Cuba continues to limit freedom of the press and is one of the most oppressive governments in the entire world. Internet access is not readily available to the average citizen due to the high costs and slow connection speed. Any websites critical of the current regime are blocked. Online communication is routinely monitored, and many bloggers are arrested if they speak openly against the government.
The oppressive nature of the Cuban government has forced the creation of numerous underground channels allowing citizens to bypass government censorship and have the freedom to connect with others around the world.
Here are just a few ways Cubans are using creative methods to gain access to the content we access freely every day.
1) El Paquetico
FHRCuba produces and distributes alternative information within Cuba. At the beginning these biweekly contents distributed for free were called “El Paquetico” by the population, to distinguish it from the officially sanctioned “Paquete Semanal” that carried programs meeting the censorship standards of the Cuban government.
“El Paquetico” includes alternative uncensored information and educational materials on nonviolence and civic action, as well as talk shows, entertainment, baseball games and other attractions. Content is disseminated by CD’s or through the Zapya and WhatsApp applications.
2) Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) & Proxy Servers
Cubans may access the internet through the use of virtual private networks (VPN's) and proxy servers. A VPN allows Cuban citizens to bypass government censorship and freely connect with others around the globe.
A proxy server is another popular tool for web browsers, as it hides the location of the internet connection and makes it appear to be from another place. However, a VPN is considered to be more secure due to data encryption abilities. Both of these technologies play a crucial role in helping Cubans use the internet, circumventing governmental monitoring and censorship restrictions.
FHRC’s Connect Cuba Initiative
Access to the latest technology gives Cubans the freedom to access their favorite TV shows, music, news, and movies without the strict censorship of the Cuban government. The Foundation for Human Right's in Cuba (FHRC) established the Connect Cuba program to enable Cuban citizens to access an uncensored internet free from government oversight.
FHRC provides Cubans with prepaid internet and phone cards, flash drives, tablets, smartphones, printers, and many other forms of technology to help citizens bypass government censorship.
Educational courses are also available to coach pro-democracy activists in Cuba on how to access the internet by setting up VPNs and proxies.
Results From the Connect Cuba Program
The Connect Cuba program has produced lasting results in helping Cubans access information online without government censorship. More than 5,000 thumb drives and over 600,000 uncensored news emails have reached Cubans, and these numbers will only continue to grow.
This initiative plays a vital role in helping people access internet content and experience unfiltered news through the use of various technologies.
Please help us connect Cuba. Donate today to support this important program!