This material is from Translating Cuba: On Monday, January 19 Cubanet published a report about the detention of Leinier Cruz Salfran on Saturday, January 17 by (Cuban) State Security agents. The reason? Leinier was gathering together a group of young people outside of the Hotel Marti, connecting through his laptop to the building’s WiFi and sharing the Internet with the others present who had also brought their portable computers to the location.
Meliá Hotel pool. Internet service in hotels may
be limited by government efforts to cut young
Cubans from accessing uncensored information.
My comment: visitors to Cuba should realize their ability to access the Internet may be restricted. The government makes efforts to stop young Cubans from accessing uncensored information. If you want to help you can bring a wifi repeater with a strong antenna, hook it up in your room to allow Internet use by those who gather near the hotel to see if they can connect. However, you should remember the regime is extremely repressive. You risk a long jail sentence if you try to help the Cuban people obtain information.
Leinier Cruz, photo by Roberto Jesus Quinones
Q: Leinier, why did State Security detain you?
Because according to them I was committing a crime of Illicit Economic Activity.
Q: What did you do?
I shared the use of the Internet with other people through Hotel Marti’s wifi connection.
Q: How many users came to connect to the Internet at the same time because of your initiative?
There was no fixed number, there were days when more than fifty people connected on the ground floor of the Hotel Marti which was generally where I was connected.
Q: How would you rate the internet connection opportunities that exist today in the city of Guantanamo?
There are very few internet access points, just two Internet rooms with 10 computers for a city of more than 150,000 residents. Furthermore, now the Hotel Marti denies Internet access to Cubans, who now cannot even pay a dollar to go up to the terrace which is where they have placed the wifi access.
Q: Is there a law in Cuba that prohibits sharing the connection cost among several users?
I don’t know. During the interrogations they spoke to me of a crime called Violation of Contractual Services, something like that, in which the crime of violating a contract incurs a penalty of up to three years incarceration.
Q: Did they return your laptop, flash drives and camera that they took during the search of your home?
No, they still have not told me what they will do with them. They took them from me and have left me disarmed because I am a programmer.
Q: Why do you think they authorities hinder cheap Internet access for young Cubans?
I believe that it is the policy of the State to maintain massive disinformation for the Cuban population, and that is demonstrated by the fact that this government has never permitted free access to information. Here we have no chance of getting computers, mobile devices, access to satellite TV, the Internet, there are no satellite phone connections or access to information technology. What they have done to me proves it.
I have only taken some sections, the missing sections are shown as ,,,,., but the full interview can be seen here:
Translating Cuba is really good, you can check its latest article on the right side, where I list my favorite blogs.