REFILE-Dissident blogger launches Cuba's first independent online newspaper

miércoles 21 de mayo de 2014 12:17 GYT

(Adds dropped word "launched" from first paragraph)

By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA May 21 (Reuters) - Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez launched Cuba's first independent online newspaper on Wednesday with reports questioning the quality of Cuba's healthcare system but access to its maiden edition was soon redirected to another site mocking the journalist.

The new site seeks to draw attention away from the communist-ruled country's state-controlled media and challenge the government's heavy media restrictions. Cuba has been tolerating a greater criticism in recent years but not yet from such a professional-looking website produced on the island.

Within its first 90 minutes on line, links to instead led to a site called yoani$, a reference the official Cuban critique that she is motivated by greed. The lead headline on the site was about her former Italian translator who split with Sanchez, saying she was rude and only wanted to become rich and famous.

The website called the interference a redirection, not a hack, and it seemed to mostly affect users with Cuban servers.

From her Twitter account, Sanchez called it a "bad strategy by the Cuban government to redirect our web from Cuba. Nothing more attractive than what is forbidden."

As launched, the site had stories of a type rarely seen in official Cuban media, for example doubting the quality of Cuba's free healthcare system, officially seen as a triumph of the 1959 revolution.

A headline asks "Does our health suffer from international missions?," questioning Cuba's program of exporting doctors in exchange for Venezuelan oil and to Brazil, which has helped make professional services the country's top export.   Continuación...