WASHINGTON May 22 The United States criticized
Cuban censorship on Thursday after Cubans were blocked from an
independent website that is challenging the state monopoly on
news on the island.
Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez started publishing
14ymedio.com on Wednesday, but would-be readers were redirected
to another site that is highly critical of her, reflecting the
Sanchez's site remained blocked to the small minority of
Cubans with internet access on Thursday, though it was
accessible outside Cuba.
The U.S. State Department stopped short of directly blaming
Cuba, referring instead to media reports that the government
blocked the site, but it took advantage of the incident to
denounce Cuban censorship.
"The Cuban government continues to limit fundamental
freedoms, including freedom of expression and of the press,
freedom of assembly, and the free flow of information to, from,
and within the island," a State Department spokesperson said.
"Cubans deserve the right to freely express themselves and
the right to petition their government."
Cuba rejects such U.S. criticism as hypocritical
intervention in its affairs.
A Cuban government spokesman said he was unaware who was
blocking Sanchez's site in Cuba, suggesting it might be the U.S.
government. He also declined to make available a representative
from Etecsa, the state communications monopoly and Cuba's
internet service provider.
Cuba has tolerated greater criticism in recent years but not
yet from a website produced on the island as
professional-looking as 14ymedio.com.
From her Twitter account on Wednesday, Sanchez blamed the
Cuban government, but on Thursday the website took a more
"It doesn't take much imagination to discover who were the
aggressors, but, as we don't have proof, we'll just conjecture
that we're talking about someone who has the technological
resources ... and the antagonism," the website said in an
"Blocking 14ymedio could become a failed strategy if the
goal is to silence us. Nothing is more attractive than that
which is forbidden."
Since starting a blog on daily life and politics in Cuba
seven years ago, Sanchez has rattled the Cuban establishment and
won prestigious media awards in the United States and Europe.
The Cuban government has frequently tried discredit her as a
well-paid propagandist doing the bidding of the U.S. government.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington and Daniel Trotta
in Havana; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)