Cuban Communist Party Tells Google No Thanks on Free WiFi

By Fernando Ravsberg

Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.
Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.

HAVANA TIMES — The second secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 85, responded with a thanks but no thanks to Google’s recent offer to install WiFi antennas throughout Cuba for free.

“Everyone knows why there isn’t more Internet access in Cuba, because it is costly. There are some who want to give it to us for free, but they don’t do it so that the Cuban people can communicate, Instead their objective is to penetrate us and do ideological work to achieve a new conquest. We must have Internet, but in our way, knowing that the imperialists intend to use it as a way to destroy the Revolution,” dijo en una entrevista extensiva con Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

They say that when the donation is too large even the poor become suspicious.



132 thoughts on “Cuban Communist Party Tells Google No Thanks on Free WiFi

  • Free to talk is something I’ve often witnessed and experienced in Cuba. Staying in a rented, 2nd story apt. only 1.5 blocks from the U. stairs in Downtown Havana, I could hear the old lady upstairs screaming viva-voce from her balcony as she drew water from a hose ingeniously reeled to her from the roof across the narrow street: “This is what we get after 38 years of Socialism, S–T!”. In upper Víbora, I was in a heated, 3 hour “discussion”, Cuban-loud like, on the outside porch of a house in the middle of an urban neighborhood with the daughters and sons in law of my hosts who were firmly with the Revolution and who all lived together harmoniously. Towards the end of the exchange I found out that on the the top of the raise just besides and above us, maybe 20-30 meters (22-33 yards) away and clearly within hearing range, there was a radar station and shore defense, battery detachment with barracks. So I asked how come the G2 bus wasn’t there already to arrest us? We had been very loud for long time…the discussion wound down and petered out, they said stuff like “They (G2) are just gathering stuff against us” and “they are just waiting to see if you do something” (This is true everywhere). Again in La Bodeguita del Medio, same thing, same answer to the obvious question: Why are we not already in Jail? “They (G2) don’t bust you for talking but if you do something”. Well, isn’t just the same as here or anyplace on Earth? I had open, public discussions about the good and the bad of the Revolution many places in Cuba from everyday type people: workers, students, housewives, artists and crafters, old folks and just neighbors. CDR’s are no different in many ways from “Neighborhood Watch” in Canada and the USA, specially in the poor neighborhoods, ghettos and barrios where crime is rampant.

  • No, they were ordered by the Cuban Government to turn over to the USA Feds all the evidence they had gathered about Cuban-American terrorism against Cuba being planned, organized, financed and conducted from the USA, contrary to all the international treaties the USA had signed against it. The evidence was taken and the bearers of the evidence, the Cuban 5, were then arrested, tried and convicted of spying even tough they only targeted the anti-Castro, Cuban-American organizations in the USA.

  • First, thank you for bringing light into this discussion; I very much appreciate your input.
    No, you don’t worry, you just become aware of “that stuff” and don’t put into your computer or smart phone anything you want to keep private; which is not to say illegal. I am connected and use the technology applications I need, but I do not do E-banking and only use one credit card (low %) for all of my biz expenses (Airmiles). My biz books are on paper and I do the accounting; it’s very simple that way. My personal purchases are cash and at this moment, I have no prob being located so cell-phone OK, but I have no need for a smart-phone. I’m really sorry I missed all the excitement 4 days ago but I was on the job.

  • What is “Neighborhood Watch”, Carlyle? Oh my god, it’s everywhere!

  • The Communist horse is long dead but it still has very stubborn riders.

    What Raúl doesn’t want is Google not paying ECTESA (and he) unlike what the Italian Telecom or the French Alcatel had to pay when trying to establish whatever Internet service was available in Cuba in earlier times.

    So the Internet is a service everyone should pay for? That sounds horribly Capitalistic to me… Maybe free internet via Google is too Communist for Raúl, vis à vis the “new image” he may like to present to his beloved Mr. Obama.

    You don’t want the U.S to control Cuban Internet (if ever there was one), but you gladly submit to have every page you enter -or are blocked from- duly reported to the Castro farm, not to mention all your e-mail messages. Finally, you are delighted in that Papá Fidel and Tío Raúl will be there to block your access to whatever sites they feel will put naughty ideas in your impressionable little mind. How saintly! And how appropriate, now that we -and the Pope- know how devotedly Raúl gives himself to prayer…

  • cubasitours no seas tan comunista que nadie te cree esas mentiras, cuba es una mierda y el internet es peor. pq no dices que 4.50 CUC son casi un cuarto del salario de un profesional… o sera que eres jinetera y te ganas con el sudor de tu c.. lo que otros pasan años estudiando

  • The problem John is that no one accepts your definition.

  • Cute, but that wasn’t the question I posed. You of course know the answer.

    At the risk of repeating myself……despite any “monitoring” thaf may or may not be taking place, In the USA, I am free to voice my opinions and/or express my discontent with my government and freely associate with anyone I wish without fear of having someone knock on my door in the middle of the night. You, Monsseigneur, a confessed draft dodger, who has admitted to participating in overseas shenanigan apparently have no fear that the Canadian, or US government will pull you out if your bed in the middle of the night. .. That my dear sir is a real risk in Cuba.

  • Obviously you still don’t get it. Thank goodness you don’t have to. The internet, like the printing press, the steam engine and the airplane is an innovation that has changed the course of human kind.

  • I guess that as a Cuban, Gomezz is well aware of the CDR, the purpose of which is to spy on the citizens and report upon who individuals are meeting with and what their activities are. This commenced in 1961, apart from the telephone, long before technology entered the spying field.

  • USA security agencies apart from the CIA are an area where my knowledge is limited. CSIS in Canada is another matter and I have a friend who is a Privy Councillor. As I have previously disclosed, my late father was Head of SIS in Austria. Good spies keep their mouths shut and good spying agencies minimise the number of people engaged.
    The Cuban five made a serious mistake – they were caught!

  • I am encouraged by your response, but am concerned that you are careful not to reveal to the regime that you are paying more than their rates of remuneration. They have a nasty habit of having closed trials and jailing entrepreneurs for paying more than there rates, describing it as “corruption” Also, do take care when giving Christmas presents to staff or business associates – that too has been described as “corruption”. Usually businesses owned by foreigners have to pay the regime at a rate se by the regime and the regime pays the employees at Cuban rates.
    But it is nice to know that some Cubans are getting paid properly not the usual $20 -$30 per month. Good!

