AFP reporters noted that the mobile internet, which had been cut off from historic demonstrations on Sunday, recovered in Cuba on Wednesday, but remained unstable and inaccessible to social networks and instant messaging applications.
• read more: Cuba denies “social explosion” after protests
With 3G or 4G, access to things like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter is blocked. On the street, residents were able to connect seamlessly to the Internet.
“Social networks are utterly aggressive, calling for murder, assassination, and terrorist attacks against civilians, especially those identified as revolutionaries,” President Miguel Diaz-Colonel denounced in a televised news release in his national newspaper on Wednesday.
The speech, in which he tries to convey (on social networks) that “the repression of the Cuban government (…) is utterly false and slanderous”, accused these networks of pursuing “media terrorism”.
“It is true that we do not have mobile internet, but we do not have drugs,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in response to a question on Tuesday. He added that “Cuba will not relinquish its right to defend itself.”
The minister accused the United States of running a campaign on Twitter via the hashtag #SOSCuba to incite social unrest on the island.
On Wednesday, the streets of Havana were quiet, but police and military presence were clearly strengthened around the Capitol, the seat of parliament, an AFP reporter noted.
On Sunday, thousands of Cubans rallied in the area chanting “Freedom!”, “We are hungry” and “Down with dictatorship”, while several police trucks were stopped, while new calls for a demonstration near the Capitol were spread on social media on Tuesday.
One person was killed and more than a hundred were arrested during demonstrations on Sunday and Monday against the communist government for denying the “social explosion”.
Washington reiterated on Wednesday its calls for the immediate release of detained protesters and called for an end to cyber restrictions.
“The world is watching as Cuban authorities arrest and beat dozens of civilians, including journalists and independent voices,” said State Department spokesman Netflix.
“The voice of the Cuban people, including technological means, can never silence or restrain their legitimate aspirations for freedom, for human rights,” he added.