Cuba diverts online readers seeking new newspaper

A new, non-government online newspaper has been blocked by the Cuban authorities on its first day of publication.

The Web site, officially launched Wednesday morning by renowned blogger Yoani Sánchez, was blocked three hours after the launch. In Cuba those who tried to log onto the site were redirected to “Yoanilandia,” another Web site on which information adverse to the journalist is posted, said the  Inter American Press Association.

“While this action is no surprise, the world was hoping for greater tolerance by the Raúl Castro government, considering its efforts to show a more positive face, more open to raise attention of the international community,” said Claudio Paolillo. He is chairman of the Inter American Press Association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.

“Unfortunately,” added Paolillo, the editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, “this censorship shows that the Cuban government continues to think that freedom of expression is a concession that is granted by the authorities, not a human right, that no one may criticize them and they do not have to give any explanation to their citizens.”

Ms. Sánchez managed to remain in contact through her Twitter account. In one of her tweets she blamed the government for the sabotage.

In a statement of support for the online newspaper published in 14ymedio and signed by writers, film directors, past presidents and journalists, it welcomes “new means of communication born in a country without a free press — Cuba. “

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