Cuba Blocks Social Media Access Amid Protests; U.S. State Department Considers Options to Help Cubans
Several social media sites and messaging platforms were blocked in Cuba, amid the protests that erupted on Sunday. Netblocks, an organization that tracks internet access, reported that there was a "partial" disruption on social media since Monday.
Among those affected were the social media Facebook and Instagram and messaging platforms WhatsApp and Telegram, Engadget reported. Despite the blocking, Reuters mentioned Twitter Inc., saying that they did not detect blocking of their service in the country.
Although the reason behind the social media outages was not disclosed, Netblocks suspected that the restrictions were likely to "limit" the flow of information from Cuba, after the nationwide protests in the country erupted on Sunday.
"The pattern of restrictions observed in Cuba indicate an ongoing crackdown on messaging platforms used to organize and share news of protests in real-time," Netblocks director Alp Toker said in a statement.
It was not clear how many areas were affected by the social media blockage. However, Reuters, citing witnesses, reported that there were mobile internet outages since Sunday in Cuba's capital city, Havana.
"Our weapon is the internet. If they take away the internet we are unarmed," said Gino Ocumares, a resident of the capital. Ocumares mentioned that he failed to connect to the web, through the government Wi-Fi hotspot.
U.S. State Department Considering Ways to Help Cubans Amid Protests
As the protests in Cuba continue, the U.S. States Department said that they are considering options in sending help to Cubans amid the mass demonstrations in the country, CNBC reported.
"We are always considering options available to us that would allow us to support the Cuban people, to support their humanitarian needs, which are indeed profound," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Although it was not clear what options will be considered by the States Department, it will not be the first time that the U.S. would send help to Cuba. Price mentioned that in 2020, the U.S. exported more than $175 million of goods in the country, including food and medicine.
Cuba Protests Left One Dead with Several Others Injured
As the Cuban demonstrations carry on, Reuters noted that the protests left at least one dead with several demonstrators and security officials injured.
According to Al Jazeera, the man who died, identified as Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36 years old, took part in the "disturbances." It was not clear what was the cause of Tejeda's death but he was marked as the first casualty in the largest protest the country has witnessed.
The protests in Cuba erupted on Sunday, as multiple reports say that the demonstrations stemmed out from the Cubans' frustration with a crippled economy hit by food and power shortages. However, on Tuesday, Cuban exiles in Miami claimed that the protests were fueled by the nation's hunger for freedom and not driven by medicine or food.
Meanwhile, the government of Cuba blamed the nationwide protests on the embargo imposed on them by the U.S. However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki countered the claims, arguing that the sanction had several exceptions that allowed medical supply and other humanitarian assistance in the country.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Cuba Blocks Social Media Access Amid Massive Protest Movement- From ABC News
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