Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro Espin, has gone on a Twitter tirade against an anti-government Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez, shortly after Castro Espin joined Twitter.
Castro Espin used her first tweets Tuesday to promote her trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to tour the city's red light district in her role as director for Cuba's National Center for Sexual Education, CNN reports.
According to The Associated Press, Sanchez "sent the first salvo," with a tweet @CastroEspinM that read:
“They tell me Mariela Castro opened a Twitter account... A question for her, ‘When will we Cubans be able to come out of other closets?’”
Soon afterward, she wrote:
"Welcome to the plurality of Twitter... Here no one can shut me up, or deny me permission to travel or block my entry."
Castro Espin responded by tweeting @yoanisanchez — whom she addressed by name — that she needed to undergo re-education.
"Your focus on tolerance reproduces the old mechanisms of power. To improve your 'services' you need to study."
Twitter is popular in Cuba, where internet access is limited, as tweets can be sent through text message.
Fidel Castro himself has a Twitter account.
Sanchez uses Twitter and a blog, Generation Y to criticize the Castro regime. She also contributes to the Huffington Post, where her bio reads:
"Yoani Sanchez, a University of Havana graduate in philology, emigrated to Switzerland in 2002, to build a new life for herself and her family. Two years later, she decided to return Cuba, promising herself to live there as a free person."
According to the AP, Cuba accuses government critics like Sanchez "of being mercenaries in the hire of Washington."
According to HuffPost, Sanchez "continued goading the Twitter spat" by asking Castro Espin — famously Cuba's leading gay rights activist — how she could "ask for acceptance just for one issue." "Is tolerance universal or not?"
Castro Espin, presumably bombarded by other critical tweets after Sanchez's message, shot back in 140-characters that echoed the tone of her father's regime — implicating capitalist motivations from her critics.
"Despicable parasites," she tweeted, "Did you receive the order from your employers to respond in unison and with the same predetermined script? Be creative."
Separately, Raul Castro — the Cuban president — has named close confidante and Angola War veteran Leopoldo Cintra Frias as Cuba's new defense minister.
Cintra, 70, joined Raul and Fidel Castro's rebel movement in his early teens.
He has been serving as first vice-defense minister since the death in September of Julio Casas Reguiero, the island's former defense minister, the AP reports.