Anti-Government Protests Sweep Over the Nation of Cuba

The blocking of internet access is not faring so well. But they still have their police to respond with a heavy hand.

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The Cuban government blocks internet access in order to stifle anti-government protests

Catherine A. Leal

In the early hours of July 15, when a wave of anti-government demonstrations swept over Cuba, the internet was disrupted on many occasions.

In the village of Los Palacios, Pinar del Ro, the first protests took place at midnight, and they quickly expanded to other cities, including Havana. About 45 minutes after 1am local time, NetBlocks and other internet watchdogs reported that the internet had been completely disconnected.

A growing number of Cubans seem to be accessing social media sites like Facebook and YouTube via the use of virtual private network (VPN) services.

Governments are increasingly using internet censorship and throttling as a tool to keep dissident voices at bay. More than $10 billion has been wiped off the world economy by these ever-increasing events. As a result, residents’ lives and their basic rights are severely disrupted, even with the use of the greatest VPN services.

What’s going on in Cuba these days?

Cubans came to the streets again Sunday night to protest months of shortages on the island, exactly one year after the big 11-J marches, for which almost 1,000 people have been arrested and risk decades in jail for attending the gatherings.

Cuba is in the midst of its most severe economic downturn in decades. People are fleeing the nation in pursuit of a better life because of the scarcity of basic necessities including food, medication, gasoline, and power.

Cubans have already crossed the US border with Mexico in record numbers since Nicaragua abolished its visa rules in November. The government’s persecution has prompted many others, including activists, artists, and independent journalists, to flee the country.

Whether yesterday night’s demonstrations will be as large as those that took place in July of last year is still up in the air. It’s evident that if this is the true, Cubans are going to face additional internet outages in the days to come.

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