aNewDomain — Carlos Alberto Pérez started his blog, “Chiringa de Cuba,” in November, 2010. The blog has been constructively critical of Cuba from the start. His first post was on ten municipal workers that were assigned to rake fallen leaves on a street. He was critical of the “full employment,” but working within the system as a government employee with Internet access at work.
In July, 2012, Pérez moved his blog from WordPress to his own domain chiringadecuba.com because he worried about the possibility of WordPress censorship.
It’s ironic, then, that chringadecuba.com has been suspended, while the WordPress blog is still up.
Why Was Chiringa de Cuba Suspended?
The precise reason for the site’s suspension has been speculated about online. Some people say it’s the result of an imperialist tactic by Cuba, while others say Cuba wouldn’t have the capability to suspend a “dot com” account. Still others wonder if Perez was able to pay his domain fees, or other more mundane reasons.
I’ve done extensive research and found that the server is still reachable and running — it serves up an old-fashioned CGI script and says that the registration has been paid for through June, 2016.
Eliminating that, I decided to speak with Baruch College Professor and Cuba scholar Ted Henken. He has learned that the Web hosting company suspended the service because of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Henken does suspect that the attack could have been orchestrated by the Cuba government in retaliation for a number of leaked documents that Perez posted to Chiringadecuba.
I have also spoken with someone at the datacenter in which the blog is hosted, but have not yet heard back from the hosting company.
If Cuba executed a DDoS attack on Chiringa de Cuba I would be extremely disappointed. Perez is not subversive — he is a conscientious critic, stating “I don’t criticize to knock the system down. On the contrary, I criticize to perfect the system.”
As Ted Henken points out, the thaw in US-Cuban relations and the growth of digital civil society on the island gives the Cuban government an opportunity to demonstrate that it can tolerate constructive critics and learn from them. I hope to see Chiringa de Cuba online soon.
For aNewDomain, I’m Larry Press.
Ed: A version of this story ran on Larry Press’ laredcubana. Read it here.
Featured image: Cuba Grunge Flag by Nicolas Raymond via Flickr
Body image: Screenshot by Larry Press