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.