Cuba ‘fears Internet, social media’
Cuba 'fears Internet, social media'
February 6 2011 at 12:45pm
By Esteban Israel
Havana – Cuba fears the United States is encouraging dissent through
social media such as Facebook and Twitter with the goal of toppling the
government, according to the video of what appears a meeting of Cuban
officials posted on websites this week.
The 50-minute video apparently is a presentation given by an Internet
expert to officials of Cuba's Interior Ministry last June.
A link to the video at http://vimeo.com/19402730 was posted on several
blogs, including that of Cuban anti-government blogger Yoani Sanchez,
and on the website of the Miami Herald. It is not known how the video
The expert, whose identity is not disclosed, told the officials the
United States is promoting use of Facebook and Twitter to foment dissent
similar to ways it was used in insurrections in the Ukraine in 2004 and
in Iran in 2010.
He also said the US government is financing the introduction into Cuba
of satellite communications equipment to create secret points of WiFi
In communist-led Cuba, Internet access is limited and content largely
controlled by the government.
The lecturer mentioned US aid contractor Alan Gross, who has been
detained since December 2009 on suspicions he illegally supplied
satellite phones to Jewish groups for Internet access. Gross is
described in the video as a "mercenary."
"The idea is to create a technological platform away from control of
Cuban authorities that permits the free flow of communication between
Cuban citizens selected by (Cuban enemies) and the world," he said.
Cuba said on Friday that Gross, 61, will face trial soon on charges of
crimes against the security of the state and that prosecutors would seek
a 20-year sentence in the case that has been a stumbling block for
The lecturer said the US-supplied satellite equipment seeks to spread
the voice of a new wave of anti-government bloggers such as Sanchez.
"A virtual network of mercenaries is organizing that are not the
traditional counter-revolution. We are talking about young people,
people who can have an attractive discourse, young people who hang out
with our children and our brothers," the expert said.
He said the United States is dedicating more money to finance "cyber
dissidents" than to the island's traditional opponents.
According to a US State Department cable obtained by WikiLeaks and
published in December, Washington is losing confidence in the older
dissidents and giving more credence to bloggers and intellectuals.
In the video, the expert said Cuba should try to neutralise the
dissident bloggers by countering with its own.
"Being a blogger is not bad. They have their bloggers and we have ours.
We're going to fight to see which of the two turns out stronger," he
said. – Reuters