  • Your envy of my high-school understanding of history is a great compliment which I accept. It has been bolstered by two of my children majoring in history at university (one specializing in South America and the other with an Honours Master’s degree0. One of my sons-in-law also majored in history.
    My friends and relatives in Cuba – with few exceptions, would love to have capitalism in Cuba, would love to be free to make their own decisions in life and to be able to progress according to their abilities.
    But in accord with the dictatorship that controls their lives, they have to accept what the regime determines for them.
    I have to ask out of idle curiosity whether you studied history at university or like myself chose other subjects?

  • CubaSiTours are you aware of any instance of a US President opposing the Internet? Yes or No?
    However I am very interested in your statement:
    “they just invade countries, kill innocent people, start civil wars, take what they want & leave their messes behind.”
    To me that seems to be a valid description of the policies and actions of the Castro family regime and the Communist Party of Cuba during the Presidency of one Fidel Castro Ruz and his little brother Raul was Head of the military at time.
    The actions of the regime in endeavoring to foment civil war (revolution) in other countries is a matter of record. Its involvement in the Yum Kippur War – which fortunately failed, their financial support of Dr, Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Africa and in Bolivia in endeavoring to foment civil war is a matter of record.
    In my view the US is far from perfect, but despite its evident imperfections gives far greater freedom to its peoples than the Castro family regime permits in Cuba.

    government, especially an authoritarian one
    2 a system or planned way of doing things, especially one imposed from above
    Oxford English Dictionary
    1 a person, typically a woman employed to look after a child in its own home.
    a person or institution regarded as interfering and overprotective: (as modifier) a precarious path between freedom and the nanny state.
    Oxford English Dictionary
    Obviously Mr. Goodrich you are a listener to and/or viewer of Fox News. But to suggest that they invented the terminology you decry is balderdash – as evidenced by its presence in the Oxford English Dictionary.
    If you care to read the above extracts from the Oxford English Dictionary you will not only understand the meanings of the words concerned, but agree that Informed Consents use of them was proper.

  • So now Mr. Goodrich you are decrying the KGB as “rank amateurs”. I suppose you are including Colonel Putin in that. He who applied for further promotion but was rejected by the KGB which gave as the reason, that “He has a lowered sense of danger.”
    You make the mistake of associating expenditure with efficiency. Yes, the CIA spends more money than any other security service. But the Snowden affair demonstrated rank incompetence.
    Also despite your view that you Americans are suppressed, the CIA has (sadly) failed to shut you up. The KGB would have succeeded!

  • Just remember CubaSiTours that the US didn’t invent the Internet or the computer.

  • A statement made without any basis. Certainly Raul Castro indicated at the last Congress that he still consults with El Commandante – perhaps you should correct him.

  • I make no assumptions as to your sources, they are the same three or four books you quote ad nauseam. So I take you at your word. So don’t pretend to know what I watch. I am a registered democrats and most dsfinetly do not watch Fox News, a lowbrow pundit site.
    My comments in the Castros are straight from my observations. A government which repeatedly says that it’s people aren’t ready for this or that and that it’s the governments position to decide what’s in the populations best interest is indeed a “nanny state”. ….it’s the idea of Che’s new man, a docile follower that works for the collective and knows how to fall in line, a-la DPKR.

  • Why should I?

  • Gee, I was going on line to MSN, my home page, from Banes, P. del Río, La Habana, Batabanó, Matanzas, Caibarién, Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Ciego, Camagüey, Las Tunas, etc…to Guantánamo; well even you get the picture, and from their news services I accessed the BBC, NY Times, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Le Monde, etc…
    Where is the demand in Cuba for foreign, newsprint?
    Also: Have you ever visited the Christian Science Monitor Reading Room in Havana? It’s open to the public.
    So because is ubiquitous is fine? Rape is ubiquitous…

    Also, read the Medium is the Message and The Medium is the Massage to learn a little bit about advertising and then we can talk at the same level.

  • Look who is talking here about old farts but the King himself! I’m obviously using the Internet beneficially to counter your anti-Cuba propaganda. It got my salsas to Vaasa, Finland, I run a biz zo I use it there too, but I do not derive my social life from it nor have become personally dependent on being in constant and instant E-contact with people that are not there for company.

    Automobiles and telephones facilitated communication and travel without a doubt, and had a marked cultural effect on the USA/Canada as well, which was largely beneficial although at the cost of the perennial carnage on the highways and the degradation of the environment. The loss of privacy and potential for secret monitoring resulting from the smart-phone are only more sophisticated than the old “phone taps” and “house bugs” of yore. The E-phone also acts as a constant locater and a way to hack into one’s main computer and access all, or plant any files but in the Ye Olde days, they just “tailed” you and searched/planted your house and premises with or without a warrant. Nothing has changed except now is more efficient and one must be more aware.
    The point though is that neither you, Moses, nor anyone else in the USA nor we in Canada had a vote on whether we wanted Internet or WiFi either. The governments allowed its development, put in its controls, set out the rules and turned it loose. So what are you mumbling about now, Moses?

  • Mr. Goodrich; Not a racist statement anymore than saying the blacks were slaves and did the majority of the physical work!
    If you knew about Cuba – or even if you looked up its history on the Internet, you would know that the Spanish in Cuba even allocated land to those who bought slaves – because they were required to do the work! The desire to have others to do the physical work, led to the importation of Chinese coolies following the ending of slavery (last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so) in 1886 and this practice continued well into the 20th century. Galicians were encouraged to move from Spain, following concerns about the growing percentage of blacks in the population. The Castro brothers grandfather was a Galician immigrant.

  • Not where we live – there may be in Havana.

  • One of the difficulties as you are probably aware, is that getting a landline depends on whether he CDR on your block is allocated one and if so, whether your home is then allocated the ‘phone.
    But, I have a sister-in-law with a landline and computer – and I exchange e-mails with my wife using that connection. But there is no WiFi connection.
    There is no doubt that the regime is opposed to general access by the population to the Internet and Ventura’s latest rejection of free Google is indicative of that policy.
    If one doesn’t live in Havana where as you say, foreign companies, embassies and some Cuban companies along with some hotels have Internet. in the case of the latter at a cost of $7 – 8 per hour, then there is no way of getting connection.

