Official reports indicate that on December 6 the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) began to provide customers with Internet connection service through mobile data. While the service is reportedly expected to expand gradually, 3G and home internet services were largely restricted to state-employed journalists, universities, and foreign businesses and missions.
While some reports suggest the launch of Internet connection service through mobile data marks a further relaxation of the government’s restrictions on online activity, we assess the government is not looking forward yet to a general trend towards political and civil freedoms. For instance, a recent decree obligates artists to register in a state cultural institution and request permission to perform and commercialize their artwork. Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera, who was reportedly protesting at the Ministry of Culture against the decree, was detained on December 3, then released and detained once again on December 4, her whereabouts remaining unknown since then. As previously assessed, the government is attempting to minimize exposure to international condemnation by adopting new tactics including short-term punishments.