Cuban government blocks text messages using words such as ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 8, 2016

“Democracy”, “human rights” and “hunger strike” are on a list of 30 keywords being blocked in text messages by Cuba’s communist government.

Just 22 percent of Cuba's population own a mobile phone.
Just 22 percent of Cuba’s population own a mobile phone.

Prominent blogger Yoani Sanchez and journalist Reinaldo Escobar found that the Castro regime is filtering the keywords and blocking the transmission of any texts that contain them.

“We discovered not just us but the entire country is being censored,” Eliecer Avila, the head of opposition group Somos Mas, told Reuters. “It just shows how insecure and paranoid the government is.”

In its own test, Reuters confirmed that messages containing the Spanish words for “democracy” and “human rights” did not reach their destination, nor did those containing Sanchez’s name or “Somos Mas”. Reuters added that the blocked texts were marked as “sent” on the sender’s phone.

The communist nation has the lowest mobile phone penetration rate in Latin America, according to Freedom House. By the end of 2014, about 22 percent of the population owned a mobile phone and most who do are unable to access the web through the devices.

Only around five percent of the Cuban population have home Internet access. A higher number are able accesses the web through Wi-Fi hotspots at a steep price. The Castro government heavily censors websites and media.