U.S. criticizes Cuba over blocking of dissident website
WASHINGTON May 22 (Reuters) - The United States criticized Cuban censorship on Thursday after Cubans were blocked from an independent website that is challenging the state monopoly on news on the island.
Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez started publishing 14ymedio.com on Wednesday, but would-be readers were redirected to another site that is highly critical of her, reflecting the official line.
Sanchez's site remained blocked to the small minority of Cubans with internet access on Thursday, though it was accessible outside Cuba.
The U.S. State Department stopped short of directly blaming Cuba, referring instead to media reports that the government blocked the site, but it took advantage of the incident to denounce Cuban censorship.
"The Cuban government continues to limit fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of assembly, and the free flow of information to, from, and within the island," a State Department spokesperson said.
"Cubans deserve the right to freely express themselves and the right to petition their government."
Cuba rejects such U.S. criticism as hypocritical intervention in its affairs.
A Cuban government spokesman said he was unaware who was blocking Sanchez's site in Cuba, suggesting it might be the U.S. government. He also declined to make available a representative from Etecsa, the state communications monopoly and Cuba's internet service provider.
Cuba has tolerated greater criticism in recent years but not yet from a website produced on the island as professional-looking as 14ymedio.com. Continuación...