Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Castro regime has published new figures regarding Internet usage on the island.

They are included in a lengthy article in Juventud Rebelde that somehow attempts to blame the United States (of course) for the abysmally low rate of Internet penetration in Cuba.

According to the newspaper, which is the official publication of the Union of Communist Youth, Cubans cannot access the Internet because those evil Americans won’t provide enough bandwidth.

In any case, the paper says, the US only wants to use the technology to encourage “internal dissent” on the island. Naturally.

Anyway, to the official figures, which I suggest you approach with care.

The paper claims there are 790,000 email users in the country plus another 150,000 Cubans with access to the Internet. It also claims that there are about 1,500 Internet sites – all of which are either published or sanctioned by the Communist Party and its front organisations.

What the paper does not say is that:

1. Internet access is restricted to those considered by the regime as “ideologically secure”, and

2. Ordinary Cubans need a special (and rarely obtainable) permit to buy a computer, as you can read in this BBC report.


Blogger Mark in Cuba said...

How terribly sad, that your ideology blinds you to the real achievements in Cuba in the field of information technology. I've been working in Cuba and on this theme for over a decade. I was there on the day that th exile community dropped an "e-bomb", knocking out Cuba's only email server back in '96. I've travelled the country, experiencing the very real IT revolution that's happening via the Joven Club de Computación ( The reality is that the U.S. embargo of Cuba does mean that Cuba has to pay much higher prices for satellite connectivity via european countries (e.g., Italy) because any U.S.-connected ISP is prohibited from doing so - and U.S. dominance in this area throughout the region means Cuba has no option. I fail to comprehend this rather odd equating of "internet" and "human rights". It's not in any charter I've seen, and for a developing country, giving citizens the ability to surf CNN or MySpace is far less of a priority than putting resources into feeding people, infrastructure, health care and education. Cuba has invested hugely in providing technology to students at all levels, and has been rapidly building up capacity in software development at the IT university in the former Soviet intelligence base at Lourdes.

Cuba deserves a helluva lot more respect for its achievements than it gets - all due to the rabid, misinformed and deceitful propaganda spread by the exile community and the U.S. state department.

Until you Americans learn to remove your anti-communist blinders, there is no hope for normalized relations with Cuba. At least the rest of the world has a clue. It is a true shame that so many children have grown up in the Cuban-American community, their heads filled with hatred by parents and others who were on the losing end of the Revolution. The vast majority of Cubans gained immensely from the Revolution, even with its many mistakes. History will absolve them, and the U.S. will be judged harshly for its part in stunting Cuban development.

2:49 pm  
Anonymous William Smith said...

How curious. Left wing ideologues might well say the same of Stalin--and did, until the truth began to emerge after Stalin's death.

And isn't a free press--and free access to information--an essential element of a democratic society?

The internet data only serve to demonstrate that, along with North Korea, Cuba is the last refuge of a dead ideology which can only prop itself up by restricting information. (Let us hope that Venezuela does not fall back in that direction.)

The day Castro dies will be the day the "revolution" dies.

4:51 am  

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