Text messages containing words like “democracy” and “human rights” are blocked in Cuba


If your text messages contain words like “democracy”, “human rights”, “coexistence” and “dictatorship” they are blocked in Cuba. All in all, around 30,000 words of such expressions are not allowed to be transmitted if you are using them in text messages in Cuba. Cuba was once a thriving society but it was systematically destroyed by communism. Of late, the society and the government has been gradually doing away with various Draconian laws, but traces of the dark days still linger in the blocking of text messages containing words like “democracy”. Most of the people use Spanish on the island country so the Spanish variations of these words are also blocked in Cuba.

An investigation was carried out by a local dissidents group 14 Y Medio. According to renowned blogger Yoani Sanchez and journalist Reinaldo Escobar, the Cuban government is blocking and filtering around 30,000 words in the text messages. This Reuters report has also confirmed that the Cuban government is blocking and filtering mobile text messages containing the 30,000 odd words mentioned in the 14 Y Medio investigation.

Some of the main words blocked in text messages and Cuba are “democracy”, “human rights”, “hunger strike”, “the dictatorship of work”, “José Daniel Ferrer”, and “coexistence”.

Here is the partial list of Spanish words blocked in Cuba:

14 y medio
Berta Soler
Carlos Amel
Coco Farinas
Coco Fariñas
Cuba Posible
Damas de Blanco
Derechos humanos
Elecciones libres
Generacion Y
Generación Y
Guillermo Farinas
Guillermo Fariñas
Hablemos Press
Huelga de hambre
Jose Daniel Ferrer
José Daniel Ferrer
Oscar Elias Biscet
Óscar Elías Biscet
Policía Política
Policia Politica
Primavera Negra
Seguridad del Estado
Todos Marchamos
Yoani Sanchez
Yoani Sánchez

Even normal day-to-day messages get filtered due to the appearance of these blocked words. But people normally find their way around. For example, if someone wants to mention a police patrol car in a text message, he or she uses the word “aspirin”. “Red fabric” means beef that is highly rationed and often leads to conflict.

For long Cuba has been using Chinese technology to monitor the activities of dissidents on the Internet and the island country is also using Chinese benchmarks to block messages containing words like human rights and democracy. In 2014 Cuba and China signed an agreement on “cooperation in cyberspace”. The Chinese government uses the Golden Shield Project, more commonly known around the world as the Great Firewall. More than 30,000 words and expressions are censored or blocked using this technology.

Just imagine, countries like Cuba are the poster kids of communists and socialists all over the world.

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About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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