- 4Last week, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., sent a letter to President Joe Biden warning him of the Cuban regime’s planned violence during the November 15th protests, and asked the administration to be prepared for the regime to cut internet from the island.
“The letter expresses the frustration of the Cuban-American community for the administration’s delay in providing the Cuban people with internet after the regime shut it off on July 12th following historic anti-government protests on the island,” the congresswoman’s office noted.
“I have met with a broad range of private stakeholders about providing internet to the Cuban people, and have begged the State Department and your administration for months to do their due diligence as well,” wrote Salazar in the letter. “It is essential for you to meet with all the relevant private stakeholders and government officials to stand up reliable internet connectivity for the island of Cuba. Failure to do so is a failure to stand with the Cuban people.”
In August, Salazar introduced Operation Starfall, a plan to provide internet overseas to help expose regimes that have disconnected their citizens. In September, Salazar petitioned that the House add Operation Starfall to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, but House Democrats blocked the plan from being considered.
Operation Starfall, introduced by Salazar, is a strategic plan to deploy stratospheric balloons, aerostats, or satellite technology capable of rapidly delivering wireless internet anywhere on the planet from high altitudes. With the use of emerging technologies that already exist in the private sector, it can be employed to create wireless internet networks covering a target geographic territory. At home, Operation Starfall would be deployable across the United States in the wake of floods, hurricanes, or wildfire devastation when local communications infrastructure is disabled.
Operation Starfall leverages U.S. innovation to empower citizens and strengthen democracy by exposing regimes that repress access to information and violate fundamental human rights. In the wake of the historic July protests in Cuba, the brutal Communist regime shut off all access to the internet on the island while it tortured and jailed peaceful pro-democracy protestors.
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