Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba says US behind illegal wireless networks

    Cuba says US behind illegal wireless networks

    HAVANA — Cuba accused the United States on Monday of enabling illegal
    Internet connections in its territory and said several people were
    arrested in April for profiting from the wireless networks.

    The official communist party newspaper Granma said those arrested, who
    were not identified, "had for some time and without any legal
    authorization, been installing wireless networks for profit."

    Using satellite connections to the Internet and equipment that was
    either stolen or brought to the island illegally, they set up a service
    to receive international telephone calls that bypassed the state
    telephone monopoly ETECSA.

    "This activity is financed by the United States, which is where the
    necessary means and tools come from, evading the established controls,"
    the newspaper charged.

    Cuba has restricted access to the Internet, giving priority to
    universities, research centers, state entities and professionals like
    doctors and journalists.

    Because of the US embargo, Cuba cannot connect to the underwater fiber
    optic cables that pass near the island, leaving satellite connections
    with high rates and narrow bandwidths as the main option available to
    Cuban Internet users.

    To overcome those limitations, a Cuban-Venezuelan company laid an
    underwater cable between the two countries in February. It was supposed
    to have been activated in July, but it has been delayed for reasons the
    government has yet to explain.

    Cuban authorities have previously accused the United States of illegally
    introducing technology in the island to enable the creation of wireless
    networks outside state control.

    One such case was that of US government contractor Alan Gross, who was
    arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to 15 years prison for bringing
    IT equipment into the country and delivering it to various people.

    "Cuba has every right to safeguard its radio-electronic sovereignty.
    Those who try to evade it will bear the weight of the corresponding
    administrative rules and criminal law," Granma said.