Does Cuba Fear A Facebook-Powered Revolution?

Now circulating virally: "The Cyber Police in Cuba," a video of a lecture that appears to be directed at Cuban officials, asking them to be extremely wary of social media.

Now circulating virally: “The Cyber Police in Cuba,” a filmed lecture that appears to be directed at Cuban officials, asking them to be extremely wary of social media. We’ve embedded a copy at the bottom of this post, and have translated some key quotes as well.

(Remember that last month Facebook had reinstated Cubadebate’s page on the social network after the government complained about censorship.)

Sure, the spin given in the 53-minute video – – led by a 38-year-old counterintelligence official – – is that it’s the U.S. government that has been purposefully trying to upset the Cuban revolution since 2008. Yes, the video makes the Obama administration as responsible for this “plan” as the Bush administration. “Social media is the base of all the actions that are being taken against Cuba,” says the man.

Although the lecture begins with a lucid statement, “It’s not the tools that are evil, but the people who can use them for evil purposes,” it quickly becomes focused on the U.S. government’s supposed strategy for provoking dissent among Cuban citizens through Facebook and Twitter.

It is also strangely fascinating to watch this man, whose aim is to explain how social media poses a threat to Cuban society, go into great detail about the connecting power of Facebook. “It is based on the way we create real-life, physical connections,” he explains. “You write that you studied somewhere and that you graduated in whatever year, and in ten minutes [Facebook] suggests all the people you may know.”

“In Cuba, Facebook is the number one social networking site, and the fourth most visited site overall,” he explains… in order to make the point that Cuban people have the same “psychology of the Internet” as their peers in “China, Brazil, or Venezuela.”

Might they be worried that what has been happening in the Middle East may spread to other areas of the world? That would make sense if Cubans had free access to the Internet like people in other parts of the world do.

In 2008, Cuba became one of the last countries on earth to legalize mobile phones. Internet access continues to be mostly blocked unless it is officially granted through the government. According to the Cuban government, only 1 in 14 residents have access to the Internet at all—costly, unstable, just-local access.

Update: An English translation of the video posted here, so you can read it for yourself.

Readers, what do you think of the idea that a Cuban revolution might result from postings by U.S. Facebook users?

Note: All translations from the video are the writer’s. Apparently the video’s title came from Coral Negro, who uploaded the footage. The actual title of the conference depicted is “Political and Dissident Confrontative Campaigns Against Anti-Revolution Groups.”

La ciber policia en Cuba from Coral Negro on Vimeo.