US was major backer of blocked dissident website: Cuba

HAVANA (AFP) - Cuba on Saturday accused Washington of being a major sponsor of an opposition newspaper whose online debut it blocked earlier this week.

The state-run Granma newspaper, in the first official government reaction to the "14yMedio" online daily launched by dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, said the publication was "counter-revolutionary" and got up and running thanks to substantial US backing.

"The US government lent its full support to counter-revolutionary blogger Yoani Sanchez," the Cuban daily wrote, adding that Havana "will never tolerate any kind of subversive activity."

Sanchez launched her news website early Wednesday but three hours later it was blocked in Cuba, in what the US State Department called a restriction of Cubans' "freedom of expression and of the press."

Sanchez had hoped that her online media venture would be Cuba's first independent news outlet in 50 years.

People in Cuba who tried to access the site however, were redirected to another page, Yoani$, filled with attacks on the prize-winning writer and pieces by pro-government bloggers.

The statement appeared to draw a link between Sanchez's website and other Internet ventures undertaken by Washington in Cuba.

Cuba recently denounced as "illegal and covert" a US-created Twitter-style application - Zunzuneo - which Havana claimed was introduced here to undermine the government.

Several days later, Havana lashed out against a "subversive" US texting application, "Piramideo," which it said was created to foment dissent by opposition groups here. That app was created with funding from the US Agency for International Development.