Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Criticism in the US and Cuba

Criticism has the possibility of being more effective in Cuba than in the US.

Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Dyn Research, sent me a note saying the Cuban blog Internet en Cuba was down, displaying the message "This site has been archived or suspended." He tried emailing the blog's author, but that email bounced.

You cannot see the blog at this time, but the Internet Archive has stored a couple of recent posts, including this one:

The post is critical of ETECSA for not being transparent about the cause of an outage and whether they plan to compensate users. I have no way of knowing whether the problems with the blog are related to this criticism or not -- I hope not -- but it got me thinking about criticism in Cuba versus the US.

I have been quite critical of my Internet service provider, Time Warner Cable, in blog posts. For example, I have said they violate network neutrality, offer terrible customer service, abuse their monopoly power and mislead customers on pricing. This is the image I used to illustrate the post on misleading prices:

In spite of all that, I continue to receive my usual, overpriced service.

In the US, we are generally free to criticize ISPs, political candidates, corporations, the government, etc., but that criticism has little effect. My opinion of Time Warner Cable is common and many people have pointed out the same failings as I have, but nothing has changed.

Cuban blogger Carlos Alberto Pérez has said "I don't criticize to knock the system down. On the contrary, I criticize to perfect the system." I may be naive (probably am), but criticism has the possibility of being more effective in Cuba than in the US.

update 1/27/2016

The blog has suddenly reappeared with two new posts and email to the author, who uses a pseudonym, is working again. No explanation of its absence was given.

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