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Trapped in its history, beautiful Havana recalls the faded grandeur of Argentina and a Dick Tracy movie of automobiles.  With the goal of promoting a free and open Internet, Jared Cohen and I and two others traveled to Havana on a business visa (more on that later.)  Landing at Havana airport, the first airplane you see is a jet from Angola Airlines.  The Cuban people, modern and very well educated define the experience with a warmth that only Latin cultures express: tremendous music, food and entertainment (most of which we were not able to sample, more about that visa in a minute.)  Under Fidel Castro’s younger brother, Raoul, difficult economic conditions have brought many small liberalizing steps in the last few years.  There are now 187 professions where private employment is allowed (otherwise private jobs are not permitted), and cars and apartments are beginning to be tradeable with restrictions.

The two most successful parts of the Revolution, as they call it, is the universal health care free for all citizens with very good doctors, and the clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks in the country.  Almost all the leaders we met with were female, and one joked with us that the Revolution promised equality, the macho men didn’t like it but “they got used to it”, with a broad smile.  The least successful part of the Revolution has been economic development (not surprisingly) and it appeared to us a drop off in tourism and recent farm issues have made things somewhat worse in Cuba.  The broad topic of conversation in the country is the constant speculation of what the government will do next and what the course and path of liberalization will be.  We were told that there is a fight between more liberal and conservative leaders under Castro, and someone said that the military was becoming more involved in economic development.  A number of people said the eventual model of Cuba would be more like China or Vietnam than of Venezuela or Mexico.

The embargo now codified in the 1996 Helms Burton act defines everything for the US and Cuba (Cubans call this a “blockade” and a billboard described it as genocide).  The US govermnent classifies Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in the same class as North Korea, Syria, Iran and North Sudan.  Travel to the country is controlled by an US office called OFAC and under our license we were not permitted to do anything except business meetings where our hotel room had to be less than $100 per night and total expenses per diem of $188.00.  Not surprisingly there are many $99 hotel rooms in Havana.  These policies defy reason:  there are dozens of countries we call our allies and we are free to travel to that present much worse threats and concerns to the US than Cuba does in this decade.  Cubans believe this is largely a Florida domestic political issue, and that the Cuban-American youth all support normalization of relations along with the US business community.

If Cuba is trapped in the 1950’s, the Internet of Cuba is trapped in the 1990s.  About 20-25% of Cubans have phone lines but mostly subsidized land lines, and the cell phone infrastructure is very thin.  Approximately 3-4% of Cubans have access to the Internet in internet cafes and in certain universities.  The Internet is heavily censored and the infrastructure, which we toured, is made out of Chinese components.   The “blockade” makes absolutely no sense to US interests:  if you wish the country to modernize the best way to do this is to empower the citizens with smart phones (there are almost none today) and encourage freedom of expression and put information tools into the hands of Cubans directly.  The result of the “blockade” is that Asian infrastructure will become much harder to displace.  The technical community uses unlicensed versions of Windows (the US does not allow licenses to be purchased) and GNU Debian Linux on Asian hardware and using Firefox.  A small technical community exists around free Android and expect it to eventually spread.  As US firms cannot operate in Cuba, their Internet is more shaped by Cuban narrow interests than by global and open platforms.

We heard that Cuban youth are assembling informal mesh networks of wifi-routers, and thousands connect to these networks for file sharing and private messaging.  USB sticks form a type of “sneakernet”, where people hand hard to get information to each other and keep everyone up to date without any real access to the Internet.

The information restrictions make even less sense when you find out that Cuba imports a great deal of food from the US as compassionate trade.  The food imports to Cuba are important but so is importation of tools to Cuba for the development of a knowledge economy.

When you walk around Old Havana, you see beautifully restored facades that evoke the central role of Havana and the 1940s and 1950s.  The bright colored American cars from the 1950’s, converted to diesel and repaired by Cuban mechanics, give a sense of what Cuba must have been like before the revolution.  Walking around its possible to imagine a new Cuba, perhaps a leader of Latin America education, culture, and business.  Cuba will have to open its political and business economy, and the US will have to overcome our history and open the embargo.  Both countries have to do something that is hard to do politically, but it will be worth it.
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142 comments
 
Can Google make the Internet more accessible to more people on Cuba? 
 
Faded glory of Argentina? Looks a bit tropical for that ;-)
 
You would think the US would want to help stimulate internet access to help forment revolution to overthrow the Castro regime. Access to digital information is the modern version of dropping leaflets in then like in the old days.
 
Brilliantly written.  Its  daft and hypocritical method of dealing with the restrictive regime in Cuba.
 
Fascinating trip recap and beautiful pics! Thank you for sharing, Eric, as always:)
 
Such a good story, thanks for sharing and can we please get past or past and stop the embargo already. I would love to go vacation in Cuba!
 
A wonderful place with very friendly people, been to a few countries in my travels and i can honestly say Cuba is my favourite
 
+Eric Schmidt, Cuba’s diverse wildlife stems from its unique natural history. Cuba was not originally in the Caribbean Sea but in the Pacific Ocean, where the island was situated 100 million years ago, before the forces of continental drift slowly brought it into the Caribbean. As the island migrated over the ages, an astonishing variety of life arrived by air, sea, and possibly by land bridges that may have once existed. Over time, these animals adapted to their new environment. Today, more than half of Cuba’s plants and animals, including more than 80 percent of its reptiles and amphibians, are found nowhere else on the planet.
 