  • Charges made by the Internet supplier, Carlyle; I always thought gambling for money was stupid and my “porn” is and has always been an exclusively live affair. That’s precisely why I detest all the commercialism, the scams, the spying, the sordid reduction of human sex and interaction which are the main reasons for and the ultimate consequence of the Internet on the general public here and in the USA, besides impoverishment through consumerism and gambling. It’s easier to spend the money you don’t have and you don’t even need to come out of your house!
    No one in Cuba is demanding to have WiFi except those who needed for their work, and they are getting it as CubaSí and I have already revealed to counter your ridiculous claims. In every other block of Havana and to a lesser frequency in the major cities and towns, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, someone there has complete access to Internet services as I witnessed and used many times. They charge Cuban prices much below ETCSA rates and do deals and trades with neighbors and friends for computer time on line. Cubans in Cuba are in E-contact with their relatives in the USA and other countries around the world, so why WiFi, Carlyle? Did you ever get to vote on whether or not you wanted WiFi in Canada?

  • Puns are considered the lowest form of humor and not sarcasm as you wrote.
    You don’t get very much correct in your posts.

  • Dan, Dan, Dan,
    You make the mistake of thinking that MacDuff , Moses et al are amenable to historical fact .
    A factual knowledge of U.S. foreign policy is something they must necessarily avoid to maintain their otherwise untenable positions. They are consistent in their lies of omission and avoidance of the reasons behind U.S. foreign policy interventions such as are in place against Cuba.
    For Carlyle,
    Even paranoids have real enemies and neither Fidel’s nor now Raul’s fear of the GOUSA are based on anything other than experience and the 100 year old USG record of invasions and interventions .

  • Reread my comment. I said “Castros” as in the whole putrid regime that has controlled and destroyed Cuba for the last 56 years.

  • The Cuban people elect their government to make these decisions for them just as citizens in the U.S. elect representatives to make day-to-day national decisions for the people in the U.S.
    We , in the U.S. do not even get to vote on the biggest issue of all these days which is going to war.
    Both governments rule from the top ONCE ELECTED .
    The people in the U.S. have little to no control over decisions made by their politicians once they elect them except to wait until that reps term is up and vote in someone from the other side who will do exactly the same thing.
    and so on and so on and so on.
    The answer for both countries is democratic economic and political systems
    IMO , Cuba having been preaching socialist ideals for 50 years has a better chance for a democratic society once the U.S. stops trying to crush the revolution .
    The USA will be the last country on the planet to take up democratic systems simply because the money and power at the (totalitarian) top will not permit a democratic economic system .
    Indeed, the past 100 years of U.S. foreign policy has been mainly one of fighting democratic institutions in countries around the globe ( except the two world wars) and the very wealthy now own the government and the media and they don’t like sharing .
    As for Cuban democracy, once U.S. aggression has stopped affecting the island’s economy, we shall see if the promise of socialism (democracy) is fulfilled by the self-professed communists or socialists heading the Cuban systems.
    Everything, every thought on the possibilities at this point is guesswork.
    We shall only see what unfolds in a few years.

  • Who knows what the US ‘knows’ about the internet activity of Americans? Certainly not you and not me. What matters is what they do with what they know. There are no sites being blocked by the government. There are no state security agents knocking on our doors for expressing our opinions. Cubans, North Koreans, Chinese, Russians and others don’t enjoy our freedoms despite the monitoring prowess of the US government.

  • Cuba is already capitalist.
    It has a STATE capitalist structure.
    In free-enterprise (US) capitalism there are private owners and boards of directors who make all the (totalitarian, top-down ) decisions regarding the confiscation and distribution of the profits produced by workers.
    In state (Cuban) capitalism those owners and boards of directors are replaced by government officials.
    Otherwise there is no difference to the workers .
    Both are capitalist systems, meaning that they are not run democratically i.e. one person, one vote, majority rule from the bottom .
    Absent a bottom-up worker led society and workplace, all you are doing is trading one set of totalitarian bosses for another.
    Capitalism is by DEFINITION, totalitarian
    Socialism, ACCURATELY and scholastically defined is democratically run by the workers from the bottom .
    I don’t care about the old Soviet STATE CAPITALISM or the old Chinese state capitalism or the present Cuban state capitalism .
    What I care about is a democratic society so I don’t care what you call a democratic workplace and if you only care to see socialism ( or communism) as what existed in the countries led by parties calling themselves communist, that’s fine with me .
    But if you choose to define socialism and communism as what existed in the Soviet Union etc then what would any of you choose to call a democratically run, from the bottom, worker-led economic system.
    I’d like to establish an agreed-upon glossary of terms defining the economic systems over which we debate so often so as to be able to know the difference between democratic and totalitarian systems and THEN at that point of agreement sensibly discuss/debate the relative merits of each system.
    That now proposed I suspect that the crypto-totalitarians among us would rather not get into discussing the totalitarian centers of their belief sets and that defining now-muddled terms would not be in their interests .
    Any support for doing this ?

  • You need to supply evidence of your claim that many more Cuban spies have been caught .
    Any controversial claim made without evidence can and should be discarded without evidence
    I suspect it is a wishful fiction on your part.
    If any others had been caught, the GOUSA and the parroting corporate U.S. media would have been all over such stories like white on rice, given the animosity borne for Cuba by the GOUSA.
    You need to deal with facts and not rumors and/or wishful thinking.

  • Can you supply a source for the information in your post ?
    It is something that you cannot simply make a claim about given the traditionally great number of inaccuracies coming from the counter-revolutionary right .
    Private ownership runs counter to socialist principles and this would be something extremely abhorrent to us communists/anarchists/socialists.
    We’d like some detailed evidence please.

  • Moses is an unabashed supporter of the U.S. attempt to starve the Cuban people into submission via intensifying the embargo.
    Given your high-school understanding of history I can understand why you would wish to support such a person and such a desire to inflict suffering on one’s own friends and relatives just to bring back capitalism to Cuba.

