Free Internet?

Isaac Sibecas
Calle de la Habana by Isaac Sibecas

Recent unexpected cancellation of internet accounts of the independent journalists Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina and Anderlay Guerra Blanco has confirmed what we have long known: access to the Internet in Cuba is subject to the decisions of the Ministry of the Interior.

Cancellations of paid accounts without any explanation are likely to occur again, every time a citizen dares to cross the limits imposed by the government. This is because the law allowing censors to make such cancellations lacks any exact specifications, and censors thus enjoy great freedom when doing their job.

With this gesture, the regime has clearly shown that there’s little chance that giving Cubans access to the Internet could lead to a real change in terms of free sharing of ideas and support of independent alternatives that would help establish social harmony and lead to human development in accord with the fundamental freedoms.

A “politically incorrect” video, an article considered “subversive”, or a picture in conflict with the “revolutionary aesthetics” are sufficient reasons to deprive a person of his or her right to access the Internet via the domain operated by the ETECSA telecommunications company.

If we look at it objectively, there is a zero chance that the Internet (or cell phones and new communication technologies in general) will succeed in becoming the driving force for social and political changes in Cuba, at least in the short or medium term. Each change introduced by the government with the intention to promote the use of technologies is likely to be accompanied by adequate measures to prevent anything that could pose a threat to the regime. The government will make concessions only as long as they are convenient. It would be too naïve to think the opposite.

Once again in their lives, Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina and Anderlay Guerra Blanco have been forced to seek alternative ways enabling them to continue publishing their audiovisual works in cyberspace. The independent journalism they do in Guantanamo, where they live, has been drawing attention due to the number of repressive acts taking place across the whole east of the country.

Thus, Rolando and Anderlay, fathers of the project known as “Proyecto Palenque Vision”, whose purpose is to spread videos on subjects that the government tries to hold back, will be again forced to travel hundreds of miles to publish their works, since they are no longer allowed to access the Internet in Guantanamo.

The two independent journalists are now on the black list. In the regime’s jargon, they are called “counter-revolutionaries”. In other words, just another couple of Cubans deserving a new daily portion of punishment for throwing off the yoke of servitude. Fortunately, they’ve got used to this kind of combat. They aren’t afraid of beatings or jail anymore. It’s true that the fact that they have been banned from navigating the World Wide Web is an ugly and humiliating issue, but they are sure to find a solution.


Olivera Castillo is a former political prisoner. He published number of books. He lives in the old part of Havana.

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