Fascinating. An embargo on technical goods might make sense for countries like Iran where some in the country have interest in using technology to harm U.S. security interests. But it seems that the people in Cuba largely would prefer to use technology to access the modern world and have little interest in using technology to harm the U.S. Different political climates should be treated differently; from your explanation, the Cuban embargo does not seem to effectively match our interests in the region. Great account!
 
The best thing about the US's embargo on Cuba is that when I go on holiday there, it isn't ruined by loud Americans we can holiday in peace with the Canadians.
 
lol that's the funniest thing I have ever heard.
 
 +Eric Schmidt  NPR had a piece this weekend talking about photographing there and the brief was to not shoot any cars. The photographer failed in his mission. But got some great shots. :)
 
So open up the Net there and have secret creeps clogging up the pipes here. Who's the master mind of these Bilderberg action planning? Oh lots of my Con tea party goers on the lie list. 
 
", beautiful Havana recalls the faded grandeur of Argentina"?  Argentina???  I don't recall anywhere in Argentina being remotely as awful as parts of Habana vieja, the Malecon and even Miramar and Vedado. 
Anyone who knows the country will tell you if any one thing is true it is that Havana is unique. 
And this women's rights propaganda. Try getting your Cuban girlfriend or wife to come up with you to your room at the Nacional, Melia Cohiba, Tulip, or the place across the street, the Plaza.  That is to say not only women's rights but all rights in general are a sham when you are in a totalitarian communist police state dictatorship.    Plus, answer quickly, who is the most powerful, influential woman in Cuba?  Gloria Estefan or Daisy Fuentes have more real clout and influence than any woman competing with Raul or Fidel - who are both really known for their charm and savior-faire when it comes to the ladies. Like Fidelito, if you have not met him. He is a bit like the Fredo Coreleone of the family only more half witted and with a bigger appetite for prostitutes. 
 
I hope that it goes well! Open internet for all! 
 
Actually there are positive side effects of avoiding fast food and being a McDonald's free place, obesity rates during the economic crisis have been low.
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/04/12/study-economic-crisis-improved-cubas-health/

Cuba is not 100% McDonalds free, there seem to be some restaurants at the airport and in Guantanamo, but it comes close.
http://www.tourdust.com/blog/posts/10-countries-where-you-wont-find-a-mcdonalds

Who knows, maybe there are positive side effects of living in the internet stone age as well, say for instance a lesser risk of mass surveillance by government agencies and international corporations..
 
Liberty for Cuba!
Love Cuba! Love my country! 
Thanks for share your history. 
 
We need to normalize relations with Cuba including travel. The embargo is stupid!
 
+Joel Carlson Two non-negotiable things are required for normalized Cuban / US relations to take place. Fidel must be dead and the terms must be dictated by the Florida Cubans. Period.    
 
This story makes Cuba sound like an underdeveloped Disney World. This government is a #communist regime that tortures and incarcerates people who do not agree with this political model. There is no freedom of speech or freedom of press. The health care may be free but the hospitals are not any place you would want to end up. The government is presently deeply involved in the mess that is happening in #venezuela . A dictator is what #castro  is and until they are no longer in power this beautiful island will remain with a leadership of billionaires and a people that have to scrape by to be able to eat. +Yusnaby Pérez  for more info on the real #cuban  life. 
 
Great people full of such potential! 
 
+john gury interesting summary of +Eric Schmidt book. But at least the guy is trying to work out what Google should be doing with it's influential position, reasoning from human values and trying to deal with Realpolitik in an increasingly divided world which doesn't trust the US much after the NSA scandals. That is a lot more that we ever got from Bill Gates until he had his anti-trust Damascene conversion. 
 
+Matt Schofield Recall that Bill Gates went thru his tech Paul on The Road Ahead to Damascus prophet period back in 1995,  before Google existed. Interesting to look back on some of his predictions and at least to contrast a coherent decently edited book.  I find Gates and his foundation  much more rational in their programs and objectives than this current crop of rocket balloon men heading to outer space, Mars, and beyond as their ideas of philanthropy. Gates says as much about them so this is not news. Gates is an incrementalist as opposed to a big TED X project prize thinker or a Randian nutjob with zero knowledge of history, economics,  politics or anything else other than a typical 14 year old's sic fi and wanking fixations.  
 
The Cuban embargo is hypocrisy at its finest, but if there is one thing that US foreign policy excels at, it's hypocrisy. 
 
I spent 3 weeks cycling around Cuba with my young family 8years ago. It's a magical place with such kind and generous people who are no threat to anyone.
It's time for the blockade to end. 
 
You're right Eric the embargo is stupid. Freedom and awareness comes with the free information flow (look at China).
 
With both governments permission, Google could provide Internet access in Cuba.

Cuba has very little domestic backbone infrastructure, but they could afford to extend Internet connectivity via satellite if the US and Cuban governments would allow it:

http://laredcubana.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-cuban-approach-to-achieving-internet.html

Google has a geosynchronous satellite project that could serve Cuba:

http://cis471.blogspot.com/2014/06/can-google-connect-other-three-billion.html

My bet is that the US would go for this, but the Cuban government would be a tougher sell.
 