  • “Castro regime”
    “Nanny state”
    Hmm……… I smell Fox News ( far right/ idiotic) terminology .
    Your sources are showing.

  • The 17 or so U.S. government intelligence services take in EVERYTHING that EVERYONE does on their electronic communications equipment .
    The Stalinist Soviets were rank amateurs when it comes to monitoring ( spying on) and controlling a population .
    The U.S. Empire spends in excess of a trillion dollars on “defense” and it knows that its own population is potentially dangerous as is any suppressed population in a totalitarian national security state.

  • “The majority of the whites in Cuba just didn’t like physical work”
    A racist statement and a gross and inaccurate generalization.

  • Fidel has not participated in government decision making since he retired years ago.
    Your wishful claim that he still runs the country makes you look foolish .

  • ….and your comment has to do with internet concpectivity how exactly?

  • Absolutely correct but think about the recent athletes, past week, who just defected overseas. I give the people in Cuba a heads up for witnessing for themselves whether or not their system is the best and will move them forward in the real world. We in the US and Ireland have numerous problems so I’m not stating that the answer is clear cut but certainly a tad better than what I see when the stars of Cuba are defecting.

  • First off, regarding WIFI opening up, the cost for average Cuban is extremely high so it’s the elite only who have access. Second of all, you seem to indicate that the internet is US related to controlling the people so i have this question. Was the internet in Ireland US controlled when the social media bloggers got enough voters to approve legal gay marriage in said country? It simply gives people like you and I the venue to read all sorts of opinions. I’m sure you’re still using dial up and haven’t a clue.

  • Its the “Miami Crybabies” who’s hundreds of millions of dollars (some estimates have it in the billions) that keep the island afloat. We are also the ones who have safeguard much of Cuban culture and cuisine which has been lost on the island. …..Don’t piss us off!

  • As you are new here, I’ll let you in on something. I am Cuban, was born and lived in Cuba, and return to Cuba on occasion to visit family. In fact I’ll be there again this coming October or November, not sure yet. Its because I’m Cuban that I care so passionately about Cuba and want the best for the Cuban people. And because these pages are dedicated to all things Cuba, I feel comfortable commenting about it here.

  • I’m not sure where your rambling comments were going but several facts remain.
    – Cubans, given the choice want to be able to access the Internet. There are few young people I know who do not. They don’t want to have to go to an expensive “salon”, register, and spend a small fortune for limited access. It shouldn’t be up to the octogenarian elite to decide this for the Cuban people. Their only concern is staying in power. But yes, there are currently many more important things Cuba needs to address, infrastructure for one, which crumbling state is an indictment of the Castro regime. But Cuba doesn’t have to make a choice between one of the other, this isn’t a zero sum game. Cubans need access to information, to the outside world. They don’t need you or the nanny state to tell them when they are ready for it. My god woman , Haiti has more internet penetration than Cuba!!

  • Well if you worry about that stuff everyday then you have something to hide & or you are paranoid so just dont be connected to any technology anywhere & no worries who knows what about you!

  • I can say the very same about the Miami cry babies, the old goats in Washington & Wall Street who have no idea about the real world!

  • Misinformed consent you know nothing about Cuba the good or bad by your comments & I am sure do not live there as I do! Clean up the mess in your own backyard before you point fingers at Cuba!

  • No they just invade countries, kill innocent people, start civil wars, take what they want & leave their messes behind (usually for Canada to clean up) do you not read history books or watch the news in the past 40 years… oh but then again I forgot America is perfect & their Presidents are too, a bunch of controlled puppets now & then who think they control the world! Sadly broke now…. due to enlarged egos!

  • You are sadly > misinformed consent > in this 21st century… I know things about Cuba, the USA, the world, the internet you may never know or understand & at times I wish I never knew either…. your comments are very primitive & naive in regards to world politics, humanity & the giant chess board we all live on… I have been on the internet since the early 90’s when no one had computers in their homes or offices… my dad had a computer in our house since the 80’s I am not old… so no need for lectures about internet access in the world. The internet is used for good & bad we all know that! Cuba is progressing with regards to internet but not for anyone to tell them when & where, especially Americans who think they can just come in now I do as they like? I was one of the first to use yahoo at the Hotel Santa Isabel back in May 2002 when they installed the first internet cafe for Jimmy Carter & his entourage to use when he visited Havana that year & after that it was gradually installed in hotel lobbies & Etecsa office on Calle Obispo… I was one of the first to use with my laptop back in 2008 on the wifi at Melia Cohiba which I could get the signal in my dining room table on Paseo sometimes? Alot of Cubans have had email & internet at work for 8 years now or more I know many who do have it with better access than me & I need it for tourism work & yes it is a challenge but keeps improving. The Canadians have been assisting Cuba with email & internet access since 2002 & yahoo was the first program used widely & microsoft has always been there also. China had restricted usage also & many countries still do too now, it is too expensive for most people to use it daily or even have computers (smartphones are a benefit now) in their homes in many countries (this is why Bill Gates even gives computers free to poor Americans) in this 21st century wifi is not that important … but gradually yes it is changing, but poverty won’t be eradicated either anytime soon….so many will still be left behind…. you can’t eat & drink a computer or live in it, I think there are more important priorities in this world still than free wifi in this still underdeveloped 21st century! Just because someone offers you something free doesn’t mean you are stupid for not taking it, maybe you have pride, maybe you lack trust but you are not condemned for it, Cuba will remain it’s own Republic in it’s own way, like it or not for us to judge their decisions. American gov’t makes many wrong decisions about many things all the time, far from a perfect country stop critisizing Cuba’s ways because they are not American ways!

  • Thank goodness it will not be up to you to decide what technology Cubans should have access to. Obviously you don’t care for progress. I am sure there were those who felt as you do about the telephone or the automobile in their early days. Old farts should never have a say regarding what is good for society.

  • If by control, you mean to say, invent, develop, expand and to a certain extent, regulate, then yes. Have you any idea how China controls the internet in their country? Do you know how the Russian Internet is regulated. Anyone with a ( Web or email address is certain that their browser is monitored and their emails screened. Cubans would be fortunate to be “controlled” by the US, if that really was the choice when one considers their current options.

