How a Cuban paper is beating censoring by using USB drives

USB drives are incredibly versatile pieces of technology with new uses for them regularly being discovered. Not all the nations of the world are blessed (or perhaps cursed) with freedom of the press. Cuba is famous for being Communist and a common theme in countries run under this type of regime is censorship. A new start-up digital media company in Cuba is using portable devices such as USB drives as a way of beating the censorship that exists in Cuba. Read this article to find out more about this interesting story.

Online censorship

Cuban opposition blogger Ms Yoani Sanchez launched Cuba's first independent media outlet in 50 years on the 21st May. Censorship of the media, specifically online media is still a major part of Cuban entertainment so Ms Sanchez thought of a way around this using technology. The new digital newspaper known as 14ymedio will beat the censorship by using a wide range of technology. USB drives are part of the key to achieving this for 14ymedio. The paper is led by people opposing Cuban's government and therefore would not be allowed to offer critique using traditional media publications.

How it is done?

Mobile phones, email, USB drives, DVD's and CD's will all be a part of how 14ymedio communicates its stories. These methods of communication are not as tightly controlled in Cuba and offer the perfect opportunity for the newspaper to have freedom of speech in what is a strongly censored country. Push notifications will be sent to these devices that provide them with the most current digital stories the newspaper publishes allowing them to communicate with their readership.

Yoani Sanchez

Ms Sanchez is a 38 year old Cuban woman who is well known for her somewhat infamous blog in Cuba called Generation Y. This blog is known for offering a very critical take on the Cuban government so it comes as no surprise that 14ymedio which is led by her is doing the same.

Ms Sanchez wrote on her blog that many of the staff involved with the 14ymedio project have received strong warning calls from state security services as they prepared to release the newspaper. This goes to show that even in the modern digital world we live in freedom of speech is not always available.

Describing the newspapers Ms Sanchez said it is a digital newspaper that is being used as a space to tell stories about Cuba from within Cuba. 14ymedio is hoping that their paper will be able to help push Cuba further towards the transformation politically many Cubans are hoping for.

The Cuban governments' response to the paper publicly has been to suggest that 14ymedio is part of a larger project of creating a "cyberwar" against the country which they say is US-backed.

The power of the USB

USB drives have been shown to be perfect for the task at hand with 14ymedio due to how they work. USB drives are incredibly portable simply because of their inherently small size. This allows them to easily be distributed to the readers of the paper. USB drives can be created that can access the internet so they can be sent push notifications when new stories are available. Perhaps the strongest selling point of the USB drive for this project is that they can be encrypted and made secure. If there are particular stories that are very critical that 14ymedio do not want to be seen by the government an encrypted USB drive can help with this.


Whilst 14ymedio is undergoing a very risky project in Cuba by trying to beat the government and its censors it is interesting to note that the USB is spearheading this. The USB is a device that is loved the whole world over due to its compatibility, portability and security features.

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