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"Who Will Control Cuba's Digital Revolution?" with Dr. Ted A. Henken


"Who Will Control Cuba's Digital Revolution?" with Dr. Ted A. Henken


Featuring Dr. Ted A. Henken

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The triumph of the Cuban Revolution gave the Communist Party a monopoly over both politics and the mass media. However, with the subsequent global proliferation of new information and communication technologies, Cuban citizens have become active participants in the worldwide digital revolution. While the Cuban internet has long been characterized by censorship, high costs, slow speeds, and limited access, technological developments since 2013 have allowed for a fundamental reconfiguration of the cultural, economic, social, and political spheres of the Revolutionary project.

Dr. Henken’s discussion will spring from his work editing and contributing to the forthcoming volume Cuba’s Digital Revolution: Citizen Innovation and State Policy. This book contains essays outlining various transformations within this new digital revolution, examining both government-enabled paid public web access as well as creative workarounds that Cubans have designed to independently produce, distribute, and access digital content. Contributors trace how media ventures, entrepreneurship, online marketing, journalism, and cultural e-zines have been developing on the island alongside global technological and geopolitical changes.

As Cuba continues to expand internet access and as citizens challenge state policies on the speed, breadth, and freedom of that access, Cuba’s Digital Revolution provides a fascinating example of the impact of technology in authoritarian states and transitional democracies. As Dr. Henken’s talk will elaborate, the streets of Cuba may still belong to Castro’s Revolution, but it is still unclear to whom Cuban cyberspace belongs.