Do not be innocent!!!!
The Cuban government it's a mafia. Everything runs trough the regime's loyalty and the embargo its the only thing that we can do to press the military elite to do little concessions to the people's benefits. 
 
Michael, the embargo has served for 54 years to entrench the Castros in power. Our starving the Cuban people has only served to make the population fear us far more than they fear the Castros who are already repressive enough. 
 
Alina the embargo has a moral support and has been used like excuse by the tyranny. The real fact its the Cuban people poverty have been determined for the failed policies enforced by Castrismo. During the Soviet occupation of Cuba, we received more than 8 billions a year in trade and the Cuban economy were falling down year after year. At that time the propaganda didn't talk about the embargo. Castro has been dangerous and unresponsive even without US credits and technology. Could everyone here imagine how dangerous could them be without embargo?????
Like a terrorist organization, the Cuban Communist Party and its military elite should not be allowed to take advantage of a normal trades. 
 
I'll have to dig a bit for the item itself but here is a fun Havana fact. If you recall in Godfather II  Michael Corleone & Co meet with Batista and they pass around a garish Gold telephone.  They have one in the Revolution museum that is always a big curio highlight object of capitalist excess that I point out to friends.  Since it is now part of film history  so it begs to ask did the guys writing GF II see that in Havana or did the people running the Revolution museum get the idea from GF II?  

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--mryVVXvQ6Y/UoqzogXq_TI/AAAAAAAAMCY/gDcndB5WXqA/s400/Cuban+Trip+2013+248.jpg
 
Isn't Cuba like a time capsule of the 1950's awaiting a political settlement with a palatable transition schedule that protects its history, people and environment from rampant marauders.
 
Eric, thanks for sharing.

Cubans in average make about 30 USD per month. If they want to use internet(controlled and censored), they need to pay about 6 USD per hour of connection. There is no technical reason for this.

Just an internal iron-courtain ideologically motivated blockade imposed by the government on the people.

I was born in Cuba and have family there. Communicating with them via internet (email, chat, skype, etc) is almost impossible.

I truly truly hope that your visit can help change things there.

Thanks again
 
+Michael R Vargas  Agreed on the potential political contention and the economic inefficiency and ineptitude of the cuban regime..

 But the embargo has not done any good, achieved no results. Cuba can buy almost anything in China, Europe, Latin america and Africa.

At the same time, US trades with China, Vietnam and on top has become (on humanitarian reasons) one of the main exporters of agricultural goods to Cuba. Go to Havana to see US products :)

So it is an old, failed and ineffective approach that should be changed. Regardless of the political perspective.
 
+Francis Cepero To reinforce your point about Cuban / US ag trade:   http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/22/cuba-usa-food-idUSN1E81L00S20120222

One big problem the regime has is that uncontrolled US currency in Cuba is inherently destabilizing. Hence the reform for the new tourist peso as opposed to US dollars when tourism from Canada first began in the early 90's.  So they know that an uncontrolled lifting of the embargo would be chaos for them. They want it done on their terms so they maintain control. On the other side, Cuban expats want any major reforms done on their terms as their prerogative by birth, suffering and more - like getting reparations; which I think they are entitled to. 
 
Whaaaat? Internet in cuba is forbidden... Only allowed for turists 
 
I just returned as well from a medical tour of the facilities. The US is missing out on a big market. OTOH, maybe we are letting China lay the infrastructure for us. One thing that Cuba is missing is their opportunity to go all electric with their energy and cars. With an area larger than Virginia and baked in sun, solar farms are a no brainer. And with an automotive infrastructure that is lacking, it is the perfect place for Elon Musk to set up charging stations for his fleet of yet unborn electric people movers.-and he would not upset any of the existing big boys. However, China is making BIG advances. Their public transportation in HAvana is all chinese (and as good as ours). Too bad it is petroleum based. Cuba could have shown the world...
 
Thank you, Mr. Schmidt, for portrait Cuba so fairly. U.S. blockade harms our future.
 
Mr. Schmidt, it would interesting to know why Google blocks so many services to Cuba, i.e. Google Play, Google Code, and so many others. Is it that you have to comply with American Laws? If so.. how come some services are allowed? Cuba has lots of excellent Android programmers who cannot take advantage of Google Play or the code repositories hosted at Google.
 
Hi Schmidt, I hope you liked my country. Cuba has a lot of good things but...
 
The voice of people like you, is what can help us out of this situation in which all Cubans live today. By the way, what is felt to be over here offline? :) Is a pleasure know that you visited us, hope you do it more often
 
Francis Cepero writes Communicating with  (Cubans) via internet (email, chat, skype, etc) is almost impossible.   This is factually incorrect. Cubacel offers email for $1US per megabyte, so a text email costs little and is available in any cellphone that has GPRS.  It is difficult to know the truth in Cuba, but posting factually incorrect statements does not help.
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I've never been in Cuba. But I wonder: what would be te state of my country (Portugal) if our neighbor (Spain) imposed an embargo, and pressed the rest of the European countries to stop trading with us. Imposed restrictions to planes and boats (portuguese and others) in using their territorial waters. Cuba faces such a problem, but they managed to have, as Eric say, a people "modern and very well educated ", "very good doctors", a "clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks", etc. I think they deserve, at least, respect.
 
