The dictatorship in Cuba has a fiber optic cable linked to Venezuela to increase both speed and internet traffic entering and leaving Cuba. Despite some optimistic predictions this has not translated into any change for most Cubans. A few in the Ministry of the Interior and other elements of the totalitarian apparatus do have high speed connections but the rest remain as they were before. Now the Cuban regime is harnessing this high speed connection to up the tempo in its online information war against dissent. The Cuban government has launched its own version of Facebook calling it the "Social Network" that works within the Cuban intranet.
If you think Facebook violates privacy then you'll be horrified by the Cuban government's so-called "Social Network." No doubt the monitoring of members using the service will have an even more sinister application. Users on the island beware.
There is an offensive underway to try to counter independent voices in Cuba and to pursue propaganda campaigns by the dictatorship. Yoani Sanchez on December 2 in a column titled "Dictated Hashtags" reproduced the final declaration of a meeting organized by the Castro regime which is an essence a declaration of cyberwar against dissent.
Final Declaration of the International Workshop “Alternative media and social networks, new scenarios of political communication in the digital realm.” Havana, November 29-30, 2011.
Delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, USA, France, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Palestine, Venezuela, participants in the International Workshop “Alternative media and social networks, new scenarios of political communication in the digital realm,” Havana, November 29-30, 2011, present the following:
- Create a directory of contacts with participants of the event to allow us to connect in real time and face attacks against our countries, alert us to different topics and place our messages. This directory will be sent via email. (Ventanapolitica@yahoo.es)
- Articulate a collaborative network, starting with the participants in this international workshop, that allow us to socialize content, information, contacts and experiences to work on Internet platforms and tools, on the basis of a defined political strategy. Its expression on the Web will be the www.ventanapolitica.wordpress.com blog.
- Work together synergistically on the overall campaign.
- Generate actions to enhance the continuous updating and training in the effective use of new technologies in the context of hypermedia, support the creation of multidisciplinary teams and the use of online tools and services such as videoconferencing, online courses, and others.
- Create a multidisciplinary group, including technical experts, that allow us to assess able all the proposals we articulate emanating from the network.
- Support the reissue of events like the World Bloggers Meeting or this Workshop on Alternative Media and Social Networking.
- Promote the creation of quality content, that allow us to overcome our shortcomings in technological development.
- Support the incorporation into the network of younger generations and transform them into active progressive forces in these new platforms.
- Work together to design communication projects in social networks and other media that include the variety of themes, media and channels, as well as different audiences.
- Intensify work and research, in order to design and create our own alternatives (such as platforms, support, and even information security services) that allow us technological independence from the empires of capitalist production.
- Express our solidarity and support with the newspaper La Jornada, a publication that has been maligned by the magazine Letras Libres which has accused this prestigious Mexican publication, without arguments or evidence, of being complicit in terrorism.
- The theme of the five Cubans unjustly sentenced in the United States must be an axis of permanent struggle. And it will be efficient if we always keep in our minds that each one of us could be in their place. Every Cuban could be one of the 5. Demand the return of the 5 Cuban heroes to their homeland. Send a daily Twitter message in favor of their release. Create and utilize the following hashtags: #FreetheFive #Liberenlos5ya, #LosCinco, #TheFive.
- Convert the interventions of Aylin, Rosa Aurora and Olguita into a group of tweets that are socialized at once.
- Explore with our respective responsible government bodies responsible the appropriateness of the mechanisms of integration that exist or are now being born in Latin America and the Caribbean to give priority to the issue of Communication and especially to the alternative media and social networks for the dissemination of the new reality to our geographical area.