Havana Protests US Efforts to Increase Internet Access in Cuba

Cuba has officially protested the creation of a US taskforce to improve internet access on the island, arguing it "violates Cuba's sovereignty." The communist-controlled island is one of the most not connected in the world.

The US State Department said that the task force will hold its first meeting on February 7 to encourage "free flow of information in Cuba." The team will study "the challenges and technological opportunities to expand internet access and media independently in Cuba, "the US State Department said.

In a diplomatic memo to the top US diplomat in Havana, Lawrence Gumbiner, Cuba on Wednesday (31/1) filed a" violent protest "against America's desire to publicly violate Cuba's related sovereignty national legislation governing the flow of information. "

The memo declared the attempt to manipulate the internet for political and subversive purposes it is intended to "alter or disrupt the constitutional order" in Cuba. Cuba demanded that America "halt subversive, intervention, and illegal action against Cuba." According to Cuban government data, 40 percent of the island's 11 million inhabitants can use the internet in 2017.

However, in spite of recent government efforts to increase wifi availability, most Cubans have no internet because of costly access, (19659003) US-Cuban relations began to warm under President Barack Obama, when both countries placed ambassadors in 2015 for the first time since 1961. But President Donald Trump has taken up a tougher approach to Cuba since taking office. In his state address on Tuesday, Trump highlighted how his administration had "imposed tough sanctions on communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela." [as/ii]

United States Not Finding Proof of Diplomats in Havana Victims of Attack

Senator Jeff Flake, a prominent advocate of ties with Cuba, spoke early Saturday to The Associated Press. On Friday he met with high-ranking Cuban officials including Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Havana.

"The Cuban Interior Ministry said the FBI had told them that there was no evidence of a sonic attack, even though the term attack was used, there was no evidence of it Something happened, we do not know about it, but there is no evidence that the Cuban government is attacking diplomats here. "

Cuban officials told Flake that after four trips to Cuba, the FBI told his agent found no evidence of the mysterious illness suffered by American diplomats were the outcome of the attack.

Flake said that a secret briefing from American officials made it unwarranted to doubt Cuba's statements, although he refused to discuss the contents of the briefing.

Americans say 24 American government officials and their spouses in their homes and several hotels in Havana beginning in 2016. [19659002] Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson says "confident that this is a targeted attack," but the Americans do not know who is behind the attack.

America has withdrawn most of its diplomats from Havana, on the grounds of health risks, and forcing many Cuban diplomats leaving Washington. [my/al]