  • With most Cubans not having a land line, dial up is, at the very least, a long way away. Besides, it’s currently banned. It’s a shame that even Haiti has greater access to the internet than Cuba

  • The use of the Internet offers a variety of benefits to everyone who is willing to use it. The enormous amount of information available and the many uses one can have through the internet have made it the most valuable tool in various settings of a person’s life. The Internet has an enormous amount of publications added on it every day and it’s evolving as the most powerful source of information. Also, use of the Internet has made jobs easier and oversimplified tasks that would take an enormous amount of time before. Moreover, the Internet has become a great tool for avoiding the hassles of the bank, offering the chance to make the transactions quickly and safely. It also offers a powerful source for shopping and the easiness of having your products delivered straight to your house, should you decide you do not want to go out. Furthermore, the widespread use of the Internet has opened new areas of jobs in all countries and expanded the availabilities of working from home. Last, the Internet is one of the most valuable tools in educations since it provides an enormous amount of information and is the greatest source of reference for educators and students. The electronic libraries are of utmost importance for University students looking for scientific information for their courses. Another major benefit of the internet is its ability to minimize distances and provide communication services efficiently and without any cost.  In general, the Internet is a multi-tool with applications on every aspect of someone’s life. ….and yes most of these benefits are unavailable to the average Cuban, much like banking, shopping (no chance to buy your products online by the average Cuban) and air conditioning are unavailable. They wallow in their ignorance. Or maybe bliss, isn’t that the saying?

  • Wow…what the heck are you accessing on the web? I manage to spend my time there without accessing any porn. Advertising is ubiquitous, whether magazines, newspapers or the internet. But even there you can use free ad blocking software to eliminate much of the advertising. I think you are simply reflecting your bias. …and there is much information you cant access in Cuba. Tell me again how many foreign news services are available in multimedia or print? ….exactly!

  • Well its not really targeting you one to one, this type of advertising targets you blindly as an IP address only. However its quite certain the government retains and parceles through private information. However I’m not fearful that the government will knock on my door regarding my political views, and if necessary I can legally avail myself of encryption technology. I don’t think you’re afraid either. Question. …Can you make the types of anti US government comments you post hear daily against the Cuban dictatorship in Cuba? I think not!

  • How so you as a foreigner hire out workers? As far as I know, you must hire through the government, who you then pay, and they then pay the workers

  • Controlled by the internet? Are you living in the 21st century or the 19th century. How the heck do you run your business? The internet is simply a tool. Only authoritarian regimes are afraid of it. It was insulting when you mentioned in an earlier post that Cubans should be working instead of spending their time on the internet. Cubans should be able ti use the Internet for work. any other modern society. Instead Cuba is stuck back in the 19th century with moat resident not having access to AC, much less the internet!

  • Its called asemetrical warfare, but the USA never fought against Cuba

  • Gomezz, why do you insist on mentioning your Internet interest in “porn, E-prostitution services and gambling”? When you speak of cost, are you referring to the cost of the services you seek, or to the charges made by the Internet supplier?

  • My Cuban stepdaughter is a lawyer in Cuba and my Scottish grand-daughter has just placed first in Chinese law at Leuwvan University in Holland. It is part of her studies in International law and she is in Holland for a sabbatical year. A Canadian niece has already qualified in International Law and is practising in Wales of all places. Law is ever-spreading and ever necessary – but I am not sure about the merits of so many of them entering politics.

  • more wifi towers are being put up in public areas and on buildings, they don’t need the american ones…

  • And Google plus the alphabet soup of USA and Canadian “Security” agencies.

  • Dear oh dear Gomezz, by listing that for you the Internet is just full of ads, porn, pay web-sites, social media, frauds and booby traps, you are merely demonstrating you own particular interests. However your described interests explain your all too frequent use of foul language.
    Others with better tastes, pursue art, archeology, history, economics and a wide range of educational subjects.
    Unto each………..!

  • So we should all be USA controlled by the internet really…. oh I forgot we already are!

  • Who told you I said the Cubans didn’t have a monitoring system in place Carlyle? I’m sure they do; so does the Canadian and USA governments, in fact ALL governments have phone and media monitoring systems as the latest scandals regarding E-spying by the NSA, CIA, FBI, the English tabloids hacking into victim’s phones and the Wikileaks revelations prove beyond a doubt. My biz e-mail was just hijacked to send all my contacts junk mail and the hijacking program so it continues.

    The point is that the Cuban People are not demanding WiFi, there is no grass-root movement to acquire such services and frankly, few are interested in such unless there is a direct business application they can benefit from; and that is very few people right now. Why should we vote on that, to satisfy you?

  • I do hope that Informed Consent and you bjmack are correct. However, we in the wider world only get published information. We happily think that our views are logical. What we don’t know and neither do the media and internationally involved politicians, is what plans have the Castro family regime made.
    No one is privy to their intentions or the means by which they intend to enable them. But it would be counter to their track record to think that they have planned nothing!
    Raul is a schemer par excellence as demonstrated by his development of GAESA and its subsidiary’s while the world’s eyes and those of the Cuban people were upon Big Brother Fidel.
    We who care about the future of beautiful Cuba and its wonderful people must be cautious when expressing our views when there could well be a rabbit in the hat!

  • Platitudes will not get you anywhere, the person on the USA streets never even knew what it was until it was already running and then everybody was trusting all the BS that came out of it like the word of God, and all the media was glorifying it and the corporate sector was getting into it to use it as a market wonderland, a cash cow and a tool to allow business to fleece the People more. I don’t want to see our gregarious Cuban culture turned into the aggregation of individuals busy with their E-lives on the Web and seldom Here and Now, as it is here. If I’m having lunch or a visit or even a conversation with someone and it is interrupted by a phone call or text message that is not an emergency and takes more than enough time to respond “I’m busy, call you later” or such, ~2 minutes at most, I politely walk out. The porn, E-prostitution services and gambling sites bring it all back home, making it easy and convenient to loose your 500 pesos. And then there is the cost.
    There has been cell phone service and Internet (not just Intranet) service in Cuba for a while now (At least 6-7 years) but few could afford it except doctors and other emergency workers, military and government functionaries who got it for free on the basis of need and rank, with time limits. Those few Cubans that could afford it then were renowned artists and other professionals who traveled abroad and got paid in hard currency, along with certain in demand specialists inside Cuba and hustlers living off the tourist Dollar/Euro/Yuen.Today many people have cell phones and computer services to facilitate business with the growing tourist trade, and communication in and out of the Island is easier than ever before.