Thank you for taking with you a little hope to Cuba, a good article about the reality of today's Cuba, a change is needed and more sooner than later it will happen, it's past due the freedom of so many cubans that had suffered from both sides. Viva Cuba Libre! 
 
Eric
¿por qué Google va a Cuba a hablar sobre las ventajas de internet y a su vez bloquea la información sobre el proyecto Loon a todos los cubanos? Trate de apuntarme para participar y sale la graciosa y tan conocida nota de error "403. That’s an error.
Your client does not have permission to get URL /fb/forms/loonpartnershipses419/ from this server. (Client IP address: 200.55.130.146)

We're sorry, but this service is not available in your country. That’s all we know.
"
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Why when I search in google some applications, I find the phrase, sorry, this product is not available in your country
 
Thanks to this "block" or however provided by the United States, Google itself blocks access to certain services to the Cubans. You have influence in the U.S. government, you can change things.
 
+Eric Schmidt I could access Gmail when I wad in honeymoon in Cuba :). So there is a bit of Google there already. 
 
+Eric Schmidt Mr. Schmidt, 

I'm a social media professor at Cuba. I live in Colombia, but visit the Island for teaching to cuban journalists how to use social media. InCUBAr​ is the name of the courses and my dream today. Thanks for thinking in the present and future of Cuba. 

I read about your stay in Cuba and I got very interested in touch with you. My email is renatacabrales@gmail.com or rencab@eltiempo.com

Best regards, 
+Renata Cabrales 
 
+José Mario Hernández Ronda Indeed, totally agree there.

The hospitality and very friendly people in Cuba made me feeling very welcome there! They way the Cubans make music and dance tells me there is a lot of creativity lurking there. Its potential should be unlocked if it was up to me! 
 
The Castro's do not want the embargo to end. Every time we approach the topic, Cuba does something to prevent the embargo from being lifted. Shooting planes out of the sky for example. Clinton tried, Obama has also tried, but they always do something to keep it from happening.
 
Is this article a joke? Did you interview any of the Ladies in White or any dissident on really how life in Cuba is? How they get attacked by the groups that support the regime? Bring in food. That's what more important for the people who have been under that brutal regime for more than half a century.
 
good article about your visit to Cuba.... Is good that the big and important companies of internet begins to worry about  poorest countries. Something that catches my attention is that in reference to Cuba and other countries makes much emphasis on meetings with dissidents, and do not think the aim of you is doing politics,  another element of note is the call made to governments to make policy between them to improve the xsituation, at this point I think you can be a great driving force, at least on their side, since many of the Google services are not allowed our country to own restriction by your side (ex google play and google developer). I believe allowing access would be a gesture of protest against extraterritorial laws that impose the united states. 
Once more I like your article about the visit to our country and we trust in the future ... best regards by a googlemaniaco
 
+Jochen Fromm being a slave had very definitive advantages too... I wonder if you had enjoyed them.
 
Gosh!  11 million people in Cuba can choose among 187 professions.  How generous of the Castros to permit that.  Democracy NOW is what is needed in Cuba.  Lifting the US embargo will not stop the totalitarian system.  Free political prisoners, free press, free elections, free economy is what Mr. Schmidt has to advocate for Cuba.  Will anyone give up their freedoms for free health care?
 
It is good to hear someone from the U.S. business community present an opinion calling for an end to this terrible embargo. But, this article still smacks of great power chauvinism, jingoism and the arrogance of a Wall Street vulture capitalist with snarky attacks on North Korea and other countries deemed by this Wall Street dominated government to be terrorist nations when the most cruel and inhuman government in the world today carrying out these brutal drone attacks is the epitome of a terrorist nation each and everyone of us should be ashamed of.

Is not this barbaric and cruel embargo against the Cuban people a form of terrorism? The Cuban people have never done anything to us--- they did us a favor when they got rid of the fascist beast Batista who was costing us hundreds of millions of dollars to keep him and his cronies in power.

As Americans, we should welcome the Cuban revolution which would allow socialism to flourish as a people-friendly and Mother Earth friendly system if the Cuban people were allowed to live in peaceful conditions free from U.S. imperialist intervention which includes dozens of attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders.

"DEMOCRACY NOW" is what is needed here in the United States where we would be free to choose the kind of economic system for ourselves rather than having Wall Street parasites dictate the rules and system under which we must live that includes the insanity of never-ending dirty imperialist wars with over 800 U.S. military bases spread out across the globe instead of neighborhood and community public health and child care centers like the Cuban people have as a result of their socialist revolution.

Anyone who thinks the Cuban people have it so bad have never worked in a sweatshop here in the United States.

Here we are living in the wealthiest country in the world with this fabulous wealth the product of labor with workers paid poverty wages with every single working class family experiencing a Cost-of-Living Crisis because they aren't paid enough to purchase back the goods and services they produce and we have people mocking the Cuban people and the Cuban economy because Cuba is being denied the much worshipped "free trade" so many in the Wall Street community boast about.

Talk about prisons and "freedom." The United States has more people incarcerated in prisons than any other country in the world simply because people are being denied decent jobs at real living wages which forces people into criminal activities in order to survive.

The real question is: When will democracy come to the USA because it is time to do business with Cubans and the peoples of the world as equals.

