The Cuba Internet’s Real Problem? Political Correctness

Marin ETESCA image cuba internet

Used to be, real issues like the US embargo, the economy and a fear of information were what held back the Cuba Internet. Those obstacles are mostly gone. But now the problem is political correctness, says Larry Press. [commentary]

aNewDomainI’ve already told you the three factors responsible for stifling the Cuba Internet since it kicked off in 1996: the fear of free information, the wavering Cuban economy and, of course, the US embargo.

Those three constraints are no longer in place. But the Cuba Internet is still being hampered, this time by something downright silly: Bureaucracy. And the dusty sense of political correctness that so often comes with it.

Take the recent Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC25) conference in Havana.

regionalinternetregistries cuba internet cuban internet larry pressMaybe you caught ETECSA president Mayra Arevich Marín‘s strange comments at a talk she gave there.

The “economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States was the main obstacle to the development of ICT and the Internet in Cuba,” she said.

Moreover, she called for regional cooperation to stop “the illegal use of computer systems of nations by individuals, organizations and states to attack third countries”

What?

Surely Marín knows that the US has essentially ended restrictions on the export of Internet infrastructure and services to Cuba. And Cuba already has  succeeded in financing and doing business with companies from China and other nations, too.

So what does she mean about the so-called “illegal use of computer systems?”

She could only have meant foolish efforts USAID efforts like the ZunZuneo effort and the Alan Gross affair.

Even if these had gone undetected, they would never have worked. The only danger would be that they’d be used as tools of propaganda.

But still.

It appears her comments were just empty rhetoric, unfortunately delivered at a high profile, prestigious event at a time when so much is at stake.

Sure, bureaucrats in any nation fall victim to such politically correct hoohah, but the Cuba Internet just can’t afford this. Not now anyway.

From where I stand, this is a clear example of political correctness trumping sensical action. Unless Havana’s bureacrats go out of their way to break such dusty old habits, the development of the Cuba Internet will be seriously hobbled.

Ay, caramba.

For aNewDomain, I’m Larry Press.

Cover image: By Larry Press via LaredCubana.blogspot.com, All Rights Reserved. 

Ed: A version of this story ran on Larry Press’ laredcubana. Read it here.

About the author

Larry Press

Based in Los Angeles, Larry Press is a professor of information systems at California State University at Dominguez Hills and a senior editor covering tech issues here at aNewDomain.net. Check his Google+ profile to contact him or see what else he is up to: http://bit.ly/viXqr4.

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