Internet Repression Intensifies

Friday, May 8, 2009
From today's Sun-Sentinel:
 
HAVANA - Cuba is further limiting access to the World Wide Web for its citizens, in what many believe is an effort to rein in a small but increasingly popular group of bloggers who are critical of the government.
 
Only government employees, academics and researchers are allowed their own Internet accounts, which are provided by the state, but only have limited access to sites outside the island. Ordinary Cubans may open e-mail accounts accessible at many post offices, but do not have access to the Web. Many got around the restrictions by using hotel Internet services.
 
But a new resolution barring ordinary Cubans from using hotel Internet services quietly went into place in recent weeks, according to an official with Cuba's telecom monopoly, hotel workers and bloggers.
 
There was no official announcement of the change. Cuba has the lowest rate of Internet access in Latin America.
 
"Internet use is only for foreigners for the time being," said a worker at the Hotel Nacional's business center. "According to a new order from ETECSA [Cuba's telecom monopoly] only foreigners can surf the web at hotels."