US Using Web To Sow Unrest In Cuba?


If the internet is the new battlefield in the long, simmering standoff between Cuba and the United States, then jailed American contractor Alan Gross is the conflict’s first POW.

The basic facts of his case are not in dispute. Gross, 61, was arrested in December 2009 and has been held at a high-security Cuban prison ever since. Posing as a tourist, he came to Cuba to set up laptop-sized satellites that would deliver unrestricted internet access as part of a broader U.S. government program to spur political change to Havana’s one-party rule.

Though Cuba is the least-wired country in the Americas, it does not allow foreign governments — particularly the United States — to install unlicensed communication equipment on the island. Prosecutors said this month they will charge Gross with “Actions Against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State,” and seek a 20-year prison sentence.

A trial date has not been set, but the Gross case, along with several other web-related developments this month, has offered the best insight yet into the Castro government’s evolving views of the internet, as Cuban authorities cautiously attempt to introduce modern technology while pushing back against U.S. efforts to wield it against them.

As the Gross charges were announced, a video of a purported Cuban intelligence briefing began surfacing on anti-government blogs and websites, laying out Gross’s alleged crimes as well as Cuba’s strategy to counter American plans. Cuban officials have not disputed the video’s authenticity, and several analysts have even suggested the 53-minute briefing may have been leaked deliberately.

Complete article via GlobalPost

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