  • As they say Moses, its par for the course – but there is little opportunity for the use of golfing parlance in Cuba. Tiger Woods would be unlikely to be invited to open a course in Cuba! More likely to be Sergio Garcia!

  • foreign companies, embassies & cuban companies have internet and or wifi now which cubans access at home by dial up or wifi not alot of people but some, my dial up never works at home & no wifi yet at home but we hope soon… 8-10 hours of daytime is enough anyway

  • my office & the lobby of 4 or 5 star hotels & now you see cubans on the street in vedado or elsewhere with smart phones that have wifi coverage in some areas but you must buy an etecsa card for $4.50 an hour to use… some say it is dropping to $2 soon per hour.

  • The Cuban government does enslave us but they do not need smart phones for that. They have cheaper mechanisms and they do listen to our phone conversations but in the old school stile. All mails are carefully reviewed, I mean currier not e-mail… you need to drop by so you can understand how repression works.

  • This is what I am talking about, and in it’s earliest stages was shopped around to a lot of places that were seen as good test beds.
    Many places refused outright including Montreal because of privacy concerns.
    This is the experimental WiFi that was offered to the City of Montreal.

    I do not disagree with you and I am not an apologist for the Gov. in Cuba, I try and take a balanced approach to my view of the world, and to be honest I feel that the US is far more guilty of anything you can try and pin on Cuba.

    Can you Google yourself till you’re blue in the face in the good old USA sure you can but it is certainly being monitored.

    Six of one half a dozen of another.

  • Yes as a matter of fact I do, I run a business in Havana that employs only Cubans and we pay far above what anyone makes in Cuba.

  • Good for him, he is exactly right. Google the organization is pernicious.

  • Yes, we voted. With our checkbooks. If Americans didn’t want the internet, it would not have been built.

  • More Cuban spies are caught than you hear about. It is simply in no one’s interest to announce their capture. There is embarrassment on both sides that is better avoided. At the risk of splitting hairs, Snowden was a NSA contractor.

  • We will be in Holguin and Granma shortly and I will ask Michel to Phone Dr. Machado regarding this. It was Machado who told Michel that he should become a Dr. of International Laws.

  • A couple friend of mine who live in the municipio Santa Fe just west of Havana expressed a similar sentiment with me once at a dinner party at their home. They are quite proud of the fact that they are second or third generation Spanish. Both of them hold Spanish passports due to a law in Spain which provides citizen status to foreigners who can prove that at least one grandparent was a Spanish citizen. They were careful to point out how fortunate I am to have been born in the US where Blacks, despite our challenges, have done well. They said Cuban Blacks better reflect the natural achievement that Blacks should expect. They went as far as to say that the Revolution was a godsend for Blacks. They criticized the Ladies in White because they said without the Revolution they would be worse off. They had no clue how insulting they were and how historically misinformed they are.

  • I’m not stating that Cuba must adhere to the desires of the US but still, in this day and age not to have the right to have a satellite dish is obscene! How can Elio continue with his praise for what he fought for and see this?

  • You’d know Carlyle. Thanks!

  • So then you agree with me about the nefarious spying on and processing of your private information by the corporate world, those that advertise. What totalitarian government has that much control upon the People?

  • There you go again IC, thinking that access to the Internet means/is equal to access to information. For one, most of the Internet is just full of ads, porn, pay web-sites, social media, frauds and booby traps. Information is highly doubtful because anyone can post anything they want, true or not. There is no doubt that the Internet is used for spying as the latest scandals of the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and other USA government agencies has shown. Hacking has reached record levels and the example of the British tabloids hacking phones and computers of victims of crime and their relatives is fresh in our minds; scams are dime a dozen and these damned smart phones are destroying face to face interaction between people and shortening our attention span. Why should Cubans vote whether or not they want Internet, IC; did you vote about it in the USA or did they just set it up without your consent or vote?
    Don’t you see how wrong you are; Cubans in Cuba have more access to factual information than you give them credit for.

  • I did not say they think different than you do, quite the contrary; and it’s not due to the color of their skin, but the straight-line pattern of Western logic and thought; and that is what the Chinese are talking about. If you do always what is logical, you can be anticipated; if you think in straight lines, a handful of guerrillas can defeat your large, modern army. But if you think in all 3 dimensions you can lead a Revolution, defeat the power of the USA and give your People a better life they had before.

  • Moses, Gomezz is merely reflecting that inbred racism so evident in a high percentage of the Spanish descendants in Cuba and which you may recall I previously analysed in a lengthy contribution. Cuba was developed on the backs of the non-white people. First the Taino, then black slaves, then Chinese coolies. The majority of the whites in Cuba just didn’t like physical work.
    Regarding the Chinese, I note that their stock market activities are producing some remarkably straight lines.

  • Defined as the lowest form of wit. But you wrote what you wrote and you were right.

  • Why should the people of Cuba have a free vote about anything. As you should know Gomezz few of the people in Cuba have landlines and their distribution is controlled by the CDR so who told you that ETECSA does not have a monitoring system?
    You give yourself away as a true disciple of Socialismo and Marxism/Leninism when you disparage the Cuban people by suggesting that they shouldn’t be allowed a free vote – your reason being that you think they are ignorant. Arrogance like yours Gomezz is disgusting.
    Now you can respond in your customary foul language!

  • Do please report back.

  • That’s a fairly good description of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).

  • Firstly I have to agree that the CIA has been far too open to the world since its inception in 1947. A Secret Service should be just that!
    The CIA has far too many employees to be able to retain secrets. As I understand it, Snowden who is obviously guilty of treason, was not actually an employee of the CIA, but a contractor. (Imagine a spy service contracting work).
    As I have disclosed previously, way back in 1952, when going out for supper with my late father to visit friends of his in Vienna, he mentioned that our host was the Head of the CIA in Austria. Although I had signed the British Official Secrets Act, I queried whether he should have told me. His reply was: “Everybody knows.”
    This came from a man who had told me in earlier years that: “Every time a secret is disclosed to one more person, the chances of it getting out increase by a factor of four.”
    The US has a fairly poor record on secrecy and its political structure doesn’t help.
    It appears that the Head of Security in Cuba has a reasonably good record as it is difficult to list any of Cuba’s spies being caught other than the so-called “five”. But he reports only to his father Raul Castro Ruz and obviously Alejandro Espin Castro has tight lips. Visits to Russia to take advice from former KGB members have obviously been beneficial.

