Google visits Havana

Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt

Several Google executives, led by its chairman Eric Schmidt, visited Havana on a task that so far can only be identified as one promoting the benefits of Internet.

Cuba is a country that has limited access to the Net. Except in certain hotels, for example, the connectivity is disappointingly low despite having the services of a fiber optic connection from Venezuela.

Schmidt, along with Jared Cohen, Brett Perlmutter and Dan Keyserling visited at least two centers dedicated to computer technology: the University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), dedicated to the training of specialists in the production of software; and the command center (servers) INFOMED network that is available to health services on the island.

The Cuban press has not reported this visit, which was a desire expressed or project announced last year during Schmidt’s stay in the People’s Republic of Korea, where he traveled to disseminate the economic and social benefits of the network of networks.

A number of important international media reported the stay of these men and have stated that they were “received by authorities in Havana,” however all reports refrain from identifying who the Cuban authorities were and the level of political hierarchy and / or their role.

“I do not know if they were received by authorities of the level of Ministry of Communications and Information, or ETECSA” – a state-run enterprise charged with telecommunications, was the answer given by a source who asked to remain anonymous.

“If there was a meeting with higher ups, it has been handled very discreetly,” our source told us.

Jared Cohen
Jared Cohen

Meanwhile, Yoani Sánchez, oppositionist blogger, says these executives visited her apartment where her digital media outlet is headquartered.

Interestingly, Cohen, who currently serves as director of Google Ideas, was an advisor to former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton in the areas of ​​cyber-terrorism, Internet freedom, and fostering opposition in countries identified by the U.S. as repressive.

In 2013, Time Magazine classified Cohen as one of the 100 most influential people around the world.

In our opinion, the key question to ask is whether this is just a simple trip, we might call it cyber tourism, or a step to exploring the possibility of addressing Cuba’s urgent need for an infrastructure capable of providing efficient connectivity in the context of the changes taking place on the island.