Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba ‘fears Internet, social media’

    Cuba 'fears , social media'
    February 6 2011 at 12:45pm
    By Esteban Israel

    – Cuba fears the 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 was posted on several
    blogs, including that of Cuban anti-government Yoani Sanchez,
    and on the website of the Miami Herald. It is not known how the video
    was obtained.

    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 , 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
    US-Cuba relations.

    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
    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