supporter as a protester is similar to an incident involving US state-funded organ Voice of America.

Photo: screenshot of VOA

Photo: a VOA report uses crowds of Cuban government supporters as protesters

Such manipulation of pictures and Western media's silence over the matter raises the question: Do Bachelet and seemingly independent commercial news outlets actually work as part of US information warfare efforts? 

Photo: screenshot of Twitter

Photo: screenshot of Twitter

The economic difficulties in Cuba are caused by US sanctions. At the UN assembly in June, 184 countries, including the EU, voted to urge the US to remove the sanctions. However, the US turned a blind eye to the calls of the international community, and focused only on its agenda against China by smears over Xinjiang and Hong Kong. 

Bachelet did not attack the US indifference to the UN resolution, but reposted her tweet attacking the victim of US sanctions. Is she standing with the US and acting as its spokesperson?