Why the internet in Cuba has become a US political hot potato

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Cubans used to joke about Napoleon Bonaparte chatting to Mikhail Gorbachev, George W Bush and Fidel Castro in the afterlife. “If I’d have had your prudence, I’d never have fought Waterloo,” the French emperor tells the last Soviet leader. “If I’d have had your military might, I’d have won Waterloo,” he tells the Texan. Turning last to Castro, the emperor says: “If I’d have had Granma [the Cuban Communist party daily], I’d have lost Waterloo but nobody would have known.”

The joke no longer does the rounds. With millions of Cubans now online, the state’s monopoly on mass communication has been deeply eroded. But after social media helped catalyse historic protests on the island last month, the government temporarily shut the internet down.

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