Just spotted that Cuba are about to get a digital democracy project, courtesy of USAID. Here’s why you’re unlikely to get email from Cuban relatives:-
All media are government-run and closely supervised. News and information programming is nearly uniform across all outlets, and distribution of printed material from foreign sources or critical of the government is prohibited. Foreign newspapers or magazines are unavailable, and distribution of material with political content, interpreted broadly to include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is not allowed and can result in harassment and even detention.
Since the 2008 lift on the ban of mobile phones for consumer use, the growth in mobile phones has increased significantly to over 1 million users. Phone call prices are still expensive for the average Cuban so SMS texting is often the preferred method of communication within the island.
“Recargas” or the ability to recharge mobile phone accounts through the Internet from abroad has been instrumental in supporting the work of local human rights defenders. Through “recargas” many local human rights defenders are able to create blogs and upload pictures of repression incidents for immediate broadcast around the world.
Overall access to the Internet is highly monitored, restricted, and limited by the regime. While the government reports that approximately 14 percent of the population has access to the Internet, in many cases this access is limited to a domestic “intranet” which offers only e-mail or highly restricted access to the World Wide Web.
The Internet in Cuba remains the slowest in the hemisphere. The average Cuban citizen cannot afford the Internet fees. All Internet traffic passes through dial-up or limited satellite linkups.