human rights trampling of the Castro brothers, not too likely!
Will Obama and Google open Internet access to average Cubans?
By Judi McLeod Tuesday, February 22, 2011
imageCuban folk star Silvio Rodriguez, who has urged US President Barack
Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt to provide free Internet to developing
countries, may have unwittingly exposed the hard truth about the lack of
generosity behind providing free Internet to the average people of
developing countries like Cuba.
Internet access to the Cuban intelligentsia has been long longstanding.
While the Cuban left was hooked up to the Internet decades ago, the
masses are still out in the cold.
"It's a simple proposal the world is very unequal, and a lot of pain
could be avoided with action that could turn into a worldwide
qualitative step forward," Rodriguez said in a blog post at
segundacita.blogspot.com." (Breitbart.com, Feb. 21, 2011).
In the computer connectivity world, some animals are more equal than others.
It was way back in 1991 when Teresa Heinz-Kerry, using a Canadian
connection, funded by her Tides Foundation, first linked Communist Cuba
up to the World Internet.
"The Toronto-based Web/Nirv, Canadian affiliate of the Institute for
Global Communications (IGC) and its offshoot the Association for
Progressive Communications (APC), used a 64 KBPS undersea cable IP link
from Havana to Sprint in the United States, linking Cubans to the
Information Highway." (Canada Free Press Tessie's Cuba Libre?, July, 2004).
To the current day, IGC and APC are one of the Tides Foundation's
largest ongoing projects.
At last count, IGC, a massive, 24-hour, transnational computer
communications network, was servicing 17 United Nations offices, 40,000
activists—some of the radical stripe—and a legion of non-governmental
organizations in more than 133 countries.
Activists from the other side, of which there must be some, and average
Cuban households still offline, could have been brought onto the
Information Highway decades ago.
Hooking up the left wing world to the Internet didn't happen by default.
In the spring of 1990, the Tides Foundation funded APC with the
specific goal "to coordinate the operation and developing of an emerging
Cuba's 1991 connection to the Internet was initiated by APC affiliate
Canadian NGO Web Networks, forerunner to Web/Nirv. "We created an
information tunnel through the American blockade," explained Mark
Surman, former technical director of Web Networks. "Our computers would
make a long distance call to the computers of the Cuban Centre of
Automated Exchange (CENIAI), about three times a day to pick up and
deliver mail. This is called a store-and-forward system. Then this
traffic was gatewayed to the rest of the Internet."
Cuba always got its electronic mail from its USSR masters since 1981.
In 1989, when the situation with the Soviet Union was disintegrating,
Cuba made its first email contact with Peacenet in Canada.
By 1990, the United Nations, through its Development Program (UNDP),
began fomenting connectivity throughout the third world, and funded the
start-up costs for various networks like CENIAI, and the medical network
The Tides Foundation, the UN and their NGOs could have hooked up the
little people of Cuba to the Internet any time they wanted.
The latest outreach by Cuba is purportedly its new undersea fiber optic
cable connecting it to socialist ally Venezuela, ostensibly a blow to
the decades-old US embargo.
"Despite the revamped access, authorities say Internet use will be
limited to "social" purposes and that priority would be given to a
limited set of users in universities and other educational
So will President Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt be providing
free internet to developing countries any time soon?
With average Cubans then being able to flag the world about the ongoing
human rights trampling of the Castro brothers, not too likely!"