As an American, I take great pride in seeing my Cuban sisters and brothers refusing to bend and bow to Wall Street's dictate... there is a lesson for U.S. workers here.

If nothing else, this blog post by a Wall Street executive has created a little much needed discussion about the need to end this barbaric embargo intended to harm and hurt the Cuban people.

Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would have welcomed the Cuban revolution and so should we.

Let's extend an invitation to the Cubans to come here and help us establish free health care and free childcare just like they have in Cuba--- we must have something of value to offer in a fair exchange that just might put a few unemployed people to work?
 
If you still think that you get anything for free, you either a child or an idiot.
Instead of going to Cuba like a tourist, go as a native. You'll see what you get. God forbid you get sick. Pray to God all doctors are not in Venezuela and there is enough merchurechrome to heal your wound. FREE? It's like getting a 100% of nothing = NOTHING....00000
 
Anie,

No one is stupid enough to think that health care in Cuba does not come without cost but the health is a service that is delivered for free... just like public education here in this country--- it is publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered.

The Cuban people finance a free health care system.

Here in the United States we finance militarism and wars instead of health care... of course, Wall Street profiteers have their dirty fingers in the till when it comes to militarism, wars and health care.

That you try to twist free national public health care into something that it is not shows your own dishonesty... not that you are childish or an idiot, just plain dishonest.
 
I hope you begin these changes with the elimination of the restrictions for accessing some Google services from Cuba. 
 
Do you really think that most people in Cuba worry about Google fiber? Yes, it would be great for them to have Google fiber, but before they have Google fiber, they must have freedom, not only to use the internet, but freedom to think for themselves, freedom to have a job that can provide a decent wage to support their families. Really, sometimes I can help but ask myself whether some Americans are really that naive, do not know the history of Cuba or are just simply dumb or useful idiots?
 
Wou ! I thought you were a smart guy. What you have seen in Cuba is what the Communist Party wanted to show you. It's like going to North Korea. Would you like to see real pictures, just follow me on twitter @karelbecerra 
 
+Marisel Walston But the party line you will hear stiffly repeated if you ask is that there is no unemployment in Cuba - everyone able to work has a job. And of course there have been periods of freedom to leave the island - from Mariel harbor.  Yes, some Americans are  naive, do not know the history of Cuba  are simply dumb and are useful idiots.  Eric Schmidt has been globetrotting as something of a hobby wanna-be diplomat ambassador of Google corporate goodwill. His sidekick Jared actually promoted himself as an actual Mideast expert but actually writes at the level of a college sophomore. Neither of these guys communicate on their own posts or use anything but schlock vanity editors for their writing and as a result promote laughably absurd ideas and nonsense.  So they don't learn anything from other users via their own social network content.      
 
Iván José Mestre Fernández;

No one is claiming there are no problems in Cuba. But, ending this barbaric embargo would clear a lot of obstacles from the path to a more advanced socialist society.

Let us not forget that the U.S. CIA cleaned out the banks as Batista and his mobsters fled the country leaving behind a country deprived of centuries of accumulated wealth.

Take away all the wealth here in the United States leaving behind an impoverished nation without the where-with-all to finance anything and what would the wealthiest country in the world be?

Stealing Cuba's national wealth makes the United States government one of the biggest criminal nations in the world. 

It was bad enough U.S. corporations exploited and stole the resources that rightfully belonged to the Cuban people for over one-hundred years.

Let's place everything in a historical perspective if we are going to continue this conversation.

U.S. imperialism exploited, robbed and raped Cuba of its rightful wealth and now we are going to mock Cuba's lack of wealth? What kind of thinking is this? 
 
"tremendous music, food and entertainment", very simplistic view.
And you should ask those women who cooks, cleans and does the laundry at their homes. Maybe these women you saw have enough money to pay for these services. But is not that way for the majority of common women, who work at workplace and at home. This is still a sexist country.
 
Try working in a U.S. sweatshop for poverty wages or try working in a loud, noisy, smoke-filled casino for poverty wages and without any rights in a casino in a Hard Rock casino in Florida or any one of the more than 350 casinos spread out across the United States comprising this Indian Gaming Industry where a bunch of mobsters own all the slot machines and run off with all the profits leaving communities holding nothing but a bag of poverty causing debt and being mired in poverty.

At least the Cubans are making progress; how does life in Cuba for working people compare to the poverty that Haitians are subjected to by U.S. imperialism? 

Would life have been better for Cubans had the fascist dictator Batista been allowed to remain in power?
 
I couldn't agree more on the embargo being sponsored much more from floridian lobbist's reasons than for any real threat to the US. As you said, there are many so called allies that represent a much bigger threat to the whole world than Cuba nowadays. I'd love to see how Cuba's future is shaped when the embargo is over and the young generations have the chance of living in an democratic society.
Great story Eric.
 
+Alan Maki "Would life have been better for Cubans had the fascist dictator Batista been allowed to remain in power?"

It would be something like a mix between Puerto Rico and the DR except much more wealthy. Essentially how it always was since the Spanish colonial days. Cuba was the prize possession in the new world if you recall and the leading country in sophisticated Latin culture including the vanguard political movements.  Perhaps too vanguard in the case of Fidel Castro & co but no one can doubt their credentials as serious revolutionaries.  
 
