IAPA: Cuban Government Wants a "Mute, Deaf and Blind Country"

Independent reporters, such as Sol García Basulto and Henry Constantín, have suffered different attacks “in a climate of total legal defenselessness”. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE via 14ymedio, Medellin, 15 April 2018 — The Cuban government wants “a mute, deaf, and blind country” with regards to communication, journalism and the internet, according to the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) in its report on Cuba presented this Saturday in Medellín.

It is “an increasingly difficult goal because of the growing, albeit slow, citizens’ connections to the internet and the perseverance of journalists and independent media that do not cease their work despite restrictions,” reads the document that was read by the executive director of the IAPA, Ricardo Trotti.

The director presented the report on behalf of the journalist Henry Constantín, who was not allowed to leave the island to travel to Medellin to the IAPA mid-year meeting.

In reference to the upcoming departure of Raúl Castro from the Presidency of Cuba, the IAPA insists that “no improvements are expected,” since Castro will continue to hold the position of first secretary of the Communist Party.

The report also states that, following the announcement of President Donald Trump to create an “operating group” to support Cubans’ access to the Internet and the development of independent media, Cuban State Security “increased its aggression against non-official journalists.”

Despite this harsh situation, the independent press “seeks to survive and grow” with citizens who sign their work “with their own names or under a pseudonym.”

According to the report, attacks have targeted the Cuban Association for Freedom of the Press, the Coexistence Thinking Center, the digital newspaper 14ymedio, the videojournalism agencies Palenque Visión and En Caliente Prensa Libre.

The Cuba Posible platform and the magazine La Hora de Cuba have also suffered attacks, and even projects outside the island, such as Diario de CubaMartí NoticiasCubanet and El Estornudo, among others have as well.

The study mentions dozens of journalists who suffered different aggressions, and stresses that these attacks occur “in a climate of total legal defenselessness and a state that governs everything.”

With regards to internet access in Cuba, the report states that “it is still expensive,” and that the average monthly salary is the equivalent of the cost of 30 hours connection.

In addition, the government blocks websites and “e-mail addresses related to journalism and human rights,” in addition to “several national and foreign news websites in Cuba.”

Finally, the report details that the surveillance of internet navigation and telephone data, and the “hacking” of personal profiles on social networks “is commonplace” on the island.


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