Biden Should Support Cuba’s Internet Freedom

Cuba is in the dark.

Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to express their longing for freedom. In response, the communist authoritarian regime has employed a time-honored tactic of tyrants: shutting off access to the outside world. Suspending access to online social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the government has sought to dilute the protesters of their energy and organization.

Fortunately, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has shown remarkable ingenuity in seeking out ways to aid our southern neighbors. In a recent tweet, DeSantis published a letter that he sent to President Joe Biden urging the federal government to "assist in providing internet access to the people of Cuba standing up against Communist oppression and demanding a voice after decades of suffering."

This would not be the first time that the United States has used technology to aid freedom movements and undermine authoritarian regimes. Similar methods were essential to bringing down the Soviet Union.

Controlling the media through state ownership and censorship, the Soviet Union was able to disconnect its population from the outside world, and even reality itself. Such was the case with the Soviet denial of the Holodomor, the methodical genocide of Ukrainians through artificial famine in the 1930s. Heavy censorship that ran until well into the 1980s meant that practically no one outside of Ukraine was aware that between 3 million and 7 million Ukrainians had been willfully starved to death.

Beginning in 1947 and continuing throughout the Cold War, however, the U.S. and the rest of NATO engaged in a coordinated campaign to bring the free press to Russia and the former East bloc. Broadcasting Russian-language radio and television programs across the Iron Curtain, the Western allies were able to present a view of freedom that would never have been allowed past Soviet censors. It was moral action that helped to undermine a brutal regime.

Even if Biden is willing to support such an effort, bringing free and open internet to the people of Cuba will not be easy. But broadcasting behind the Iron Curtain when the Soviets were continually employing signal jammers wasn’t easy either.

Working together, a Republican governor and a Democratic president could present the country with a genuine show of "unity." Hopefully, we can give the Cuban people increased volume for freedom.

Luke Hogg is a policy analyst at FreedomWorks.