Cuba was already extremely wealthy during the period when the brutal fascist dictator and U.S. puppet Batista was in power--- the problem was that all this tremendous wealth which was derived from the exploitation of the people was in the hands of foreign corporations and the wealthy Cuban rulers maintained in power through the most violently repressive means in order to serve the interests of U.S. imperialism.

Certainly Puerto Rico is not free from U.S. dictate and is a haven for U.S. multi-national sweatshops exploiting the Puerto Rican people.

Most countries have tremendous wealth--- the real question is: Who owns and controls this wealth?

I do find it interesting that no one here has responded to my claim that the CIA looted and robbed every single bank in Cuba (including the contents of the safety deposit boxes) as the fascist creep Batista and his underlings made their escape from Cuba. Did this happen or did it not?

What happens to a country when its national wealth is stolen in this manner?

The U.S. CIA is nothing but a gang of murdering bank robbers--- is this not outright state sponsored terrorism?

Do we stand and laugh as thugs rob an elderly lady walking down the street and then reward the culprits while denying help to the victim? In essence, when the Cubans are mocked because they don't have a standard of living comparable to our own here in the United States, what we are doing is condoning the barbaric cannibalism of U.S. imperialism which thrives off the misery it creates for so many millions of people in Cuba and all over the world. 

Return Cuba's wealth that was stolen from the Cuban people who created this wealth in the first place through their sweat and hard labor and then let's see what Cuban socialism--- the Cuban people--- can accomplish.

End this dirty embargo against Cuba; open up mutually beneficial FAIR trade and then let's see what happens in Cuba.
 
+Alan Maki To characterize Fulgencio Batista as a US  puppet as well as claiming the US was responsible for looting Cuba during the exile waves of the Revolution shows you have absolutely no credibility whatsoever.  
 
I will let your response speak for itself, Mr. Gury.
 
+Humberto Capiro Yes. And one of the results now is that the Cuban expat community legitimately feel like they not only have a primary stake in what happens in Cuba but of course the rise of Miami as a major Latin capital city,  Again the two non-negotiables for the embargo to end: Fidel must die and the terms will be with the affirmation of the US Cubans. 
 
Very superficial analysis of Cuba. Very arrogant on your part to think that an official guided visit to Cuba would give you objective info to write an article. Mr. Schmidt, keep focused on your business and don't play the journalist about what you are an ignorant.
 
Isn't everyone entitled to express their opinion in a democracy without being intimidated, bullied and badgered? There has been a lot of criticism of Mr. Schmidt's posting about Cuba merely because he expressed the belief the embargo should end.

I think it is important to note that the criticism is for expressing this idea but not of this criticism comes with supporting arguments for maintaining the embargo.

What I see here in these comments is a lot of mocking Cuba because the socialist revolution hasn't provided the Cuban people with a level of wealth and standard-of-living the equivalent of what the well-heeled upper middle class of American people enjoy yet the embargo is preventing Cuba's socialist revolution from doing this.

Just leave Cuba alone and let them develop their country the way they want with open and fair trade and then we will see just what socialism has to offer... I think there are many people commenting here who fear just how well socialism can do in comparison to capitalism if it is allowed to develop free from hostilities.

Shouldn't we be turning our attention to helping people overcome difficulties rather than wasting our time and precious resources trying to make the lives of other people miserable?

The one thing I don't like about this entire discussion is that Mr. Schmidt made this post but he hasn't been willing to defend what he wrote as his writing has come under attack by all of these anti-communist Cuba haters.

Come on, Mr. Schmidt, re-enter the conversation you began with your blog post--- don't be intimidated.
 
Maria Lopez, I understand your position and like my parents you where displaced and lost everything, I am eternally indebted for the choice my famille made to leave Cuba in 1967, but Mr Schmidt's observations are valid.I have travels to Cuba recently and observed first hand what the current realities are there at present the most important area of progress is in the privet entrepreneurial sector. For the first time persons living on the island can make their own space, be it, working within a system that lacks the social contract and freedoms assured to us in the USA. We Cubans have a responsibility to focus on the present not the past as imperfect as things are in Cuba there are people there who get up ever day and face the obstacles of a system where everything is stacked against them as start up businesses yet they preserver. If Mr Schmit's observations are incorrect I think it would be better to inform him on the points you feel he needs further education than to insult him and his efforts.
 
Alan Maki, your comments are interesting and the tone and structure of your post seem suspiciously predisposed. I do not speak for Mr. Schmidt but it would seem to me that the objective and the optics of his comments are from the point of view of an entrepreneur and a digital futurist. His observations are well made and need no further clarification. Being Cuban and not a "Cuba Hater" nor a Communist or a Socialist I think the discussion on what political ideology Mr. Schmit prescribes to is out of place in this discussion. What is relevant are practical solutions for the improvement to internet services for the Cuban people at large and ways in which this objective can be funded given the current realities of US Cuban relations.
 
Mr. Sanchez, you state, "...the tone and structure of your post seem suspiciously predisposed."

What is "suspicious" about anything that I write?

I think I have been very forthright in declaring that I am for the Cuban people and that I am in support of their socialist revolution.

This isn't a one way street.

The Cuban people like people everywhere have a right to choose socialism.

