Google Execs Meet in Cuba with Blogger Yoani Sanchez

Google President Eric Schmidt. Foto: Cafefuerte.

HAVANA TIMES — The president of Google, Eric Schmidt, and three other executives of the US multinational company visited Cuba this past week where some met with blogger Yoani Sanchez, states a news item published by the online newspaper 14ymedio, edited by the dissident.

Schmidt and Google executives Jared Cohen, Brett Perlmutter and Dan Keyserling also met with government representatives in Havana, the Sanchez’s publication reported. Cuba’s official media have made no mention of the visit.

According to 14ymedio, the company executives were given a guided tour of Havana’s University of Computer Sciences (UCI).

On Friday, three of them visited Sanchez at her home, where the editorial office of 14ymedio is located, the renowned Cuban dissident reported.

“Last night, Google knocked at our door,” Sanchez wrote. Cohen, Perlmutter and Keyserling “made the trip all the way up to the 14th floor to have a chat with us, in an editorial office without an Internet connection but with a strong commitment to reporting on Cuban reality today,” she added.

Founded by Sanchez and a group of collaborators, 14ymedio publishes materials that are critical of the Castro government. Cuba does not formally allow for the existence of independent newspapers and has all official media under State control. Sanchez’s site is blocked on the island.

Schmidt had expressed his intention of visiting Cuba during an interview for The Wall Street Journal published in November of 2013.

According to the US newspaper, in January of this year, as part of an international tour aimed at promoting freedom of expression over the Internet, the president of the company that operates the most popular search engine in the world visited North Korea, a country that has also been criticized like Cuba for restricting access to the web.

Despite improvements to its telecommunications network over the past few months, Cuba continues to report some of the lowest Internet connectivity rates in the world.

12 thoughts on “Google Execs Meet in Cuba with Blogger Yoani Sanchez

  • July 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

    I would challenge ‘glen roberts’ to live in Cuba for one month on the equivalent of one month’s salary for the average Cuban of $26. I dare say that his “good place to live” comment would change. But’s lets say he survives the poverty of the average Cuban. During that month, I would encourage him to speak his mind as freely as he seems able to do in his comment. He won’t survive the month without a least a visit from the ‘thought’ police. This poison pen understands very well how good Cuba looks with a Visa credit card in your wallet and a return airplane ticket back to a comfortable home in a democratic country.

  • July 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    As Mr. Roberts is probably aware – and the Castros certainly are, part of the deal between the Government of the United States and that of the Soviet Union which ended the nuclear activities in Cuba, was that the US would not in the future invade Cuba. It seems to me that George W. Bush was far more likely to break that agreement than Barack Obama. I too have seen Cuba from tip to tip and my home is there. I have also travelled reasonably widely – 32 countries to date. If Mr. Roberts’ regards Cuba as a highly civilized, good place to live, then he has not stopped to study in depth the misery of four generations of one family living in a two bedroom casa – which is common. Nor has he studied the homes built of wood planking with rags stuffed in the holes to try to minimize the wind blowing in or how pensioners live on 200 pesos per month ($8 US). Ms. Sanchez lives in Cuba and has an accurate pen. If Mr. Roberts has a similar level of courage to that displayed by Yoani Sanchez, he should go to Cuba, stand in the Plaza de Catedral in Havana and utter abuse directed at the Castros. Afterwards whilst mouldering – probably without trial – in jail as a guest of the regime, he will have time to reflect upon his folly.
    Viva Fidel, Viva Raul, Viva los Castros que controla toda y todos

  • July 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    If Barack Obama achieves his dream of invading Cuba, it will have to be with the tacit approval of Americans who believe the propaganda of dissidents like Sanchez and other Havana Times’ poison pens, and if that invasion turns Cuba into Middle-Eastern rubble and violence, she and they will have that atrocity on their heads. I HAVE seen Cuba from tip to tip + 29 other countries, including most of Latin America, and, regardless of what other bloggers say here, the Cuba I have seen is a highly civilized, good place to live. Affording a few Cubans the opportunity to get richer than they need to be is an ugly reason to return it to the dog-fight level of pre-revolutionary times and of other Latin American countries today. Viva Fidel! -Glen Roberts,

  • July 1, 2014 at 8:50 am

    The Google press statement is called “spin”. It is technically true and well-written to split the difference between offending the hosts and telling the truth. To the former State employee who used to earn 11 cuc per month and now “pushing that wheelbarrow” and now able to earn that much in one day, his new job is a blessing and “profession” or not, he is glad to be doing it. It is sad that the Castros have made such jobs preferable to being a doctor or an engineer or an architect but it is what it is. Remember, only in Cuba does a prostitute walk down the middle of the street knowing she makes more money than surgeons or scientists.

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