During the past couple of days we have seen a flurry of news articles breathlessly reporting on the newest “reform” from Cuba’s totalitarian dictatorship, which supposedly will now provide Cubans with unfettered access to the internet. But as the facts prove out, nothing could be further from the truth. The Cuban regime is actually opening a few internet cafés where Cubans can access the regime’s highly-filtered and highly-monitored intranet at the exorbitant cost of one week’s pay for an hour of access.
Oh, and how about an internet connection at home? You can forget about that:
Cuba rejects private online access
Havana – Cuban authorities on Wednesday declined to grant internet access to private homes on the communist island despite the expansion of communication infrastructure.
“Cubans are expected to be connected (to the internet) in their homes, but the initial priority in the current circumstances will be granted to collective points of access,” Cuba’s deputy communications minister Wilfredo Gonzalez Vidal said in an interview published in the Communist Party daily Granma.
Gonzalez Vidal wrote that the goal is “to reach the greatest number of people with less investment.”
On Tuesday, Cuban authorities announced that 118 internet cafes would open around the country to benefit from a fibre-optic cable strung from Venezuela. They are to join around 200 points of access in the island’s tourist hotels, although prices will in all cases remain high for Cuban standards.
Continue reading HERE.
The whole “it’s too expensive to provide internet to everyone” excuse from the Castro dictatorship would perhaps get a little more traction if it were not for the fact that the same regime is investing large amounts of resources to convert the island to digital television.
But to return to the topic of internet access, it is interesting to note that on an island with over 11-million inhabitants, only 334 computers have unfettered access to the internet. And naturally, those computers all belong to and are under the control of high-ranking Cuban dictatorship officials. For everyone else, the internet experience in Cuba is subjected to a filtering system that is five layers deep.
[L]imited access points* (1st filter), controlled by the Castro regime’s telecom monopoly ETECSA (2nd filter), through a State web portal called Nauta (3rd filter), under prohibitive costs (4th filter) and constant monitoring for conduct that “violates the State’s norms of ethical behavior” (5th filter) can be referred to as “unrestricted Internet access” is mind-boggling.
*Offered in only 334 computers in the entire island of Cuba.
So much for Cuba’s latest reform… Turns out it is just like all the other reforms.