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Is finished the myth of Internet censorship in Cuba?

Cuba WifiSo far, the international press told us that the Cuban government was hindering the internet development in the Island on their quest for controlling the information (1).

Interestingly, these same mass media reported a few months ago, about the licenses granted by the US President to American companies in the sector to reach investment agreements with Cuban state company ETECSA in order to improve Internet on the Island (2).

And more recently, we´d read data reflecting a tangible improvement of connectivity in the country: “Cuba exceeded three million internet users (…) in 2014 by adding 125,000 new ones” (3) and that from the 118 currently navigation rooms, the Cuban population will have 300 public rooms navigation at end of 2015 (4); that have been recently authorized the first 35 public wi-fi access points (5); or that the connection fee has been lowered by almost 50 % of the last value (6).

Despite it´s still very modest global reach, growth are significant and the number of people that are using Internet in Cuba is now close to 28 % (7). From these data two conclusions that contradict the media discourse can emerge. The first one is that far from limiting or censor the Internet, the Cuban Executive has a clear desire to promote the network in line with its plans for economic development (8); and –in the same way- that the number one cause of low connectivity, the high cost of the service and technological backwardness had been (and still is) a consequence of the US blockade (9).

Several websites have published information on plans and strategies of the Cuban government -even under discussion- focused on the development of broadband in the island in the coming years, and that would include, among other objectives (10): reach for 2018 100% of broadband connectivity in strategic sectors of the country; and –an important data- extend connection to 50% of households with a cost that not exceed the 5 % of the average wage in 2020 (11).

But far from highlighting this upward projection, what do continue to highlight the international media? These media highlight that although rates –which have been reduced to half- are still extremely expensive; and that -despite that 28% of the population is already connected to Internet- only 5% of cuban population use to connect from their homes (12).

It seems that these means, looking that time -and arguments- are exhausted, are still clinging to a static photograph. Meanwhile, rapid changes in Cuban society are dismantled each and every one of the media myths (13) (14).















(José Manzaneda, Cubainformacion´s coordinator)

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