Cuban Internet Users Caught Between U.S. And Cuban Restrictions

June 28, 2012 7:00 am 1 comment
Cuban Internet Users Caught Between U.S. And Cuban Restrictions

An Internet cafe in Guantánamo, Cuba.

Top Story — After blocking Cuba’s access to Google Analytics last week despite having approved $4 million in taxpayer money to create a “digital democracy” program on the island, the U.S. is sending a mixed message about its commitment to increasing the free flow of online information to Cuba. An April U.S. State Department letter to Congress said that it would spend millions on technology projects in Cuba with the goal to “increase the flow of uncensored information to, from and within the island” by September 30. However, U.S. export controls and trade sanctions have led Google to block islanders’ access to Google Earth, Google Toolbar, and now Google Analytics, as well as other services provided by other corporations. Due to additional restrictions by the Cuban government, which blocks user access to services like Skype, Cubans have the lowest Internet penetration rate in the Western Hemisphere and use alternate, government-censored versions of popular sites like Facebook (the Cuban version is called “Redsocial”) and Wikipedia (“EcuRed”) due to limited or unreliable access to the original versions.

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