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Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., makes a personal appeal to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to bring satellite internet technology to Cuba, much like it did in Ukraine.
Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, sent Starlink satellite technology to Ukraine in response to a public request Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who worries about internet disruptions during the Russian invasion.
The service is now operational and is the only non-Russian communications system still operating in parts of Ukraine, according to Musk.
SALAZAR DEPLOYS A TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACCESS PLAN ABROAD WHEN INTERNET ACCESS IS CUT
“I thank Mr. Elon Musk, and I would like him to do the same for Cuba,” Salazar told Fox News Digital in an interview. “We were trying to reach out to him and his technology because it basically sends the message to these people: you’re not alone.”
“We know the Russians are going to shut down the internet because they want to destroy in silence or in the dark,” Salazar continued. “Starlink and Mr. Musk are heroes because what they do is show the world through images the barbarities that are carried out by the Russians.”
The issue of connectivity is a priority for Salazar, the freshman lawmaker from South Florida who is the daughter of Cuban exiles. It introduced legislation in August, called Operation Starfall, to provide access to wireless communications overseas when rogue regimes shut down internet access.
The legislation calls for deploying stratospheric balloons, aerostats or satellite technology capable of rapidly delivering wireless internet access anywhere on the planet, from the stratosphere or higher.
His legislative push came after anti-government protests erupted in Cuba in July. The communist government responded by restricting internet access in an effort to stifle dissent and hide the violent crackdown on activists.
“If the Biden administration had provided internet connectivity to Cubans, you would have 5 million Cubans on the streets of Havana,” Salazar said. “It is impossible for the Cuban regime to imprison 5 million people. And that would have been the beginning of the end.”
ELON MUSK WARNS STARLINK SYSTEM COULD BE TARGET IN UKRAINE AMID RUSSIAN INVASION
The press offices of Musk’s two companies, Telsa and Starlink, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Fox News.
Starlink is a network of approximately 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit that provide high-speed broadband Internet by connecting to user terminals on the ground. Ukraine has experienced periodic internet outages over the past week as Russian forces invaded from the north, south and east, according to internet monitor NetBlocks.
The biggest difference between setting up Starlink stations in Cuba and Ukraine is that the Ukrainian government wants internet connectivity. Musk has warned that the Starlink system in Ukraine could be vulnerable to Russian cyberattacks.
Fox News’ David Aaro and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.