Barack Obama, alone on the mountaintop, dropped a message to the Cuban people from above. There was only one problem: virtually no one heard him.
As he landed in the repressive Communist country, Obama tweeted:
Only five percent of Cubans have Internet access, and the Cuban government forbids access to Twitter in many areas around the country. As The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in 2011, “ … sending a text or posting a Twitter message from a cell phone is costly, about US$1 in a country where the average monthly income is equivalent to US$15 to US$30 … The government has been intent on keeping digital access tilted in its favor … Government officials, intellectuals with government ties, and some academics and doctors are among the relatively few Cubans with authorized passwords to the state’s Internet service.”
Obama told ABC News, “One of the things that we’ll be announcing here is that Google has a deal to start setting up more Wi-Fi access and broadband access on the island. Change is going to happen here, and I think Raúl Castro understands that.” But as The Wall Street Journal reported, “A sliver of Cubans have access to the Internet and service in the country is spotty at best.”
Only hours before Obama landed Cuban authorities arrested over than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights.