The Internet in Cuba and a Sense of Guilt

Janis Hernandez

The now infamous cable from Venezuela to Cuba was supposed to increase capability by over a thousand percent. However, instead, the deadlines have long passed and service is progressively slower for the few that have access.

HAVANA TIMES, April 12 — In Cuba, access to the Internet is a privilege held by a small group that includes foreign residents on the island, PhDs in any field, senior political leaders, military officers, reporters, a few artists and writers, and people with sufficient money to pay for an illegal account.

Another group — such as medical doctors who have served missions abroad or academics — also have Internet access, but with more restrictions than those just mentioned. This group can only get on line from their jobs, and therefore they don’t have access from home.

As an example of the restrictions they suffer, the connections of this second group prevent them from opening web-mail accounts like say Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. In addition, certain websites are blocked nationwide or by the work center.

A friend of mine who has an Internet account — and therefore has much more of an opportunity to get online than me — from time to time lets me check my Gmail, for example. As one might imagine, I’m normally unable to access Internet sites, all I have time to do is just to check my inbox.

‘Tunnels’ and Increasing Surveillance

To get around the government-controlled servers, “tunnels” or proxies are used, which allow you to enter some of the forbidden sites through other webpages. However, these are now being detected and any deviation from the regulations is punishable by a suspension of access and is subjected to an investigation.

Surveillance activities relating to computer security have increased (this is understood as a measure to prevent access to any site that doesn’t suit the authorities).

So many filters placed on an already low bandwidth make our internet speeds much slower; it’s to the point of almost eliminating access to anything. Still, each day more and more sites are blocked, either nationally or by filters placed on servers at individual workplaces.

Unfortunately, I tried to apply my skill on those tunnels while using my friend’s account on my job. Apparently my tinkering was discovered and a three-month block was put on his Internet access as a reprimand – like one applied toward a misbehaving child.

He won’t have Internet access for a good while and I’ve been overcome by a tremendous sense of guilt.

10 thoughts on “The Internet in Cuba and a Sense of Guilt

  • June 25, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Uhh…Cuba is not a democracy. Or haven’t you heard?

  • May 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    john goodrich seems a naif to me. censorship works. it worked for president marcos but after many years it no longer works. censorship is failing in north korea. hungry people don´t listen. the chinese are afraid of the internet too. many young chinese know how to get around the filters but the chinese have had some success with the filters but micro blogs are now the problem. the news is out in 10 minutes before anything can be done to stop it. in my opinion, a lot of censorship is useless. america has the freeest media in the world but is still run for the 1% of rich and shameless. letting people whine and complain may be the best way for a regime to keep control. it works in america. let off steam or the boiler explodes. there is just enough welfare to stop revolution. just enough welfare for a joint and a bottle. and if religion is the opiate of the masses then americans are junkies. some think that franklin roosevelt was a dangerous communist. others think that he saved capitalism with enough welfare to prevent revolution.

    john goodrich says….an informed populace is essential to a democratic society. really? americans have a choice between the right wing party and the extreme right idiots party. a fat lot of good a free media does them. most americans i meet agree with me. when less than 60% of americans vote, why bother?, presidents and other scum are in office with 30% support. is that a mandate or a democratic society? hugo chavez has said that the cuban political system is more democratic than the american political system. is hugo completely wrong? america has food banks and soup kitchens and iraq veterans sleep on old mattresses under freeway bridges. they have the freedom to sleep under bridges. in 2 months i saw 2 mentally ill homeless peope in cuba. they probably refused help. how many homeless will you see in america in 2 months? there are more people sleeping in the street in america than india. but democracy has it´s uses. you can boot the scum out every now and again. then you get another lot of scum in an endless cycle. i see a lot of obese people in cuba. the castros feed them too well. cubans have the bread but not enough circuses and that is how to prevent regime change. bread and circuses or am i a cynic?

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