The state of the Internet in Cuba, January 2011

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19 Business News Americas, Undersea fiber optic cable due to be operational in 2010 - Cuba, Venezuela, June 10 2008,

20 BBC News, Venezuela-Cuba undersea cable link work starts, January 22, 2011,

21 José Antonio Torres, El Cable Submarino Desafío en favor de la integración, Granma, November 3, 2010,



24 Wiltel applied for a license to build a cable from Florida to Cuba in the mid 1990s, but was unsuccessful, Press, L., "Cuban Computer Networks and their Determinants," DRR-1814-OSD (49 pages), RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, February, 1998.

25 Cuba Study Group, Empowering the Cuban People through Technology: Recommendations for Private and Public Sector Leaders, July 2010,

26 Press, L., We Shape our Tools and they Shape Us (A Cuban Example), OnTheInternet, Vol. 4, No. 2, March/April, 1998, pp. 38-39,

27 Press, L., "Will Commercial Networks Prevail in Developing Nations?," OnTheInternet, March/April, 1997, pp 40-41,

28 Each test was 25 pings from a residential cable connection in Los Angeles. We did similar tests from a somewhat slower connection in Costa Rica, and observed considerably longer ping times and significantly more jitter.

29 See, for example,

30 World Bank database, queried January 2, 2011.

31 Huawei is among the top three mobile infrastructure equipment providers and is challenging Cisco and Juniper in the cabled market, see, for example, and

32 U. S. Interests Section, Havana, Memo 10HAVANA84, created 2010-02-09, released 2010-12-16,

33 That has been the case in informatics and communications, as we will see below.

34 Around the same time, the Chinese evaluated the same policy and opted for control of the Internet combined with rapid adoption. One wonders what would have happened if Cuba had followed the Chinese example.


36 International Telecommunication Union, updated 21 October 2010, Figures for 2010 are estimates.

37 The value of the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) is currently pegged at US$1.08.


39 World Bank database, queried January 13, 2011.


41 Telecom Italia, in GlobalComm Database, TeleGeography,




45 U. S. Interests Section, Havana, Memo 10HAVANA84, created 2010-02-09, released 2010-12-16,

46 Michel, Serge and Beuret, Michel, China Safari, Nation Books, New York, 2009.

47 Press, L. and Snyder, J., "A Look at Cuban Networks," Matrix News, 2(6), Matrix Information and Directory Services, Austin, June, 1992,

48 Press, L. Cuban Telecommunications, Computer Networking, and U. S. Policy Implications, DRU-1330-1-OSD, Rand, Santa Monica, CA, July, 1996.


50 MIC Web site,, queried December 2010.

51 It is conceivable that this is intentional in an effort to restrict all WiFi radios to channel 11 and above, but it is much more likely a careless error.

52 Azel, José, Is Cuba Moving Toward Capitalism?, Focus on Cuba, September 27, 2010,


54 Hughes, John, What are 30,000 Cuban advisers doing in Venezuela?, Christian Science Monitor, March, 2010,

55 Statement by Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, Minister of Informatics and Communications at the opening of the 12th Editions of the Information Technology Convention and Fair 2007,

56 Valdés is often characterized as highly conservative, but objective assessments are not available. For a typical, critical assessment of his career, see Amuchastegui, Domingo, Ramiro Valdés Menendez and his role in Raul's regime, The Free Library, September, 2008,'s+regime.-a0184699618.

57 This statement is reminiscent of Jaron Lanier’s criticism of an Internet that is financed by advertising and serves commercial interests, Lanier, Jaron, You are not a Gadget, or FCC Chairman Newton Minnows call for television, which he characterized as a “vast wasteland,” to serve the public interest.

58 The change was announced January 7, 2010,

59 Press, Larry, A Computer Network for Democracy and Development, archive of communication during the Soviet coup attempt, State University of New York, August 26, 1991,

60 Press, Larry, Relcom, an Approriate Technology Network, Proceedings of INET '92, International Networking Conference, Kobe, Japan, June, 1992, Internet Society, Reston, VA. Reprinted in The Proceedings of the Telecommunications Conference, Moscow, Russia, June, 1992,

61 Press, Larry, Wide Area Collaboration, Communications of the ACM CACM Homepage archive Volume 34 Issue 12, Dec. 1991,

62 Press, Larry, Cuban Telecommunications, Computer Networking and U. S. Policy Implications, DRU-1330-1-OSD, Santa Monica, CA: Rand, July 1996,

