14ymedio, Havana, 27 April 2022 — The state press agency of Ukraine, Ukrinform, is blocked in Cuba according to the report of the Cuban political scientist, Alexei Padilla, on Facebook, and published in Diario de Cuba. The site isn’t accessible from the Island without VPN (a Virtual Private Network)*, although the Cuban Government has not made any public decision in this regard, as is usually the case when the decision is taken to prohibit other news media, whether they be international, like CNN, or national, like 14ymedio itself.
“UPEC (The Cuban Union of Journalists) itself, which rent its garments in anguish over the censure of Russian media in Europe and the U.S., perhaps hasn’t heard, I think, of the censure in Cuba of Ukraine’s principal news agency, because Ukraine and its news media don’t have solidarity with UPEC,” said Padilla on Facebook.
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the official media of the Island have criticized any method of sanction taken by the members of NATO and other western countries against businesses, institutions, and persons linked to Putin’s government. One of these measures has been the European blockade of Russia Today and Sputnik, which have been accused of disinformation and generating destabilizing currents of opinion.
In addition, collaterally, the financial sanctions also prevent the financing of delegations from those media in Europe, and issues can include anything from the rental of housing to workers’ salaries.
At the beginning of March, UPEC denounced the suspension of those media as a “cultural crime” and considered this a violation of the rights “of millions of people who lack all the elements necessary to evaluate the conflict.” Up to now they haven’t said a word about the application of similar measures in Cuba for Ukrinform, just as they have never said anything about the rights of Cubans to know points of view that are different from the official ones.
In all this time, Cuban State media continues to publish articles rejecting the western censorship of the Russian media and even went so far as to call the West “Nazis” in a text published September 5, entitled “The Russians are the new Jews and the West the Third Reich.”
In it, in addition, half-truths were spread like the one that said the University of Valencia in Spain had “invited” the Russian alumni to leave. In reality, the institution had offered economic and administrative support to whoever wanted to return to Russia, a complex task because of the sanctions.
It also said that the University of Córdoba fired the Russian professors, something legally impossible. That institution indicated that there was a revision of the programs of collaboration maintained with the technical scientific institutions of the Russian State.
The official Cuban press has been the mouthpiece for the Kremlin in the 63 days of the conflict, questioning the reports coming from Ukraine without any proof and defending those coming from Russia, among them denying the massacre in Bucha, verified even through aerial photographs and comprehensive, irrefutable reports from The New York Times.
Ukrinform was founded in 1918 and belongs to the European Alliance of News Agencies. The European governments announced the end of emissions from Russian media in February, while Russia made public the blocking of channels like the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Meduza, in addition to Twitter and Facebook. But the Cuban Government maintains silence about its censorship.
*Translator’s note: VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network,” an application that encrypts data, identity, and browser history for a monthly fee.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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