Internet Policy to Be Discussed in Cuba

Pedro Campos

Internet al debateHAVANA TIMES — Different newspapers have reported on Cuba’s upcoming 1st National Computer Sciences and Security Workshop (Feb. 18-20), where experts from the sector will work together to define the policy the country will adopt in this field.

This is a sensitive issue involving our freedom of expression and information, so severely curtailed by the neo-Stalinists in the Communist Party leadership.

The attempts of the conservatives and backward-minded of old to limit Internet access, prevent free debates and centrally control what the Cuban people can and cannot be exposed to – as though so many years of struggle could continue to be truncated by the efforts and arrogance of a handful of people who believe themselves the owners of the country – will be clearly expressed at the workshop.

Let us hope this is not yet another phony invitation to “participate”, so that those who favor not changing anything of what needs to be changed can end up deciding what to do in the end.

Without a doubt, the holding of this workshop is related to the new policy towards Cuba adopted by the Obama administration, whose first steps have been the lifting of restrictions that had been keeping new information and Internet technologies produced in the United States from reaching Cuba.

Till now, it had always been said that we didn’t have Internet access because of imperialist policies.

That spurious argument can no longer be maintained.

The one and only truth is that they have senselessly sought to keep the people of Cuba isolated from this tool, a tool that has given productive forces everywhere the most powerful thrust we have witnessed over the past half century.

Today, for instance, we cannot conceive of journalistic, commercial, productive or even educational activities without the Internet, not anywhere in the world.

No one would be able to undertake serious post-graduate studies without access to the Internet. Any serious professional working in any field requires constant access to the Internet to keep abreast of developments in their area.

El Ministerio de Comunicaciones de Cuba.  Foto:
The Ministry of Communications of Cuba. Photo:

Behind the curtains and playing dumb, many Cuban teachers in primary, secondary and higher education give their students assignments that require information which is only available on the Internet. The imperialist conspiracy seems to have made its way to the classrooms as well!

The inexpensive socialization of knowledge that Internet has brought about has unleashed the creative powers of millions of people around the globe. It is the most liberating instrument that has ever been placed at the service of humanity. The Internet not only affords us access to knowledge but to markets as well.

The Internet has already become a necessity, a kind of pre-condition for development.

Thanks to the Internet:

– In Latin America, the struggle of the peoples and the access to parliaments and governments that social movements and the Left have has been made easier.

– We have been exposed to all of the rotten proceedings that hide behind the case of the students who were disappeared in Mexico’s state of Guerrero.

– Alternative left-wing anti-capitalist movements have expanded in the United States and Europe.

– Spain’s Podemos (“We Can”) party is close to becoming the country’s most influential political force.

– We have been exposed to the atrocities of Islamic extremists.

– We have followed the progressive experiences of the broad cooperative movement that exists throughout the world.

– People and workers everywhere are in a better position to demand their rights.

– Police repression can no longer be so easily concealed.

– A black man, with ideas that are quite out there for the US establishment, became the president of the United States.

– A broad national and international debate demonstrated that the policy of aggression, pressure and blockade maintained by the United States was obsolete and counterproductive and had to be changed.

– The peoples of the world are today freer in every sense of the word.

If socialism is the socialization of the economy and the democratization of politics, nothing makes these processes easier as the Internet, which socializes information and knowledge, makes it less expensive to access and allows citizens to take part in the affairs of government more directly than any other mechanism.

Nothing is more intimately linked to socialism than the Internet, the only tool that allows everyone to access everything and contact everyone. Can we think of something more socializing than that?

That is why those of us who defend a participative and democratic form of socialism applaud this initiative and hope that it will not become a closed forum, that it rather be turned into an important step towards the establishment of a free Internet that can be accessed by everyone.

14 thoughts on “Internet Policy to Be Discussed in Cuba

  • Perhaps you should move John. I’m no fan of Noam Chomsky but he’s quite well known; sufficiently well known to make millions off suckers every year. And although not everyone knows Blum or Zinn they are unfortunately exposed to their writings…know it or not.

    By the way only a small percentage of people watch fox news

  • Thanks for the question. I absolutely mean both the North Korean and Cuban dictatorships and not the people whom they have victimized. As far as comparing Americans to Cubans, I see it this way: Americans are UN-informed. Cubans are MIS-informed.

  • Moses, I hope you do not mean to imply that North Korean people should be ridiculed. I think they have suffered enough under a bizarre form of absolute monarchy in anything but name. I would defend Cuba and North Korea as by that I mean its people. You said yourself Cuba and the Cuban Government are not the same. And yes, I agree, the average Cuban is just as ignorant of international issues as the average American or such experts as Steven Emerson.

  • “Blum and Zinn are EXTREMISTS.
    Point out a single untruth from any of their many books and website submissions, anything that is contradicted by any book or source that you may have and I’ll deal with you.
    You’re making unfounded claims and a fool out of yourself …again.
    You can read in my other post above why people like Blum and Zinn can not be found in the CORPORATE media .

