This article is reprinted from the Morning Star.
The Cuban government has slammed US corporation Microsoft for blocking its Messenger instant messaging service on the island and in other countries under US sanctions.
The technology giant recently said it was disabling the program's availability in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to come into compliance with a US ban on the transfer of licensed software to embargoed countries.
In a Juventud Rebelde article, a technology correspondent said that the ban was "just the latest turn of the screw in the United States' technological blockade against the island", branding it "a truly harsh violation" of Cuba's rights.
Messenger has been used on the island for a decade without Microsoft interference.
Microsoft's director of Windows Live Product Management, Dharmesh Mehta, said the Washington-based company had "made the change late last year in connection with the last product release of Windows Live Messenger".
"This is not a new change, but has only recently received attention", Mehta said.
"Microsoft is one of several major internet companies that have taken steps aimed at meeting their obligations to not do business with markets on the US sanctions list."
Since the 1960s, the US has prevented major world computer makers, such as Intel, Hewlett Packard, IBM or Macintosh from directly selling their products to Cuba, in violation of international law.
Despite restrictions on US-licensed software, the Cuban government employs Windows operating systems and other Microsoft programs on many of its computers, but it is working towards replacing them with open-source programs.