If we here in the United States had a real democracy we would be able to engage in a discussion about whether or not we should choose the socialist path of peace, social and economic justice just as the Cuban people have done.

Insisting that Cuba should open up so that a bunch of imperialist warmongers and Wall Street profiteers can return to power is not an option.

Real freedom requires that there be an open exchange of ideas and opinions.

Polls show that almost half of the American people are opposed to capitalism and would like to have a discussion about the benefits socialism would provide.

Why does our corporate media only tolerate an anti-communist, anti-Cuban perspective in the proverbial "public square?" Is this democracy or hypocrisy?

Why is it we never hear from Cubans who support their socialist system? Are these not valid voices?

There must be a reason why the Cuban people so vigorously defend their socialist system and why they continually participate in the decision-making process to improve their socialist system.

I would note, that when I traveled widely in Canada I found that Canadians have no hatred towards the Cuban people or their socialist system--- they believe in live and let live; they believe in free, fair and open trade and exchanges of opinion with Communists from Cuba being provided a hearing.

While in Canada I met Che Guevara's daughter and many Cuban people. Cubans from all walks of life. Not once did I encounter any Cuban that had anything negative to say about Cuba or socialism. Not once did I encounter any animosity towards me because I am from the United States.

If we here in the United States had the same relationship with the Cuban government and the Cuban people as they do in Canada, we would be the better for it--- and so would the Cuban people.

I resent one group of anti-Communist Cubans trying to shove their views down my throat.

Even more I resent the fact that the only point of view from Cuba our government is willing to listen to is a bunch of anti-Communist, anti-Castro Cubans.

To be sure these anti-Communist, anti-Castro Cubans are entitled to their opinions--- however, they don't appear to have as much influence among the Cuban people as they do with our politicians here in Washington... but, then again, their money derived from all kinds of sleazy business operations can't bribe Cuban politicians like their dirty money bribes our politicians.

We hear the voices of these wealthy Cubans living in Miami but we never hear the voices of working class Cubans living in Cuba.

Surely there is some reason why Cuban working people were willing to get rid of capitalism and replace it with socialism--- aren't we entitled to hear from these Cuban people why they embarked on the socialist path after having capitalism forced on them? What about our freedom to hear these socialist voices from Cuba and not just the voices of Cubans who have chosen Miami as their home?
 
Mr. Maki I think many of your points are valid so this is why I suggest that the discussion on this post should focus on how we get the Cuban people more affordable and unrestricted access to the internet. What Mr. Schmidt had done is to open this discussion. What would you suggest would be a practical solution, for bringing unrestricted internet service to Cuba given the current relationship between the two nations. Also for the recorded I travel to Cuba regularly and am not part of any anti-Castro group. 
 
Mr. Sanchez; for millions of Americans the Internet is not "affordable."

First things first.

First the embargo must end.

I would hardly call an Internet controlled and operated by Wall Street investors for a profit an open and unrestricted internet.

For most Americans travel to Cuba is not a choice since the U.S. government makes travel to Cuba very difficult.

For many of us here in the United States we are not free to voice our opinions or concerns. Perhaps you have not heard, but we have a National Security Administration which collects every phone call and monitors our e-mails and the FBI and right-wing groups organize campaigns of hate against people who are for peace and having normalized relations with Cuba and the Cuban people.

As we have seen and heard, the NSA is using the Internet and digital communications in monitoring what foreign leaders and individual citizens all over the world are saying and doing.

Do you really think the Cuban government wants to give the United States one more tool and free reign to intervene and create more havoc in Cuba than the evil-doing that already takes place?

By the way; I found the Cuban people I met in Canada much more informed about what goes on in the United States than what Americans know about what goes on in Cuba. in fact, the Cubans I met were much better informed about what is going on all over the world than what we are here.

Are Google and Verizon prepared to install networks in Cuba leaving Cubans in control and leaving their profit motivation behind?
 
Mr.Maki you are very well informed and passionate about Cuba which is something that I commend you for and personally fills me with great joy. I understand your basic argument Cuba good! USA bad! All that aside; what can be done currently to improve the access to internet services for the average Cuban. What concert solutions would you put forth. What has to change in Cuba not the USA for that to become a reality? In my opinion the most cost effective solution will be to expand the mobile infrastructure to support email on smart phones. At present this service is in its infancy but with minimal investment it could easily be expanded . This will prove especially useful to the emerging entrepreneurial class of self employed workers and the newly sanctioned collectives. A company like Google could help in this area not only with the needed financial support but also with technical support.I await your response, please no more political rhetoric, give me some solid practical solutions, as ending the Embargo or Blockade, which ever you prefer calling it, is out of our control.
 
Mr. Schmidt is the one who should be answering this question if Google is prepared to do business with the Cuban government or perhaps some Cuban entrepreneurs. Let's hear from Mr. Schmidt what his answers to your questions are. Perhaps some Cuban bankers in Miami would like to invest in such a project?
 