  • I will repeat a true story to show the depth of ignorance in the U.S. public and to embed my point.
    Back in the 80s Jeff Greenfield, the producer of “Nightline” or some other hour-long highly esteemed news program was asked why, since he dealt so often with U.S. foreign policy on his programs, did he not have Noam Chomsky on as a guest since Chomsky is widely acknowledged as the foremost critic of U.S. foreign policy ( both then and now) and the world’s top intellectual by his peers.
    Greenfield replied; “Because he’s from Pluto”
    meaning his ideas are so far removed from the common wisdom ( ignorance) as to be unrecognizable to that ignorant audience as the truth .
    This is (paraphrased) what Chomsky said:
    ” Were I to tell you ( this back in the eighties) that Moammar Khaddafi was a murderer, a war criminal and someone who should be brought before an international court for war crimes, you’d know exactly what I meant because this sort of vilification of Khaddafi has been going on for decades . It’s all you read, see and hear on the news.
    BUT..were I to tell that same audience that (then Secretary of State/foreign minister ) George Schultz was a murderer, a war criminal and someone who should be brought before an international war crimes tribunal , that audience would think that these ideas were from Pluto and nowhere near the truth when they were the truth .
    “These programs allow just five minutes at most to answer the most involved questions and it would take me twenty minutes just to outline all the crimes with which George Schultz could be charged.
    The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God and angels,(about 80%) only 65% believe in evolution and that same proportion believe that the GOUSA is all about doing good in the world. because it’s convenient to believe comfortable lies.
    Blum and Zinn are overwhelmingly unknown among Fox News viewers and just about everyone in my neighborhood.
    As is Noam Chomsky.

  • Howard Blum or Howard Zinn are actually well known and some of their writing is often quoted, even if the average American is unaware it, thus disproving your point. In fact “A Peoples History” is still quite popular.

    Regardless, those two others are rather extreme in their views and I there are some important errors in “A peoples History” as it pertains to Japan at the end of WWII and the cold war.

  • Is it possible that theCuban government wishes to keep the Cuban people in the mid 20th century? The government are running scared because they can feel and see the frustration that the younger element in the Cuban population are displaying. The Castro government is starting to realise that it is time to go.

  • What a load of crap!! Most Cuban high school students in Cuba are so disconnected from politics, international and local, that it is hard to believe they live in Cuba. Like teenagers anywhere and everywhere, they are consumed by the latest reggaeton song and the new addidas shoes in Miami. William Blum and Howard Zinn are extremists and have been marginalized by mainstream historians for good reason. Finally, the North Koreans should be RIDICULED, more importantly they should be contained. Do you defend North Korea and Cuba?

  • I agree John. I never cease to be amazed at the incredible level of misinformation and/or ignorance of so many well educated, professionals in the U.S. not to mention the levels among the less priviledged classes. And the first thing that impressed me about Cuba when I first saw it in 1993 was the incredible basic grasp of history and world current events that the average Cuban has.Try finding someone on any American street, Wall included probably, who ever heard of or can define Neoliberalism. In Cuba most high school students can give you a definition. How many Americans are aware of any of their history chronicled in books by William Blum or Howard Zinn ? American’s are generally too busy ridiculing the North Koreans for their warped outlook on the world too see what tremendous deficits they have themselves.

  • Can Cuba afford the Chinese model? Gary King of the Harvard Institute for quantitative social science has studied Chinese Internet censorship and estimates that around 500,000 people are employed filtering social media posts and comments. His analysis of deleted material leads him to conclude that their goal is not to stop criticism of the state and officials, but to stop collective action. You can eatch his presentation at:

  • On what basis do you assume that Cuban people, as represented by the Cuban writers to HT are well-informed? On the contrary, however well-intentioned, most of the HT writers are understandably misinformed. Getting your news of the world from Granma and the occasional international news included in the ‘weekly package’ is a poor replacement for unlimited internet access. Even with unlimited access, it is possible to remain misinformed. Take your case for example…..

  • The Internet is indeed an incredible tool for the socialization of information. China has pulled off wide Internet use while still having state oversight. Cuba will follow the China model.

  • ” A well- informed electorate is essential to a democracy.”
    Someone notable said that.
    Despite the general lack of internet service, the Cuban people, as represented by those who post in this forum , seem vastly more well informed as to what is going on in the world than are the people in the United Snakes where the access to all information is not restricted except for what the government is doing under the direction of the .001% .
    In a socialist/communist and/or anarchist state where the society is run from the bottom up, that better understanding of how the world works and what reality is is almost an automatic happening ; information is needed and exchanged by the electorate in order to make any and all decisions.
    Yes , it’s more work but it’s that or have someone on high always tell you what to do and that turns into a totalitarian form you should not want unless you have a slave mentality.

  • If the government is sincere in their professed desire to improve Internet access, there are low-cost steps they can take in the short run while they begin long-term planning for future technology and, more important, policy regarding ownership of infrastructure and regulation. (For some suggestions, see: I hope these and other topics are discussed at the forthcoming workshop and look forward to hearing the results.

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