Cuba’s cyber awakening

Havana government fears a social media explosion is threatening its revolution, writes Pascal Fletcher

The World Today Published 4 June 2021 2 minute READ

Pascal Fletcher

Latin America specialist, BBC Monitoring

Gone are the times when Cuba’s rulers and state-controlled media felt they could remain safely silent about anti-government activity by dissidents, or only choose to mention it when it suited the discourse of the day.

Cuba’s ruling Revolution – the one-party communist system that emerged after Fidel Castro’s nationalist uprising in 1959 – is facing a ‘digital revolution’ and feeling the heat.

With more and more Cubans now connected to the internet – nearly 70 per cent of the population, according to recent state media estimates – news in and about Cuba is more ‘real time’ than it has been for decades, whether the subject is a deadly bus or plane crash, perennial food and medicine shortages, the impact of the Covid pandemic or reports of anti-government protests.

For the ruling communist party, this is an uncomfortable novelty, and one that directly threatens its monopoly over information, and therefore its political control over Cuban society. 

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.