Why on earth would an Ambassador in Cuba tweet?

  • 25th March 2014
Why on earth would an Ambassador in Cuba tweet?

Habittualy-Twitter-WallpaperA lot of my diplomatic counterparts in Havana look completely bemused when I talk to them about Twitter or tell them what my last blog was about. That’s not because they don’t know what Twitter or blogging is but because they don’t really see social media as playing a role in their daily diplomacy. Many ask me why I bother telling the world what I’m up to in a 140 character tweet or why I toil over a blog about Cuba’s investment policy or my recent trip to a corner of Cuba. With access to the internet in Cuba limited, they wonder who reads what I write and whether it’s really worth it.

My response is three-fold. Firstly, if you want to really understand the range of opinion about Cuba, you have to be on Twitter. There you’ll find people from right across the political spectrum (and a few beyond it!) tweeting, posting and sharing information. Everyone’s on there: government bloggers, dissidents, Cubans in the diaspora in the US or Spain, Brits who care about Cuba, Brits coming here on holiday, Cuban musicians, the Cuban government, non-governmental organisations, academics and academic institutions, international journalists in Cuba, Cuban journalists…the list goes on and on. They’re all posting links, photos, the latest news, their views and their opinions. The debate is rich. Disagreements are fierce. The humour can be vicious. News often breaks on Twitter before it does anywhere else. (And sometimes before – the story that an earthquake in Virginia was read about by someone in New York on Twitter just before they felt the tremor themselves is apparently not apocryphal.) So it’s the right place to be to understand what is happening and to learn what people think.

My second answer is that social media is also the right place to be if you want to engage with Cubans. Of course you can’t engage with all Cubans as not all are on Twitter but those that are and that follow me (about a 1,000 last time I checked), often ask me questions or challenge me about what British policy towards Cuba is. That’s absolutely right in my view – I’m a public servant and our policy has to stand up to public scrutiny. Twitter conversations don’t beat a face-to-face chat but they’re a good second best. Engaging with Cubans is also the reason my Embassy is so active on Facebook. There we publish some great photos and post lots of fascinating facts or articles about the UK, many of which you won’t read on other media available in Cuba.

Lastly there’s the question of principle. In the United Kingdom we strongly believe in the freedom of speech and the right for people to express their own opinion without restriction. We urge the governments of other countries to allow this freedom too. I believe strongly that as a matter of principle we should practise what we preach. Tweeting, blogging, posting on Facebook or our web page, talking, engaging, agreeing, disagreeing, sharing our experiences, telling people what we’ve done – all of that is bringing to life that right to free speech.

I’m not sure I convince many Ambassadors when I tell them all this; some of them look even more bemused after my rant! But anyway, I look forward to seeing you on Twitter, reading your comments on my blog and invite you to become a friend of the Embassy on Facebook.

Please follow and like us:

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages


  • Diplomacy has gone strongly digital, India at forefront: FS Shringla | India News 9th July 2020
    Diplomacy has gone strongly digital, adapting to the situation arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and India has been at the forefront of it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi turning challenge into opportunity to start global conversations using virtual platforms, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday. Speaking at a webinar organised by the […]
  • Disarmament blog: what’s the point of the Conference on Disarmament? 7th July 2020
    Skip to content Aidan Liddle UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament Part of Conference on Disarmament 7th July 2020 Geneva, Switzerland Disarmament blog: what’s the point of the Conference on Disarmament? The Conference on Disarmament resumed its 2020 session on Tuesday, after a break of 122 days. (We had been supposed […]

RSS Diplo Portal Belgrade

  • Statement by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis 11th July 2020
    Greece condemns in the strongest terms Turkey's decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This decision -that came 85 years since its designation as a museum- is an offense to its universal nature. This is a decision that offends all those who acknowledge the monument as part of world civilisation. Of course, this […]
  • Srebrenica Genocide 25th Anniversary Commemorated Amid Pandemic 11th July 2020
    Original Article The post Srebrenica Genocide 25th Anniversary Commemorated Amid Pandemic appeared first on Diplomatic portal.

Catalog of Destroyed and Desecrated Churches in Kosovo ( VIDEO )

How Belgrade based diplomats use Digital Diplomacy and Internet 2016

Diplo Portal Belgrade

Please follow and like us:
Scroll Up

Enjoy BIDD? Please spread the word :)