|Big Brother took over the internet in China and in Cuba.|
This Thursday, the authorities published a set of laws "on the computerization of society in Cuba" that have as their objective, "to elevate technological sovereignty for the benefit of society, economy, security and national defense" and "counteract cybernetic attacks".This approach mirrors that of China which "seeks to further restrict already the country’s already tightly controlled Internet—further curbing online news reporting and putting Party-appointed editors in charge."
The Castro regime often changes tactics but only in service of an overall strategy to maintain power. Havana banned the sale of computers in 2002 in Cuba. Here is what the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported at the time:
On January 16, 2002, a decree was approved by the Ministry of Domestic Commerce prohibiting the sale of personal computers to individuals. According to an article published on March 25 in the digital periodical wired.com, Decree 383/2001 prohibits "the sale of computers, printers, duplicating machines, photocopiers, or any other instrument for large-scale printing" to any association, foundation, nonprofit civil organization, or individual. In cases where the purchase of such equipment or related spare parts or accessories is considered indispensable, authorization must be requested from the Ministry of Domestic Commerce.This runs counter to the postulates made by some that over time more media necessarily means less controlled media," and that "the Communist regime remains, but Cuba is no longer frozen in time."
The restriction on the purchase of computers was lifted by Raul Castro in 2008 after six years and was hailed as progress.
The Committee to Protect Journalists in 2011 listed the Castro regime as one of the online oppressors that used the denial of access as their chief mean of controlling the internet. Evidence in 2012 for this was to be found with regards to both internet and cell phones. Cuba had the lowest internet and cell phone coverage in the hemisphere.
Now Cubans will have access to internet and cell phone coverage but content will be controlled by the Castro regime, which is copying Chinese model of control and repression on the internet.
The Golden Shield appears to be arriving in Cuba. Will Google be complicit in erecting this system of repression in control as American tech companies did in China 20 years ago? Or will Cuba complete its adoption of the China model and ban Twitter, Google and Facebook?
Time will tell.