  • bjmack I cannot agree that access to information has increased dramatically in Cuba. When in Canada my wife spends a lot of time daily on my computer catching up with world events.
    For example what do the Cuban people know about the current Greek debacle – except as reported in Granma, Fidel and Raul Castro Ruz both sent congratulations to Tsipras for winning the vote and rejecting the Eurozone bail out conditions?

  • They are against the law! So none are visible and they cannot be imported.

  • It’s kinda insulting. Don’t you think, when you say that the Cuban people “know nothing” about this and that it has a potential for “spying”.. Well then, we’re back to square one, the excuse of the tyrant. Let’s not give the Cuban people avcess to information. Let’s just keep them in the dark.

  • Carlyle, what about satellite dishes? Are they visible?

  • IC, i think it will be far sooner than ten years. The internet and social media is changing the world as we type these responses. We see this all over the world and Cuba, like it or not will
    be apart of this. Let the Cuban people decide their fate and if so, it should turn out a hell of a lot better than what’s happening there today. Get rid of the embargo and allow all US citizens the right to travel without any conditions and you’ll see that instantaneously. Also, Cuban’s traveling around the world now have a clearer picture, for better or worse, whether they want to shift the axis.

  • What a racist thing to say. All my life, I have struggled to prove that I can spell as good as the white kids, do trigonometry as good the white kids, write business case studies as good as the white business school students, found a software firm that is as successful as the ones white businessmen create and now you want me to accept that white people think differently than I do. I think that is the most stupid comment that you have written. …and you have written some really stupid comments.

  • That already exists. ….its called advertising.

  • I tried to like your comments but it will not let me, maybe after it is free for a period of time they will want money. Trying to censor is wrong on all levels. He is trying to keep the people stupid and does not want them to know about certain truths about their own history.

  • My two Cuban / Canadian children are indirectly related to Dr. Machado as their mothers was adoption was arranged by Machado when he was Minister of Health for Cuba. The next time Michel meets with Machado he will talk to him about ” Google “

  • That’s how come they (Fidel and Raúl) defeated Batista’s army, repelled the USA invasion, defeated all the plans to sabotage, terrorize and weaken our country and overthrow our government; by being genius-level creative instead of following a foreseeable, straight-forward, thought sequence such as Western Logic. My Chinese friends tell me the reason why they call White People “devils” is because in Chinese lore, devils only move in straight lines; Feng Shu is based on this key principle among others. In the words of my comrade Tzu Li Zah: “We Chinese know that White People can not see the curves in their minds, only straight lines, that’s why we call them “Guay-Loh” or foreign devils…
    Moses, I agree with you for once…and that mean you think like a White-Man, no curves!

  • On the contrary, authoritarian govs. would love to provide you with a smart-phone, so they can really check on you and penetrate your PC and read your private stuff and find out who you communicate with and what your private habits are and what your preferences in soup to nuts to porn are and how to locate you…

  • Why should the people of Cuba have a “free vote” about something they know nothing about, particularly all of its potential for spying, and would largely not be able to afford or be interested in having. If the Cuban Government really wanted to enslave the People of Cuba, they would have provided “smart-phones” to every household and then monitor the conversations like the Government of the USA still does; turn on the phones externally to record face to face conversations, locate subjects or plant “evidence” in people’s PC that can later be used to convict them.

  • I didn’t think I would have to do this, but apparently there are ahistorical commenters out there who don’t know sarcasm when they see it.

  • Actually that is incorrect. I had no knowledge or information about your comment so I availed myself of, what else, the internet, specifically Google. I looked up information about a partnership between Google and San Francisco, and guess what? Google has paid for installation and maintenance of equipment to blanket parts of the city with free wifi in 2014

    …see what I did there? It’s that sort of access authoritarian governments don’t want its citizens to have.

  • I can access the Internet in certain locations within Havana only. Its easier for me because I’m a “tourist”. How do you get access?

  • I think its obvious that the Cuban people must wait for the death of these octogenarians to really be able to experience change. Its inevitable.

  • So instead of commenting on the internal Cuban blockade of information you attack the US population as uninformed, as if that has anything to do with the comment Moses made.

  • I could’ve given a different answer myself to Google’s proposition , after all Google means CIA , for those of you or not up to date what’s going on , there’s one name to mention.
    Edward Snowden

  • Yet his comments stand. Its rather obvious that the regime is afraid of unfettered access to the internet. Totalitarian regimes function, in no small part, because they control and limit what information its available to the population. How about commenting on that?

  • And as we know, 27% of ETECSA is owned by RAFIN SA (Raul & Fidel)

  • I never thought that I would agree with anything that you write Dan – especially since you revealed your misogynist weakness, But I do agree with you that the Castro family regime is paranoid.
    characterized by or suffering from the mental condition of paranoia.
    unreasonably or obsessively anxious, suspicious or mistrustful
    a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy or exaggerated self-importance, typically worked into an organised system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.
    Oxford English Dictionary.
    One only has to look briefly at the Castro family regime and its members to recognize the accuracy of your analysis. Now I believe you are a lawyer!

  • I too live in Cuba, Can’t get Internet in our city and it is a provincial capital!
    What sort of adherence do you have to the regime which enables you to have Internet? I ask to enable me to access the same route.

  • Your statement is erroneous, Moses has family ties to Cuba, he has repeatedly supported Human rights for Cubans! Do you?

  • As an expert racist Analyser you don’t even read what Moses Patterson writes.
    You know under your frothing drivel, that Moses is correct about the Castro family regime opposing Internet connection because they are AFRAID of the Cuban people gaining access to information.
    As far as I am aware no US President has opposed the Internet and in a free society would not dare to so do!

