Cuba is one of the ultimate hotspots of communism. They remained in the communist system of government even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the founders of communist Cuba, are glorified as icons of communism all over the globe. But last month, surprisingly Cuba witnessed a massive protest against the communist government. There are various reasons why people protest against the authority, but this time they had the internet.
Social media attracts more crowds than any system that exists, Twitter hashtags are powerful enough to lead the masses; the government/system realizes these facts and they start using these tools for the benefit of governments to promote their agenda to the public. As per the Cuban migrants in the USA; by using “Granma”, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, the government is repressing reports of poverty, increasing inflation, and lack of necessary public services from their citizens. A country with the weakest rankings in the Press Freedom Index, Cuba is currently led by declining ideology, obnoxious press censorship. When the rest of the world, the neighbors, competitors, or allies entered into a modern era of the internet – connectivity – social media, and information technology, Cuba still seems stuck nowhere. Recognizing this as an opportunity, the US Aid Agencies tried different approaches to connect with the people of Cuba through the Internet to encourage them as well as to educate them. Stories concerning the USA’s endeavors to bring the internet on the island using balloons, surfing boards, etc., were significant, and perilous as assassination attempts of Fidel Castro.
Cuba legalized internet and wifi in 2018; the tourism development and the foreign currency was the motivation behind this. They were planning to accumulate foreign currency to pay the debts. Even though there were strong restrictions, people got the opportunity to experience content around the globe with VPNs(Virtual Private Networks). The pictures of people surfing the internet from public pre-paid wifi stations were a representation of Open Cuba. As consumer numbers grew to 4million in several months, it eventually started influencing politics too.
Lack of employment, deficiency of essential commodities, shortage of medicine, and poor wages increased during the COVID19 pandemic. The second wave toll of the pandemic was so high. Strict lockdowns, power outages, and many other reasons started aggravating some groups’ turn against the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel. Officials believe the internet was the key reason for these sudden gatherings and the protest. The government decided to cut off the internet for 72 hours and accused the United States of being involved in the protest. Ron De Santis, Governor of Florida, a state with considerable Cuban descendants, requested wireless internet by balloons to ensure connectivity in the region.
Protests ended rapidly and the government imprisoned many protesters. The government could successfully shut down the internet and social media guided the gatherings against the government. However, it exposed the face of Cuba and its agitated communist government. The influencers including Cuban expatriates believe this is the right way to eliminate communism from Cuba.
The government can’t set back to the “no-internet age” as they already invested hugely in international tourism. To avoid situations like “Post-Chavez Venezuela” Cuba will continue to seek more restrictions on the internet. The United States can continue to interfere in Cuba and its politics by providing them more internet facilities. So Cuba is not an old one, it’s changing, and let’s assume the internet will open the door for America to enter Cuba.