U.S. blockade affects Internet use

Campaign News | Tuesday, 13 February 2007

It not only prevents Cuba’s connection to international optic fiber cables and financial transactions on the island, but also the downloading of free software and information on the web

BY LILLIAM RIERA-Granma International staff writer-

THE U.S. blockade extends over Cuba’s use of the Internet, according to Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés, minister of informatics and communications (MIC), on opening the 12th International Convention and Exhibition Informatics 2007.

The persecution of Cuban commercial, economic and financial activities in the network of networks is part of the U.S. policy of aborting such exchanges via pressure and threats on governments all over the world, he noted.

Valdés emphasized that those conditions imposed by the blockade, among many other limitations, prevent us from connecting to the Internet via international optic fiber cables that pass very close to the Cuban coasts, thus forcing the nation to use a satellite channel.

He added that it not only prohibits the acquisition of equipment and informatics programs from U.S. companies, but also prevents U.S. institutions and citizens utilizing the web for electronic transactions with Cuban agencies, while blocking the downloading of software and information - including free items - if the IP address is identified as Cuban.

Nevertheless, he highlighted that the island has trained 15,000 students in computer science in higher education and 38,000 at technical level.

Moreover Cuba has promoted 600-plus Youth Computer Clubs, institutions to facilitate the mass use of those technologies.

The island is also developing telematic networks in various sectors of national life, such as public health, culture, science and technology and others.

“It is essential to find strategic alliances to stand up to hegemonic attempts in this new battlefield and that will make it possible to impose a new seal on the sovereignty of our peoples,” he affirmed.

In fact, as part of a series of 16 new cooperation agreements signed by the governments of Cuban and Venezuela on January 24, a submarine communications cable between the two countries, which will also offer access to others in the region, is to be installed.


On the other hand, Ramiro Valdés warned of U.S. intelligence agencies’ use of information technology at global level.

The MIC minister explained that those agencies are developing means and programs to intercept communications, access to systems and data bases of all nations, at the request of the U.S. government and with the assignation of very large funds.

He exposed the secret relationship between Google, the well-known and popular Internet search engine, and the U.S. intelligence community, to which it facilitates information on users, personal data, key words and behavior patterns.

Valdés similarly recalled Microsoft’s acknowledgement of its exchange and collaboration with those agencies, a highly relevant point given that 90% of the world’s computers use that corporation’s operational systems.

Under the Patriot Act, adopted in the United States in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Washington is sheltering itself via a supposed anti-terrorist crusade, which is a smokescreen for its real hegemonic interests, he observed.

Under the theme Information Technology and its Contribution to a Better world, Informatics 2007 is in session with the attendance of 1,600-plus delegates from some 60 countries.


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