Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden to step forward and assist in providing internet access to the people of Cuba, who have taken to the streets in protest of the oppressive, communist regime, prompting the dictatorship to shut down the internet to silence citizens.
“I write to urge you to assist in providing Internet access to the people of Cuba standing up against communist oppression and demanding a voice after decades of suffering under the yoke of a cruel dictatorship,” the Florida governor wrote in the July 14 letter, detailing the demonstrations which have seen thousands protesting the brutal authoritarian regime:
I urge President Biden to assist in providing internet access to the people of Cuba standing up against communist oppression and demanding a voice after decades of suffering under a cruel dictatorship.https://t.co/fjSKNxuchW pic.twitter.com/br4iPHZ4k1
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 14, 2021
“At first, the world could see the images and videos of this mass movement, but now the tyrannical regime of President Miguel Díaz-Canel has shut off access to the Internet,” he said, explaining the Cuban people have lost their ability to communicate with each other. Many Floridians who were born in Cuba, he continued, “have no information on the safety of their loved ones.”
“Equally as important, the world has also lost the ability to see what is happening on the ground as the Cuban people rise in support of freedom,” he continued, urging the Biden administration to take action:
Technology exists to provide Internet access into Cuba remotely, using the innovation of American enterprise and the diverse industries here. Similar to the American efforts to broadcast radio into the Soviet Union during the Cold War in Europe, the federal government has a history of supporting the dissemination of information into Cuba for the Cuban people through Radio & Televisión Martí, located in Miami. In addition to sending information, however, our efforts must include creating a means for the Cuban people to speak to the world.
I urge you to act immediately to provide all necessary authorizations, indemnifications, and funding to American businesses with the capability to provide Internet access for the people of Cuba. Steps must be taken immediately.
“Internet access for the Cuban people is of critical importance as they stand up against the repressive Communist government,” DeSantis continued. “In the hands of these brave individuals, such access may be the key to finally bringing democracy to the island.”
Indeed, Cuba’s state-run telecom monopoly ETECSA restricted access to key social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram, this week as part of its effort to silence citizens:
Confirmed: Social media and messaging platforms restricted in #Cuba from Monday on state-run internet provider ETECSA; real-time network data corroborate reports of internet disruptions amid widening anti-government protests; incident ongoing 📵#CubaSOS
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) July 12, 2021
“The targeted restrictions are likely to limit the flow of information from Cuba following widespread protests on Sunday [July 11] as thousands rallied against the socialist government,” the London-based internet monitor Neblocks surmised.