  • Espléndidos, Havana Club 7 años, Salsa, Chucho Valdes, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Jazz Cafe and did I mention my beautiful wife, family and friends? So you see, I see lots of good (very good actually) and positive things about Cuba.

  • Love Havana Times! Moses, you and I know that if we controlled Cuba, politically, we’d be doing exactly what transpired today. Access to information has increased dramatically in Cuba and my faith isn’t with the expat’s or the rulers in Cuba. It’s with the youth who will be the deciders as to where Cuba goes and I think forward will be the answer. They might even teach us a few lessons as well!

  • Man you are getting killed on this one. An 85 year old party secretary, I suspect is not best positioned to evaluate a technical offer from Google. I suspect a few Chinese routers would have provided all the safe guards needed. Change is comming anyway, but at a pace an 85 year old can process.

  • Within the decade the last remnants of these octogenarian Cuban dinosaurs will be gone, and Castro style communism will go with it. The only reason these guys are still in power is that the whole regime will collapse without them. So soon enough, money and technology will flow into Cuba, but it will flow into a capitalist version of Cuba.

  • Whether or not Cuba has broadband WiFi service has zero impact on my life in San Francisco. However my family in Cuba would like to access the Internet without having to spend a week’s pay for just one hour of service. Google wanted to help make that access possible sooner. Given the FACT that Cuba has the lowest Internet access in the hemisphere, it’s logical that they would accept help from wherever they could get it. Then again, the Castros have proven themselves to be anything but logical.

  • Moses in my opinion is a true hater that claims Family ties to Cuba and only wants what’s best for the Country and yet cannot ever see or admit anything good or positive about Cuba.
    I have seen this only in hard core old school members of the Miami Mafia.

  • For all the OLD out of touch people commenting here I will fill you in. Google has been shopping around for quite some time trying to find a City to accept this experiment. San Francisco refused, Montreal refused and so have other cities.
    The primary reason why it has been refused in other places is that Google will not admit to what level of information access they want or what they will keep and market.

    This is an issue far more about privacy than censorship.

  • OK John, for the sake of argument, let’s say the big bad USG is intentionally misleading 350 million Americans. Does this justify the Castros doing likewise to the Cuban people? Second, why is it necessary to censor the information that Cubans receive. Don’t you trust them to think for themselves? Finally, what exactly are you afraid of such that you recommend that Cubans “keep up it’s guard”? From what?

  • really? that’s what Cuban people KNOW? I bet Cuban people don’t know how public funds are wasted by our government, the corruption and lack of values and ethics of our public servants…. Of course we know a lot about the US. That’s the objective of Cuban government: to keep us focussed on the world instead of analyzing our own difficulties. Anything related to free information will be postponed as much as possible because as Martí said “ser cultos para ser libres” …

  • If the Cuban people had a free open vote to have Google provided WiFi antennas throughout Cuba, do you think the Cuban people would reject it the way the Communist Party did?

    There is you answer, plain and simple.

  • Hello Moses, its not that they dont want free atennas in Cuba we dont want America to control the Cuban internet & by the way internet is NOT FREE everywhere in the world you know we all pay for it monthly at home & on our mobiles & when travellers go travelling they pay for it through the nose to have convenience in their hotels or on their mobiles… its not a right its a priviledge that you must pay for like I do everywhere including in Cuba for personal & work reasons so get off your Capitalist horse with the peanut galley comments… you know what I am saying! They should be working instead of on their free wifi…. anyway its for towers not service & they are doing fine installing them on their own buying them from Canada, China or other places? No worries plenty of internet happening in Cuba already I should know I live there!

  • There you have it! The Castro showing the true colors, Repression and censorship. Afraid of people knows the truth.

  • Of course the Cuban Government is paranoid. After all, when has GOUSA ever tried to interfere in Cuba’s internal affairs ?

  • Like all the low or erroneous information people Mr. Patterson may actually think that the Cubans do not know what is going on in the world .
    In fact, it is the U.S. electorate that can’t find countries on the world map and like Moses do not either know what democracy and communism are and are not .
    The average Cuban knows what U.S. foreign policy is all about but the average U.S. citizen has no clue.
    Google is making its offer to make money. It’s what it does.
    The fact that it is a capitalist corporation makes it suspect in a country which has been attacked for 54 years because it says it doesn’t like or want capitalism.
    And what information do Cubans not get ?
    No one is specifying the type of info or the effects that dearth if information has on the thinking if the Cuban people.
    One thing is certainly clear and that is despite the poverty inflicted upon them by the GOUSA for over 54 years, the Cuban people KNOW that it is the USG which is to blame and so the Cubans do not try to overthrow their government as was the intent of the embargo.
    If anything, it is the bulk of the U.S. populace which is being misled by its corporate media far worse than the Cuban elite is misleading its people..
    Meanwhile…the Republican Congress hasn’t called off the embargo so normalization is still a ways off and Cuba must keep up its guard against free-enterprise imperialism even after “normalization”.

  • This has nothing to do with control, Google was trying to set up wifi hotspots, not their own access points to the outside world, meaning that even if the Cuban government accepted, they still retain control of what the people can or cannot access from said hotspots (think about China’s great firewall)

    I’m not aware of the details of the deal, but I’m sure the Cubans main issue would be the possibility of NSA backdoors in the hardware (at a national scale!)

    That said, if the deal is only about financing (as opposed to providing the hardware) and without strings attached, your assessment would be correct.

    PD: Notice that WIFI access may not be an ideal solution for Cuba connectivity woes. If they are smart (doubtful with Machado Ventura at the helm), they would better invest in cellular networks and provide data access to their wireless users.

    Is cheaper to implement (actually is partially implemented already), easier to scale and the provider (ETECSA) retains a great deal of control about the user activity.

  • Soap box paranoid Patterson talking his usual drivel. Once the Castros depart this world, who next to get paranoid about. Try a few ex Presidents closer to home, more than enough material for a stand up comedian.

  • So, now it is clear. The Castros are AFRAID of the Internet because they know that they can’t control the information that Cubans will have access to. The Castro weenies who extolled the notion that the reason Cubans were not connected was because Cuba is a poor country, blah, blah, blah are now called out as liars. The truth is that the Castros did not want the Cuban people to have unfettered access to ……Havana Times.

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