U.S. Magazine Uses Retired Cuban Spy As “Source” For Story On Internet Freedom In Cuba – They Believe Him! Reply

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

Editor’s Note:  The Progressive, a monthly magazine/website that touts itself as “A voice for peace, social justice, and the common good” announced last week that internet censorship no longer exists in Cuba. Writer Reese Erlich came to this stunning conclusion because, in part, because that’s what alleged academic Néstor García Iturbe told him. What Erlich failed to tell his readers is this “former Cuban diplomat” is actually a retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer. In fact, Colonel Néstor García Iturbe is one of the regime’s top experts in the targeting of Americans. Well known within U.S. intelligence circle, he is believed to be the longest serving Castro spy to have ever operated in the United States. He culminated his official espionage career as the Director of the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI), where Havana’s civilian intelligence officers are trained. He continues to publish pro-regime propaganda on a regular basis.

Foreign Correspondent: Does Cuba Censor the Internet? Think Again.

So far, U.S. government attempts to kickstart a Twitter revolution have failed.

by Reese Erlich, The Progressive

A group of Cubans stare intently at their smart phones here in Old Havana, checking emails and Googling news stories. They, and the millions of other Cubans who got access to Internet upgrades last month, defy the image of Cuba as a totalitarian state where citizens face Internet censorship.

Cubans can now subscribe to monthly plans providing roaming Internet connections for $7 per month. Others access the Internet from wifi hotspots for even less.

The Cuban government blocks access to the U.S. propaganda station TV Marti, as well as to some pro-U.S. blogs, but citizens have easy access to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even the ultra-conservative Spanish edition of the Miami Herald. Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone apps such as IMO are also easily accessible.

“There’s virtually no Internet censorship in Cuba,” a U.S. journalist based in Havana told me during a recent trip.

Cuba has vastly improved Internet connectivity over the past fifteen years, but only about 40 percent of Cubans have Internet access, compared to a projected 61 percent for the rest of Latin America. This is largely because all smart phones must be imported and remain expensive for the average Cuban, who earns about $30 per month. I saw older model Samsung phones priced at $60 at one Havana store. A monthly plan providing 1 gigabyte of broadband with roaming costs $10.

Conservatives in the U.S. have argued that the Cuban government deliberately uses the high cost of connectivity to keep Cubans unaware of the benefits of U.S.-style democracy. When I first began reporting on the issue in the early 1990s, connecting to the Internet meant paying $12 an hour at a tourist hotel. In the ensuing years, Cubans could use a computer at a local post office at the rate of $5 an hour for an extremely slow connection.

But Internet access improved after 2012, when Venezuela laid a new optic cable to Cuba. More Cubans became able to use home dial-up connections along with wifi hotspots in parks, cyber cafes, and other public spaces. Students at University of Havana and other colleges now have free, but slow, wifi access.

Cuban government officials told me that the U.S. embargo on business dealings with Cuba serves to keep connectivity costs high for some users. The U.S. government stopped U.S. phone companies from laying new cables from Florida to Cuba, forcing the island to rely on far more expensive satellite connections.

Juan Fernández, a professor at the University of Information Sciences and advisor to the Communications Ministry on Internet issues, told me during a previous trip that U.S. companies control a lot of the computer hardware used for modern Internet connections.

“The U.S. is very close and could sell everything very cheap,” he said. “Yes, we can buy it in Asia, but it’s more expensive.”

Article continues here:  Cuban Censorship

Retired Cuban Master-Spy, Dr. Néstor García Iturbe:  Why I Believe Trump Will Lift the Blockade  2

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

Why I Believe Trump Will Lift the Blockade 

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe, GRUPO HERALDO

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann

November 16, 2016.

A few persons have contacted me regarding the interview that I offered to VOCES DEL MUNDO where I said that, in my view, Donald Trump will lift the commercial, economic and financial blockade that the United States has maintained against Cuba for more than fifty years.

The reasons I put forward for saying this were explained in the interview, but because of a problem, seemingly a time limit in the radio program, they only broadcasted the claim, but not the reasoning behind it, which has created a logical question among all those who read the interview.

CubaNews, edited by Walter Lippmann, was interested in the subject and that is why I write this article. After it is published by CubaNews, I will also publish it in El Heraldo and send it to other recipients, because Walter showed interested in the subject and I consider he should have priority in spreading what I think.

The commercial, economic and financial blockade was imposed hoping it would stifle the Cuban Revolution and at a certain point the Cubans would have to apologize to the United States so they would lift it and we could survive.

None of this has happened; the Cuban Revolution, with difficulties, has continued to live and advance expanding its trade relations with other countries, while the United States has been absent and has therefore lost many commercial and economic opportunities. Had the blockade not existed, they would have participation and now it is other countries that benefit from those opportunities.

The outgoing President Barack Obama has repeatedly raised the futility of the blockade at this point in time and, in addition, has expressed his opinion that it should be lifted. I believe that Obama’s opinion is the reflection of companies and corporations eager to start having commercial relations with Cuba and make profits that the blockade prevents them from obtaining.

In statements made by Obama and the instructions he gave after December 17, 2014 in order to create the best possible conditions for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, he told his team that they should initiate talks with Congress aimed at lifting the blockade on Cuba. Something was done, but with no results.

In recent years, a small number of bills have been presented in the United States Congress aimed at releasing some aspects related to the blockade.

Feature continues here:  Dr. Néstor García Iturbe  

 

 

 

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe