Friday, December 12, 2014

Officials say Cuba is not afraid of new technology -- they just lack the funds

Wilfredo Gonzalez and Abel Prieto
A recent Cuba Sí post quotes Cuban officials saying that money, not fear is responsible for the sad state of the Cuban Internet.

Presidential adviser Abel Prieto told a group of Havana University students that the island is "not afraid of technology." Computer science and communications vice minister Wilfredo Gonzalez assured the students that there were no government policies that restrain development of new technologies. He said economic conditions hinder development and pointed out that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ranks Cuba 14th in the world on training people on new technologies and 153rd in access to those technologies.

I will have more to say on those ITU rankings in a future post, but, for now, let me point out that the ITU ranks Cuba last among all nations in Latin America and the Caribbean on information and communication technology development and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) ranks Cuba second only to Chile in Latin America and the Caribbean on their Human Development Index, which is based upon health, education and income.

UNDP human development index

How is it that a nation that is better off than other Latin American nations is unable to afford better Internet connectivity?

If Cuba were not afraid of information technology, Alan Gross would not be in prison and a modest proposal for satellite connectivity would be implemented and replicated. Don't get me wrong, Cuba has financial need, but a build out using satellite technology would be quite affordable as an interim step toward a modern, fiber-based Internet.
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