Cuba says US waging 'cyberwar' against Havana

Mar 09, 2011 by Isabel Sanchez

Cuban authorities are accusing the United States of waging "cyberwar" against the communist-ruled island -- an effort that Havana claims includes an American contractor on trial for espionage.

In recent weeks, state media has shown comments from Cubans contacted by alleged US agents who, according to reports here, were seeking to set up to promote subversive activities.

The reports came as a verdict was awaited in the trial for US national Alan Gross, 61, accused of crimes against the Cuban state.

Cuban media began airing in February a report, presented as a "leak" from the interior ministry, where a computer security expert described US efforts to subvert the Havana regime.

The expert identified Gross as part of an effort to create a technological platform that could be used to establish "a network of virtual mercenaries" who could use the Internet to attack the government.

Cuban authorities say the efforts by Gross -- who according to US officials was providing computers and cell phones to Cuba's Jewish community to help it communicate with the outside world -- was part of a new strategy by Washington to foment subversion.

On Monday, state-run television showed a report from a so-called "agent Raul," whose real name is Dalexi Gonzalez, who said he was contacted in March 2008 by US agents seeking to set up a network accessible to Cubans.

Gonzalez said he was contacted by Robert Guerra of Freedom House, a US pro-democracy group that Havana claims is linked to the CIA and the State Department's Agency for International Development.

Daniel Calingaert, who oversees Freedom House's civil society and media programs, said Guerra "did in fact travel to as part of a Freedom House program" but was an outside expert for the organization at the time.

Calingaert said the program's goal is "to help Cubans get access to the Internet and generally promote the free flow of information."

"Obviously in any other context this would be perfectly normal. But Cubans get into trouble for doing this kind of thing," he told AFP, without addressing the allegations of links to the US government.

Cuban media have also showed other reports suggesting Washington is financing Cuban dissident groups.

US officials have called for the release of Gross, and said the case has hurt efforts to normalize relations between Washington and Havana.

Cuban prosecutors are seeking 20 years in prison for Gross, who was working under contract with the State Department as a contractor when he was arrested in late 2009.

He was charged with "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."

A Havana court declared his trial "closed" after two days on Saturday and said Gross was ready for "sentencing," adding that its "verdict will be made public in coming days," according to an official statement read on Cuban television.

Explore further: Meerkat vs. Periscope: Live-streaming app battle & buzz

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fiber-optic communications cable arrives in Cuba

Feb 09, 2011

(AP) -- A long-awaited undersea fiber-optic cable linking Cuba with the outside world arrived on the island on Wednesday, promising a bandwidth bonanza for a country saddled with exorbitant telephone rates and among the ...

Cuban post offices OK'd for Internet access

Sep 09, 2009

(AP) -- Cuba has authorized public Internet access at post offices across the country, though it has yet to apply what would be a landmark loosening of cyberspace rules in a nation where information is strictly controlled.

Miami firm says it will lay first US-Cuba fiber

Oct 13, 2009

(AP) -- A small Miami-based company says the U.S. government has given it permission to lay the first optical communications fiber from the U.S. to Cuba. That could drastically cut the cost of calling the island nation and ...

Cuba's cyberwar intensifies

May 22, 2009

Cuban bloggers are fighting a cyberwar with the government to give their own version of reality on the communist island, from hotels and using memory sticks and laptops obtained from abroad.

Cuba criticizes Microsoft blocking Messenger

May 30, 2009

(AP) -- Cuba criticized Microsoft on Friday for blocking its Messenger instant messaging service on the island and in other countries under U.S. sanctions, calling it yet another example of Washington's "harsh" ...

Recommended for you

Meerkat vs. Periscope: Live-streaming app battle & buzz

Mar 27, 2015

Download Periscope, Twitter's just-launched live video-streaming app, and you'll find people broadcasting all sorts of mundane stuff: waiting for AT&T to fix their wiring, getting out of bed in Silicon V ...

Twitter chief vows to help Indonesia fight disasters

Mar 26, 2015

Twitter chief Dick Costolo said Thursday the microblogging site planned to work with Indonesian authorities to warn people about natural disasters that regularly hit the archipelago, from earthquakes to volcanic ...

EU unveils ambitious overhaul of digital economy

Mar 25, 2015

The EU unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul Europe's fragmented digital landscape on Wednesday that would allow Europeans traveling in other bloc countries to get their Netflix film fix or watch BBC iPlayer ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.