Cuba and the Internet: A question of business and human rights
As published in NPR, “when Cuban bikini maker Victor Rodríguez visited Miami this month, he was on a pilgrimage — not just for bathing suits but for bandwidth.”
“The most important stop on Rodríguez’s schedule was lunch in Wynwood, Miami’s high-tech district, with Mel Valenzuela, who owns the online swimwear store Pretty Beachy.”
The article continues, “a Valenzuela showed Rodríguez how to do business online, his awestruck expression seemed to evoke José Arcadio Buendía in One Hundred Years of Solitude, who when he first touches ice declares it ‘the great invention of our time’.”
“My eyes light up,” said Rodríguez, “when I see how greatly the Internet could expand my horizons as a business owner.”
NPR mentions that “the U.S. and Cuba are closer than ever to restoring diplomatic ties. But if you ask Cubans what they want most from normalized relations, they’ll likely tell you they just want to get on the Web.”
NPR declares that “only 5 percent of Cuba’s 11 million people have unrestricted access to the Internet, and only a quarter of them have any access at all. That’s among the lowest levels in the world.”
In addition, NPR states “it’s also a human rights issue. Cuba’s communist government says it wants half the population wired by the end of this decade. Yet it’s reluctant to give Cubans such a powerful information tool.”
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