The Cuban government delivered a note of protest to a top U.S. diplomat in Havana Wednesday, rejecting the creation of a Cuba "Internet Task Force" by the U.S. State Department and demanding "respect for our sovereignty."
According to the U.S. Department of State, the task force announced on Jan. 23 will promote the “free and unregulated flow of information” and expand “internet access and independent media.”
In an official statement, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry asked the U.S. government “to cease its subversive, interventionist and illegal actions against Cuba,” referencing the over five-decade-long blockade.
Internet access has significantly improved on the island. Between 2015 and 2016, Cuba introduced Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces around the country and provided more homes with internet access.
The Cuban government’s concerns are fueled by a generally hostile attitude by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to reverse the normalization of diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries, which began in 2014 with the ultimate goal of lifting the blockade. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. government has reinforced the blockade and reinstated restrictions on commerce and travel to the island.
Furthermore, Trump recently praised his administration’s sanctions on the “communist and socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela” in his State of the Union address.
Cuba's note concluded by reiterating that it would "continue to regulate the flow of information as it is its sovereign right and as is done in all countries, including the U.S."