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Cuba

Cuba accuses US of training dissidents via Internet.

Cuba accused the United States Friday of supplying opponents of the government with the technological means to access the Internet as part of an effort to “subvert the constitutional order.”The accusation, leveled in a foreign ministry statement, comes amid a simmering dispute over the jailing of American contractor Alan Gross three years ago for distributing laptops and electronic gear to members of the island’s Jewish community.

It also follows the growing international prominence of Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, whose prize-winning Generation Y blog has often questioned Cuba’s communist regime.

The foreign ministry said US diplomats were “promoting, advising, instructing, training, financing and supplying (government opponents) with diverse media and technology.”

“Diplomats from that office are permanently inciting these people … to undertake provocative actions … and act against the Cuban constitutional order,” it said in the statement published in the official newspaper Granma.

The US Interest Section “has gone to the extreme of undertaking training tasks, establishing illegal Internet centers in its offices to provide training and courses to people … in flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention.”

The United States and Cuba broke off diplomatic relations in 1961, but have maintained interest sections in each other’s capitals for the past three decades to provide consular services and deal with bilateral issues.

The US Interests Section and some European embassies offer dissidents free access to the Internet to compensate for the sparse access existing on the island.

Cuba “will use all legal mechanisms within its reach to defend its sovereignty and to ensure respect for the Cuban people and the laws of the country,” the foreign ministry said.