Evading Communist Censorship with Samizdat Flash Drives

Dissent in Cuba.


Polish samizdat edition of Animal Farm.

The Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez gave a speech in Mexico last weekend, and The Miami Herald reports that she painted a gloomy picture of the civil liberties situation in her country. "Often, activists, including independent journalists, are detained on the street, pulled into cars without plates, pushed, threatened [and] questioned by civilians who never identify themselves," she told the crowd.

But there are ways, she added, to route around censorship some of the time:

Sánchez said underground blogs, digital portals and illicit e-magazines proliferate, passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, are dropped into friendly hands on buses and along street corners, offering a surprising number of Cubans access to information.

"Information circulates hand-to-hand through this wonderful gadget known as the memory stick," Sánchez said, "and it is difficult for the government to intercept them. I can't imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn't."

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  1. I wonder if you can bring them into the country? As a tourist that is. This would be another reason to lift the travel ban.

    1. I’m sure you’d be able to. But you wouldn’t like where you have to hide them.

      1. You’re making a lot of assumptions about Tim’s extracurricular activities Hugh. Besides some of the latest generation of flash drives are so tiny he probably wouldn’t even notice a few of them hitching a free ride in his lower digestive tract.

        1. Some of them look like other things as well. They are basically impossible to stop.

        2. Jesse didn’t come here to talk about my ass.

          1. Oh, so you’re a mind reader now.

            1. Not a mind reader, exactly. But Tim can do amazing things in the field of rectal braille.

      2. Some people would. NTTAWWT

      3. I’m sure you’d be able to. But you wouldn’t like where you have to hide them.

        This flash drive. This flash drive was on your Daddy’s wrist when he was shot down over Havana. He was captured and put in a Cuban prison camp. Now he knew that if the spicks ever saw the flash drive it’d be confiscated, taken away. The way your Dad looked at it, this flash drive was your birthright. He’d be damned if any spicks were gonna put their greasy brown hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide somethin’. His ass. Five long years, he wore this flash drive up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the flash drive. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. Now, little man, I give the flash drive to you.

        1. Do you have any idea of what he had to go through to get me that flash drive? I don’t have time to go into it, but he went through a lot.

  2. passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives

    You can tell this article was written for the geriatric print-edition crowd.

  3. How many Cubans would have access to a device on which to read the contents of the drive?

    Additionally, one can be fairly certain that the Cuban government makes use of spyware.

    1. Yeah, Cheney was much more restrained in droning.

    2. True. Dick Cheney never ordered the killing of an American citizen. Dick Cheney was often called to the carpet by the major media. I would like to hear an explanation of exactly how Obama isn’t much worse than Cheney.

    3. Aahhh yes. The Palin’s Buttplug defense. Sound logic.

    4. Cheney was more of an in-your-face kind of guy.

    5. And what a no class piece of shit he is. No President, not even Nixon or Bill Clinton ever mentioned his predecessors by name in a negative comparison to themselves. Obama really has no class, sense of shame or propriety. He really is the worst piece of scum we have ever put into the office.

      1. Did you hear him try to weasel out of the cancelled white house tours?

        1. “Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Well, except the weasel.”

      2. Tell us how you really feel. Come on, let it all out.

    6. When Cheney wants someone dead, he pulls the trigger himself.

      1. Or merely wounded, treated and released.


        2. Hey, when Clinton shot someone in the face, they tried to impeach him.

          1. rimshot (and your post was funny, too)

        3. I’m assuming there was a substantial check written to the guy, too.

          1. Hey, who hasn’t gotten loaded, gone bird hunting and accidentally put some birdshot into your buddy’s ass? Come on now.

        4. I’m not gonna lie, Cheney gets points in my book for having the chutzpah to shoot someone in the face, and then have them go on national TV to apologize for getting in the way.

    7. for a ‘Con-Law professor’, he *really* doesn’t get it..

      1. Constitutional Law is too often one of those hilarious misnomers that’ve run rampant in academia. Like Critical Theory.

    8. The president noted that he would have “probably objected” over the White House’s handling of this issue if he were still a senator, they said. But, according to the sources, he noted his viewpoint changed now that he occupies the Oval Office ? not a room in a Senate office building.

      Translation: “I’m a craven power hungry shitstain with absolutely no principles whatsoever.”

  4. I can’t imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn’t.

    “Sounds like a challenge.” – Fidel

  5. passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks

    Wowww!, advanced technology, in Cuba! I knew that all the capitalist pigs were lying about the wonders that exist in Cuba, trying to cover it up so we are all kept in the dark about the true benefits of communism. Now I know that they really do have the best medical systems in the world and other wonders too marvelous to imagine. I’m not sure why all the progs aren’t swimming over there to live. Maybe they think the island will capsize?

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