After protests, the US calls on Cuba to lift its internet restrictions.
The US asked Cuba on Tuesday to lift internet restrictions imposed in the aftermath of huge protests and to release arrested demonstrators.
“We urge Cuban leaders to exercise restraint and respect for the people’s voice by opening all lines of contact, both online and offline,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Price stated, “Shutting down technology, shutting down information conduits does nothing to address the real needs and ambitions of the Cuban people.”
“We applaud the Cuban people for their bravery,” Price said, adding that Havana is attempting to “silence their voices.”
“We ask for calm and condemn any violence directed towards peaceful protesters. We also demand that anyone jailed for nonviolent demonstration be released by the Cuban government,” he stated.
After significant rallies in the communist-ruled island over the greatest economic crisis in decades, more than 100 individuals were imprisoned, including independent journalists and opposition activists.
Major social media and communication platforms, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, have been disrupted in Cuba, according to the web monitoring group NetBlocks.
Cuba quickly blamed the situation on a half-century of US economic pressure, but the slowdown also coincides with stricter regulations against Covid-19 and an increase in cases.
Cuba, which is proud of its health-care system and is developing an indigenous vaccine, has not joined Covax, a UN-backed program for low-income nations to which the US has been a significant contributor under President Joe Biden.
Price stated, “Cuba has taken a sovereign decision regarding how it will respond to a pandemic.”
“The Cuban government could always choose to accept outside vaccine donations, but it has chosen not to do so thus far.”