Cuba has claimed that a video game in which crack US troops try to kill a young Fidel Castro glorifies assassination and would turn American children into sociopaths.
The island’s state-run media also took a swipe at the CIA’s real-life efforts to kill the island’s revolutionary leader, who has survived dozens of attempts on his life.
“What the US couldn’t accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually,” said an article on Cubadebate, a state-run news website.
The row surrounds one of the most highly anticipated “shoot-’em-up” video games of the year, Call of Duty: Black Ops, which went on sale this week.
The game, from California-based Activision Blizzard, takes players on secret missions to American Cold War enemies such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos.
The Cuban operation is one of the first challenges players face in the ultra-realistic game. The mission takes place with John F Kennedy in the White House in the months leading up to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
Players must shoot their way through the colonial streets of Havana on a mission to assassinate Castro, then a young revolutionary who had recently overthrown dictator Fulgencio Batista. But in a twist, they end up killing a body-double and are sent to prison in Siberia. Cuba said the game attempted to legitimise murder and assassination in the name of entertainment “This new video game is doubly perverse,” the Cubadebate article said. “On the one hand, it glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the US government planned against the Cuban leader… and on the other, it stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents.” But Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M International University who studies video-game violence, said: “There is really a lot of, obviously, rhetoric and politics going on. At this point, there is no evidence that video games, violent or otherwise, cause harm to minors.”