Exhibit A of why Obama's policy of collaborating with -- rather than circumventing -- Castro's telecom monopoly, ETECSA, is a dangerous folly.
Not only would U.S. companies be colluding with ETECSA's control and censorship (plus potentially violating U.S. law), but with a flip of a switch -- and no explanation -- Castro can simply shut it off.
Cuba's Only Email Service Has Been Mysteriously Shut Down
The Cuban government has shut down the island's only official email service provider and it's not clear when it'll come back.
The Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) announced in an official note Wednesday that it has had to "completely stop email services" in the country.
As is often the case in Cuba, the communist government hasn't given an official reason for the shutdown. Service on the island has been spotty for more than a week, according to Jose Luis Martinez, communications director at the Miami-based Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, who is in regular communication with people on the island. Earlier this week, ETECSA said that the "infrastructure that supports the accounts has had a technical failure that affects the sending and receiving of emails.”
While there's no "law" (quotations added by CHC) that stops Cubans from using Gmail or any other email service provider, the shutdown of all official email accounts, which are called Nauta accounts, will have huge ramifications for how people communicate on the island.
There is very little wifi access in Cuba and no mobile internet service for Cubans whatsoever, but standard cell phone service is pretty widespread. The Cuban government allows its citizens to send and receive text-based emails on mobile phones using standard cell signal and Nauta accounts. As a result, Nauta emails are how a lot of business gets done on the island, and it's how a lot of people communicate with those overseas while they're on the go.
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