Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cuba launches online encyclopaedia similar to Wikipedia

Cuba launches online encyclopaedia similar to Wikipedia
14 December 2010 Last updated at 09:55 GMT

The Cuban government is launching its own online encyclopaedia, similar
to Wikipedia, with the goal of presenting its view of the world and history.

The new Spanish language website will be officially launched later on
Tuesday but it is already up and running with nearly 20,000 entries on

The site says the aim is to spread knowledge without a profit motive.

Updates will apparently be allowed with the administrators' approval but
it is not clear who actually runs the site.

Founded in 2001 in Cuba's long-time ideological enemy, the United
States, Wikipedia is a multilingual, free-content encyclopaedia.

It encourages editorial changes from everybody who comes to the site,
although restrictions exist on about 2,000 controversial articles.

Wikipedia has more than 3.5 million entries in English and 682,000 in
Spanish, and some attracts 78 million visitors a month.
'Beautiful fruit'

According to Ecured, it was developed "to create and disseminate the
knowledge of all and for all, from Cuba and with the world".

"Its philosophy is the accumulation and development of knowledge, with a
democratising, not profitable, objective, from a decolonizer point of view."

The entry on the United States, for example, describes it as the "empire
of our time, which has historically taken by force territory and natural
resources from other nations, to put at the service of its businesses
and monopolies".

"It consumes 25% of the energy produced on the planet and in spite of
its wealth, more than a third of its population does not have assured
medical attention," the article says.

The BBC's Michael Voss in Havana says relations between these two former
Cold War foes have marginally improved under US President Barack Obama,
but the decades-long trade embargo remains firmly in place.

Ecured claims that the US has always wanted to take over the Caribbean
island. The entry says US leaders have looked upon Cuba "like those who
admire a beautiful fruit that will end up falling in their hands".

Fidel Castro, who was succeeded as Cuban president by his brother Raul
in 2008, "writes and participates in the struggle of ideas at a global
level" and "influences important and strategic decisions of the Revolution".

Raul Castro is meanwhile described as a "revolutionary combatant,
political leader, statesman and military chief".


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