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Cuba Prohibits Computer Sales


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Cuba Prohibits Computer Sales

  1. 1. Cuba, Alabama: 05/25/2003 - 05/31/2003 Page 1 of 2Cuba prohibits computer salesby Robert Lebowitz, Digital Freedom Network(March 26, 2002) In a new effort to curb Internet access,the Cuban government has forbade the sale of computersfor personal use.This past January, a resolution was passed with thefollowing article: "The sale of computers, offset printerequipment, mimeographs, photocopiers…as well as theirparts, pieces, and accessories, is prohibited to associations,foundations, civic and nonprofit societies, and natural borncitizens.""The sale of natural borncitizens."Marta Roque, leader of the Cuban Institute of IndependentEconomists, surmised that the governments crackdownwas a reaction to the increased availablity of Web sitesoffering Cuban dissidents an opportunity to get theirmessage heard."They knew that dissidents were buying computers andconstructing Web sites," said Roque. Since Roque does nothave access to her own site from Cuba, she sends writtenmaterial to Miami, where it is posted on her Web site.Roque herself recently created a Web site, which wasdesigned to show the opposing viewpoint of life in theCommunist state, independent of government influence.Roques site is located at call to Cutisa, an electronics provider in Cuba, confirmedthat the outlet was no longer selling computer equipment tothe general public, but only to businesses and government.When asked why, the salesman replied simply that it was agovernment order.However, according to Rosa Berre of Cubanet, it is stillpossible to get a computer either through a businessmanselling off his old computers or else through the blackmarket. In fact, other illegal means of circumventingInternet censorship have sprouted in Cuba: hackersregularly gain access to the Web, which can normally onlybe accessed through one server.Still, according to Berre, obtaining computer equipment forpersonal remains a challenge. "Its not easy," said Berre. 5/16/2006
  2. 2. Cuba, Alabama: 05/25/2003 - 05/31/2003 Page 2 of 2"You have to have a friend." 5/16/2006