US Court Recommends Preventing an Undersea Cable Connection with Cuba

The existing undersea cable system in the Caribbean area.

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana, 1 December 2022 — On Wednesday, United States Department of Justice recommended to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it deny a permit for the installation of the first submarine telecommunications cable that would connect the United States with Cuba.

The Cuban government represents a “counterintelligence threat” to the US and, since Cuba’s state communications company Etecsa would manage the cable landing system, Havana could “access sensitive US data traveling through the new segment,” explained the Justice Department in a statement.

“As long as the Government of Cuba continues to be a counterintelligence threat to the United States and is allied with others who are the same, the risks to our infrastructure are simply too great,” Deputy Homeland Security Attorney Matthew G. Olsen said in a statement.

According to the Department of Justice, Cuba’s relations with other “foreign adversaries” such as China or Russia represent a risk for the US Government if such a connection existed.

Olsen pointed out that the US, however, “supports the existence of a secure, reliable and open Internet network around the world, including in Cuba.”

The ARCOS-1 USA Inc. undersea cable system applied to the FCC to adapt its network to include the first and only connection of its kind between the US and the Island.

The ARCOS-1 network connects 24 landing points in 15 countries on the continent, including the US, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico.

The US has criticized the Cuban government for limiting internet access on the island, especially after the protests of 11 July 2021 (known as ’11J’), and the power outages this summer.

Havana alleges that the economic and commercial embargo of the United States “has prevented it from accessing any of the dozens of cables that pass through areas near its coasts.”


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