The interventionist Internet Working Group for Cuba, recently created by the US government and which the Cuban Foreign Ministry denounced as a new subversive program, first met for the first time at the State Department.
Composed of representatives of the executive and also by non-governmental entities, the group responds to the new policy of resurgence of the blockade announced by President Donald Trump on June 16, 2017.
In its first session, in the basement of the State Department, the entity - chaired by John S. Creamer, deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs - heard expert opinions on the technological challenges and opportunities associated with expanding access to Internet in Cuba and that the government of the Antillean nation promotes as part of its sovereign computerization policy.
The claim of the northern government is seen as a flagrant violation of Cuban sovereignty, with regard to the national competition to regulate the flow of information and the use of mass media, and an attempt to manipulate Internet for political purposes and subversion to achieve a "regime change".
According to a press release from the State Department to which the Cuban News Agency had access, today it was agreed to form two subcommittees, one of them dedicated to studying the role of the media and freedom of information in Cuba, and the other focused on Internet access in Cuba, in a clear interference in the internal affairs of the Caribbean nation.
By October of this year, the subcommittees will present a preliminary report with recommendations, based on observations made by specialists in the field and other relevant actors, and then prepare a memorandum with recommendations for the Secretary of State and the President.
The AP agency reports that the meeting quickly took on clear political overtones, always present in the debate on US policy towards Cuba, with the corresponding testimonies of those who systematically attack the Revolution.
Critics of the turn of US policy were also heard towards this country, as expressed by Antonio Martínez, an American expert in bilateral relations, who assured that the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the largest of the Antilles is counterproductive and clinging to an old failed policy.
In the transcript of his words - to which the ACN had access - it is reflected that the pretension of the task group is an error and history confirms it, "it is another wrong attitude of the American policy, rooted in the fear that Cuba it will never change, so we must somehow force that change.”
Martínez questioned how it is possible to promote Internet access and the free flow of information in Cuba if restrictions still exist in the United States to travel freely to the archipelago as well as a trade blockade and sanctions.
The power demands of market information should encourage that process, not a political decision. We were beginning to move forward when we experienced the reversal of the policy in June last year, he concluded.
At present more than four million Cubans access the Internet through different modalities, from schools, institutions or organizations, with an increase of 72 percent, on average in 2017, of bandwidth.
Since 2015, Cuba has been working on a group of projects for mass access to the Internet, among which are the more than 500 Wi-Fi navigation points enabled and the 630 public navigation rooms that exist in all the municipalities.
Likewise, all the universities were connected to fiber optics and the bandwidth was increased, the connection of the most important hospitals in the country with their medical schools was concluded, and the service was extended to more than 200 polyclinics and 190 pharmacies, 50 of them in the capital, to be able to deploy a more efficient drug localization program.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry has reiterated its determination not to tolerate any type of subversive activity, nor interference in its internal affairs and, as a sovereign country, continue to defend itself and denounce the interventionist nature of working groups of this type.
Cuba declared that it will continue to regulate the flow of information, as is its sovereign right and as is practice in all countries, including the United States, and assured that it will continue advancing in the computerization of its society, as part of the development of the country and according to the objectives of social justice that characterize its Revolution.