The Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel opened his verified Twitter account on Wednesday, picking the 150th anniversary of the first declaration of independence as his date of choice, becoming the first Cuban leader to use the network in such a way.
The account was first created in August 2018, but Diaz-Canel published his first tweet on Wednesday from La Demajagua, where Carlos Manuel de Cespedes released his slaves and called for an independent Cuba for the first time in 1868, making public the ‘Manifesto of the Revolutionary Junta of the Island of Cuba.’
The event, known as the Call of Yara, is recognized as the first insurrection that led to the Ten-Year War and eventual independence from Spain.
“We’re at #LaDemajagua, the place where most patriotic feelings come together #WereCuba and #WereContinuity”
The state-sponsored Cuban News Agency (ACN) also welcomed the president on the special day.
“There’s no more symbolic date than this October 10 to get on social media and continue the 1868 independence struggle from this place, as expressed by the ‘banner’ heading the site of the Cuban president: 150 years, we’re Cuba! with the national flag and the bell of Demajagua,” wrote the ACN.
His Twitter biography describes him as “President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba. Committed with the Marti-inspired ideas of Fidel and Raul.”
None of his predecessors had opened a Twitter account. Diaz-Canel's move shows that politics in Cuba are entering a new era.
He soon reached more than 10 thousand followers, gaining both support, as well as criticism.
“Thanks so much to all the followers for the support,” he tweeted.
His following tweet reveals the president’s agenda on Wednesday, as he visited a western zone severely affected by Hurricane Michael.
“We’re in Pinar del Rio, where the human solidarity and strong efforts to recover from #HurricaneMichael prevail. #WereCuba”
The president visited the region in the morning along with Salvador Valdes Mesa, first vice-president, and several other ministers.
The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also greeted Diaz-Canel.
Hermano presidente @DiazCanelB, bienvenido a la batalla comunicacional de las redes sociales. Es necesario confrontar la mentira y la manipulación impuesta por las transnacionales de la comunicación, con el estandarte de la verdad en defensa de nuestros pueblos. ¡Venceremos! pic.twitter.com/IBssXHNa8b— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 10 de octubre de 2018
“Brother president @DiazCanelB, welcome to the communications battle of social media. It’s necessary to confront lies and manipulation imposed by media transnationals, with the flag of truth in defense of our people. We will be victorious!”
The 1980 Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel also welcomed Diaz-Canel.
“We’re paying attention to the news of our brotherly and brave Cuban people,” he wrote.
Diaz-Canel has announced that the priority of his government with be making communications and internet closer to Cuban society.