63 There are signs that Fidel Castro was open to both sides of the debate. He encouraged the establishment the Youth Computer Clubs and saw to it that they were well funded by Cuban standards. Oscar Visiedo, an early leader in Cuban networking, recalls that when he showed Fidel some rudimentary internet technology, he recognized the fact that if this was not something that Cuba developed (in whatever controlled fashion), Cuba would be left decades behind the rest of the world. In spite of this awareness, Castro allowed the hard liners and bureaucratic infighters to control the Internet. Need to confirm with Oscar xxx.

64 Clinton, Hillary Rodham, Remarks on Internet Freedom, The Newseum, Washington, DC, January 21, 2010,

65 Chassay, Clancy, Resistance is our strategy (video), The Guardian, October 2007,

66 Shane, scott and Lehren, Andrew, Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels, New York Times, November 28, 2010,

67 See, for example, Translating Cuba,

68 Huffington, Arianna, Facebook, Twitter and the Search for Peace in the Middle East, Huffington Post, November 24, 2010,

69 Stone, Biz, Twitter and Activism, Atlantic Monthly, October 19 2010,

70 Shirky, Clay, How Social Media Can Make History, Ted Talk, Ted@State, Washington DC, June 2009,

71 Gladwell, Malcolm, Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted, New Yorker, October 4, 2010,

72 Esfandiari, Golanaz, The Twitter Devolution, June 7, 2010,

73 Halper, Stefan, “The Beijing Consensus: How China’s Authoritarian Model Will Dominate the Twenty-first Century,” Basic Books, 2010.

74 Fallows, James, The Connection Has Been Reset, The Atlantic, March 2008,

75 Guo, Liang, Surveying Internet Usage and its Impact in Seven Chinese Cities, Center for Social Development Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, November, 2007,


77 ANUARIO ESTADÍSTICO DE CUBA 2009, Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas, 2010,

78 There are also 289 public access computers in 54 post offices, but, unlike the YCCs, the post offices charge for access.


80 Consider, for example, the relatively extensive class offerings at the Villa Clara YCC,

81 Frydenberg and Press (2010). From Computer Literacy to Web 2.0 Literacy: Teaching and Learning Information Technology Concepts Using Web 2.0 Tools. Information Systems Education Journal, 8 (10). ISSN: 1545-679X,




85 However, only 4% of Cuban university graduates in 2008 had studied engineering (2%) or science (2%), World Bank education database, queried January 6, 2011.

86 ANUARIO ESTADÍSTICO DE CUBA 2009, Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas, 2010.



89 The Web site lists course names and I have somewhat arbitrarily combined them into the categories shown here.



92 Dirección de Turismo, Comercio y Servicios de Cuba, Tecnologias de la Información y las Communicaciones Uso y Acceso en Cuba, Septiembre 2010,

93 ANUARIO ESTADÍSTICO DE CUBA 2009, Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas, 2010,

94 World Bank database, queried January 1, 2011.

95 See the egov4development Web site for e-government techniques, applications and case studies,




99 The decline in The decline in early 2010 is due to a change in counting hosts at Chinese blogging site


101 Press, Larry, We Shape our Tools and they Shape Us, The Cuban Example, OnTheInternet, Vol. 4, No. 2, March/April, 1998, pp. 36-39,

102This data was downloaded from the World Bank indicators database on January 1, 2011. Most of the data is from 2008 or 2009 with a few values from 2007.

103 Tecnologias de la informacion y las comunicaciones (TIC) use y acceso en Cuba, National Statistics Office, December 2007

104 CENIAI director Jesus Martinez proudly announced the establishment of the IP link to his colleagues in the Latin American and Caribbean Networking Forum in an email found at:

Martinez and his counterparts in the Forum met regularly and formed an enthusiastic, cross national “Internet culture.” The tone of Martinez’ announcement accurately reflects the early Internet culture throughout the world.


106 This data was taken from the World Bank online database, queried January 1 2011. The table includes upper-middle income Latin American and Caribbean nations that reported values for the series between 2002 and 2008. The latest available data were used. Enrollment rates are a percent of the 18-22 year old population.

107 Of course there is a risk that people are being educated for non-existent jobs. This is particularly likely in a nation with a command economy.

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