Monday, February 7, 2011

Fontes: Que paso con tu Faibu?

Internet critic is identified in Cuba
Monday, February 7, 2011, Miami Herald
JUAN TAMAYO (jtamayo@elnuevoherald.com)

The lecturer in a Cuban government video on the dangers of the Internet has been identified — on the Internet — as a 38-year-old counter-intelligence official who follows blogger Yoani Sánchez on Twitter. Eduardo Fontes Suárez's Facebook page is now down.

But photos of him as a teenager and details on his education and the Havana neighborhood where he lives have been appearing in blogs about Cuba.

The video, which began getting attention Thursday on the Internet, showed an unidentified lecturer speaking to an audience of Interior Ministry officers about the dangers that the Web presents to the Cuban government.

"The Internet is a field of battle," the lecturer declares as he argues that the U.S. government has tried at least since 2008 to use the Web to subvert the Cuban revolution.

Popular bloggers like Sánchez - she regularly criticizes the Cuban government — and even groups of young Cuban-Americans that reach out to their counterparts on the island are part of a covert U.S. campaign against the island, he adds.

By Friday night, the lecturer had been identified by readers of Penultimos Dias, a Spain-based blog about Cuba issues. Other blogs, including the Miami-based Café Fuerte, fleshed out his identity in the following days.

Fontes Suárez is a 38-year-old computer engineer who joined the Interior Ministry's counter-intelligence section after he graduated in 1990 or 1991 from Havana's Vladimir Ilich Lenin high school, which is reserved for the children of Cuba's ruling elites, according to comments posted by visitors to the blogs.

He is the son of a lieutenant colonel in the Interior Ministry's State Security Directorate — in charge of domestic security — and now lives in the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón, according to the posts.

He's married to Beatriz Basabe, a biochemist who works for the Nutrition and Food Hygiene Institute in Havana, where she carries out nutritional studies, according to another comment.

By Monday, Penultimos Dias had published three photos of Fontes Suárez as a teenager, but attempts to view his Facebook page were answered with the message, "This content is currently unavailable."

"I don't know how they are going to fight in the 'cyberwar against Cuba' if they withdraw from Facebook. With those opponents, we've already won," wrote one visitor to Penultimos Dias.

Other comments on the blog identified him as the holder of the Twitter account "Tatofontes" — Tato is a common nickname for Eduardo. The last Twitter he posted came near midnight on Dec. 15 - "Buanas (si, mal escrito) Noches La Habana — Good Night Havana.

The Tatofontes account shows he is "followed" by 92 other persons on Twitter and that he in turn "follows" 112 others. Among those he follows are Yoany Sánchez, pro-government singer Silvio Rodriguez and the El Nuevo Herald newspaper.

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