US Congress approves Law to facilitate free Internet access in Cuba

This is an option that Cuban civil society has been demanding to make visible the protests, the repression of the regime and the violations of human rights.

The United States Congress approved a Law to facilitate freeInternet access in Cuba, a measure proposed by several Cuban-American congressmen that was included as part of theLaw of State Appropriations, Foreign Operations and Related Programs for Fiscal Year 2024.

In announcing the important decision adopted by US legislators, the Cuban-American congressmanMario Díaz-Balart highlighted the effort of the RepublicansCarlos Gimenez andMaria Elvira Salazar to carry out a proposal thatCuban civil society He has been demanding to make visible the regime's repression and the violations of Human Rights in Cuba.

The way to implement this decision will be through the Open Technology Fund, as Díaz-Balart explained. These funds will be available for grants aimed at innovative methods to reach audiences within Cuba. After 45 days after the date of enactment of the Act, the head of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) must consult with the Appropriations Committees regarding such grants.

"Congresswoman Salazar has been trying to get the United States to help the Cuban people have access to interest. [But it was] Carlos Giménez the person who found where, how, using the budget. Therefore we put 43.5 million dollars to the open technology fund program, whose purpose is to break the Internet blockade throughout the world. And let us be very clear that President Biden's excuses that they don't know how to do it and that there is no money, no longer exist," Díaz-Balart said this Wednesday.

At the end of March, Congress approved a bill supporting thedemocracy in Cuba which included these proposals and measures under the title of the Consolidated Additional Appropriations Law 2024, written by Díaz-Balart.

The text proposed the allocation of 25 million dollars to finance the promotion of democracy in Cuba, which represents an increase of 25% compared to previous years. In addition, it included the proposal to allocate another 25 million dollars for the Transmission Office to Cuba, which includesRadio and TV Martí.

With the approval this Wednesday by theUnited States Senate of the final financing package for fiscal year 2024 (with an overwhelming vote of 74 to 24), the doors are opened to finance the policies to promote democracy in Cuba contemplated in the Díaz-Balart proposal.

The Law on State Appropriations, Foreign Operations and Related Programsswimming (SFOPS) for fiscal year 2024 provides $58.346 million in total funding for theDepartment of State, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other essential related programs.

The bill includes $11.8 billion for the State Department and USAID to carry out their vital mission around the world and continue to invest in modernizing their workforce in the field of diplomacy and development.

Furthermore, within the framework of promoting human rights and democratic governance, the bill continues dozens of provisions that address global fragility and reflect values by strengthening good governance and protecting human rights, including funding for the International Criminal Court as it files charges against senior Russian officials, including the presidentVladimir Putin, for committing war crimes in Ukraine.

In March 2022,Salazar asked billionaire Elon Musk to install his satellite Internet technology for Cuba as it did in Ukraine after the invasion of Russia.

“I thank Mr. Musk (for his technological support for Ukraine) and I would love for him to do the same for Cuba,” Salazar toldFox News Digital. In addition, the congresswoman indicated that she would like to talk with the businessman about his technology and the possibilities of use in Cuba.

"The Cuban people need immediate and uncensored internet to connect with other Cubans and the world. We must help them expose the brutality of the communist regime and end communism in Cuba once and for all," Salazar wrote on his Instagram account on August 2021, a few days after the historic 11J protests in Cuba.

Around the same time, in a press conference offered by the presidentJoe Biden together with the German chancellorAngela Merkel The issue of the Cuban crisis and the actions that could be undertaken from abroad to alleviate it were addressed, as well as the temporary enabling of a free internet service after the systematic blockages of network access that the regime generated to silence the impact of the protests.

When asked by a journalist about the position of the United States regarding the situation in Cuba, Biden mentioned three core issues on the agenda: remittances, vaccination against Covid-19 and the possibility of helping the Cuban people in the midst of the crisis. intense police repression he suffered.

"We are considering technological options to bring internet to all Cubans"Biden assured. Furthermore, the president indicated that there are "many actions that are currently being considered with respect to Cuba, but guarantees would be needed so as not to benefit the government."

Recently,after the protests of March 17 and 18 that exploded in several locations in Cuba, the activistRosa María Payá He asked the international community “to stand on the side of the Cuban people” and also proposed thatsatellite internet be allowed for Cubans.

"We have confirmed that the regime has disabled internet access in Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba. I call on President Biden's Administration to do the right thing and provide the island of Cuba with satellite internet to stop the regime's repression "In 2024, the technology already exists to effectively provide internet to the island," Congressman Giménez said after 17M.

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