Freedom House: No internet freedom in Cuba
It seems the wonderful and magnanimous reforms of Cuban dictator Raul Castro have not yet made their way to the internet. While "Cuba Experts" and foreign news agencies sing the praises of the recent "reforms" instituted by Cuba's apartheid dictatorship, actual Cubans (the ones who have to live with these "reforms") continue to be one of the few nations in the world where the government prevents them from having free access to the internet.
Freedom House: Cuba Remains a Major Internet Freedom Violator
Freedom House has just released its Freedom on the Net 2013 report.
According to the report (and common sense), Cuba's "Internet Freedom Status" remains NOT FREE.
Here are some 2012-2013 key developments:
- Cuba’s eagerly anticipated high speed ALBA-1 fiber optic cable, which was expected to increase data transmission speeds on the internet 3000 fold, was connected in early 2013; however, access was limited to select government offices rather than being extended throughout Cuba.
- The government imposed tighter restrictions on e-mail in the workplace, installing a platform that blocks “chain letters critical of the government."
- In 2012 and 2013, the government continued its practice of employing a “cyber militia” to slander dissident bloggers and to disseminate official propaganda.
- Arbitrary detentions and intimidation of bloggers increased in late 2012.
- Travel restrictions were loosened in early 2013 and some high-profile bloggers, such as Yoani Sánchez, were granted permission to leave Cuba for the first time in years.
It also reported:
Although the government appeared to loosen its restrictions on online media by unblocking a number of blogs in 2011, this period of opening was short-lived, as illustrated by a rash of arbitrary detentions in November and December 2012. Pro-government blogs that dared to be too critical of government policy were blocked, and phone numbers associated with the “speak-to-tweet” platform, widely used by activists to publicize human rights violations, were shut down. Such activity is not uncommon in Cuba; however, in 2013, the number of blocked websites remains more or less the same as it was in 2012. At least a dozen bloggers have been arrested, several nonviolent activists have been publicly beaten, and one citizen journalist was held without formal charges for six months before his eventual release. Surveillance remains extensive, extending to government-installed software designed to monitor and control office e-mail accounts as well as many of the island’s public internet access points.
Cuban legal structure is not favorable to internet freedom. Surveillance is widespread and dissident bloggers are subject to punishments ranging from fines and searches to confiscation of equipment and detentions. The constitution explicitly subordinates freedom of speech to the objectives of a socialist society, and freedom of cultural expression is guaranteed only if such expression is not contrary to the Revolution.
You can read the entire Cuba section here.