Cuba calls for ‘cyberdefence’
Cuba calls for 'cyberdefence'
December 2 2011 at 04:00pm
By ISAAC RISCO
Havana – Just days after Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez was named
one of the world's 100 "most influential global thinkers" by US magazine
Foreign Policy, the Cuban government is preparing for "active cyberdefence."
Despite poor internet access for the average Cuban, which the
authorities in Havana blame on the US embargo, Cuba is now stressing the
importance of "occupying the web." The website Cubadebate, the main
pro-government online news outlet, has called for a move "from
cyberwarfare to active cyberdefence."
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Wednesday urged more active
involvement in the web and for greater defence mechanisms to fight what
the island regards as the hostile attitude of major media outlets.
"Euphoria over social networks coexists with the risk of regime change
operations, which has increased, as has the threat to peace. But these
dangerous conditions make it necessary and urgent for us to make those
platforms our own," he said.
"It is essential to have a political strategy in cyberspace."
Rodriguez was addressing a workshop on "Alternative Media and Social
Networks" with participants from 12 countries, to which Sanchez
complained she and other bloggers critical of the government had not
The authorities continue "to exclude the alternative part of (Cuba's)
blogosphere and twittosphere," Sanchez wrote on Twitter.
On her Twitter feed, (at)yoanisanchez, the 36-year-old regularly
criticizes Cuban authorities for their attitude to the internet, among
other things. Her campaign to denounce what she termed "political
apartheid" at the event reached her more than 180,000 Twitter followers.
Indeed, on Wednesday, Foreign Policy said Sanchez's influence shows
"that the internet really does go everywhere, even Castro's Cuba."
Sanchez in turn, wrote on Twitter of the limitations of online stardom
in communist Cuba.
"Beautiful paradoxes of life. My name on FP's list of 100 thinkers, and
me now 'thinking' how to stretch the rice so as to get to the end of the
month," she wrote in a post.
Such "cyberwarfare" has been waged for some time. Blogs like Vision
desde Cuba, which openly support the government, seek to counter the
influence of those like Sanchez's.
Despite "the limitations inherent to narrow bandwidth" and the "archaic
and extremely slow dial-up connections," Vision desde Cuba writes that
"revolutionary bloggers" like himself back the government against those
who, they argue, are being financed from abroad. Havana has
traditionally accused dissidents of accepting funds from the United States.
Cubadebate has carried out a broad campaign to promote the use of social
networks. Editor Rosa Miriam Elizalde asked in an article that readers
"accept the technological challenge."
"I do not have the slightest doubt that if (Cuban national hero) Jose
Marti were alive today he would be on Facebook and Twitter," she said.
Mariela Castro, daughter of the Cuban leader as well as head of Cuba's
National Centre for Sex Education, also recently entered the world of
She openly confronted Sanchez, among others, in defence of the Cuban
government. – Sapa-dpa