Mr Maki you offer no constructive ideas all your responses are stock. Mr. Schmidt has done his part as the head of a multinational corporation he has laid it on the line. You keep insisting he enter the debate yet you offer nothing by way of a solution just hot air. In truth you are no different than the people you criticize and accuse of being "Cuba Haters" . Why would it have to be a banker from Miami, can't it be a Canadian banker? Again you are deflecting, offer one constructive none combative practical solution to the question at hand. What can be done to improve the access to internet services for average Cubans. I work every day with a team of people that give their time freely, all we do is look for ways to unite our nation, we deal with people like you on both sides of this issue on a regular basis. You are the type that are full of hate and self aggrandizement, if you truly have the best interest of the Cuban people in your agenda, as I do, then answer the question.
 
What do you do that is constructive,Mr. Sanchez? Sounds to me like you are looking for a way to undermine socialism and the Cuban government. Wall Street is the common enemy of us and the Cuban people. You are obviously looking for a way for Wall Street to get a foothold into Cuba. I doubt most Cubans living in Cuba want to exchange socialism for Wall Street dictatorship and exploitation.
 
Let's see: Google bars users from Cuba to access sites like Google Analytics, Google Earth, Google Destktop Search, Google Toolbar or Google Code Search, Google Voice and Video, parts of Gmail, Chrome, or Android.
‘You want to enter from a forbidden country’ is what you get when you try.

So, I guess it's Google, not the Cuban government that is trying to limit the access of cubans to the internet.

But Google isn't alone: Cisco, Borland, Oracle, Panda, all block access of Cuban users.

On the other hand, Cuba invested 70 million dollars on a fiber optic cable to connect the island with Venezuela so it can be able to provide better Internet access, as the relayed on satellite connexions, even though a lot of submarine cables are around Cuba: But they can't connect with these.

Google, too, "is controlled by an US office called OFAC". It is hard when your government prevents you from making business, relate, or even talk with Cuba. Perhaps it's the US that need more democracy, not Cuba.

So, Eric, I think you should have finished your post saying "Google has to do something that is hard to do politically, but it will be worth it".
 
Mr.Vieria I don't understand your post! What is your point ?I run a site in the USA and we get hundreds of emails from Cubans living on the island, over 90% have Gmail accounts in addition to Facebook. Also I visit Cuba regularly and have never had a problem connecting to my Gmail accounts. Some Google services are unavailable in Cuba but those are blocked locally. As to Android it is not a popular platform in Cuba most smartphone users prefer Apple IPhones which is the reason we developed all our apps for Cuba on that platform. I usually don't take the time to engage in comment posting but in this case I find the criticism being directed at Google is misguided. I think just the fact that representatives of a major US corporation have taken the time to visit Cuba on a fact finding mission and done it so openly is to be praised, further
Mr. Schmidt's straight up and well informed post covers all the bases, he is spot on when he asked that Cuba and the USA have to make difficult political concessions because if they are unwilling to do so nothing will change.
 
Cuba has never engaged in any activity against the United States. It is the United States that has been the aggressor towards Cuba. The United States government would just love to do to Cuba what it did to little Grenada. In fact, there was the Bay of Pigs attempt to invade Cuba.

The Cubans have made friendly attempts to engage the United States in normalization of relations over and over and over again.

Mr. Sanchez; you say you frequently go to Cuba. What are the Cubans telling you they want? Are you conveying to the United States government how the Cubans want to proceed? Let us know your first-hand experiences with the governments and enterprises from both countries.
 
I don' t communicate with either government but what I hear from the people is very consistently that. "The. People " want greater economic freedom and a higher stander of living basically that is what is at the core of what I am told. I've heard manny who have recently emigrated to the USA say that if that could be solved (greater economic independence) then they probably would not have left Cuba. Unanimously they blame the economic conditions on the Cuban government and feel that mismanagement is at the core of the problem. 
 
And what do people living in Cuba tell you if you ask them if they blame economic problems on the Cuban government and if they feel mismanagement is at the core of the problem/s?

Quite frankly, if someone will send me the funds to move to Cuba I will be on the next boat over. 
 
In general what most people say is that the core of the problem is a mid level management problem. Remember these people are the ones going to their government jobs and do not see the kind of cohesive management we take for granted in the USA. They see resources miss managed and they see their efforts and hard work go unrewarded.

Cubans that are self employed also have similar complaints mainly focused on the lack of wholesale outlets and the access to materials.

In truth manny relay on relatives and friends living offs the island for support.

Manny of the new laws are starting to alleviate these problems but the going is slow.

As to moving to Cuba I understand the attractiveness of living in Cuba in manny ways life is simpler there. A large member of Cubans who are retiring are relocating to Cuba. Manny from Miami although it is not reported.

I was originally planing to repatriate in order to set up the project I am working on but the realities of the restrictions that exist in Cuba made it more viable to work from the USA. If I had millions of dollars then the Cuba option would work and would be very helpful to manny Cuban entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest problems in solving the situation between Cuba and the USA is that no one in a position of power is really asking the average person what they want.

Most of the discussions are always about very large issues manny of which are driven mainly by ideology and not practical grassroots problem solving.

Both nations have an equal history of wrong doing towards the other at some point this has to stop because caught in the middle of it all are everyday individuals who are just trying to give themselves and their loved ones a decent existence.
 
Cuba has another guest:

Putin Meets Fidel Castro, Pledges Oil Exploration Aid

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to help revive Cuba's struggling offshore oil exploration on Friday at the start of a six-day tour of Latin America as Russia aims to reassert its influence on the communist-ruled island. Putin was joined in Havana by close ally and so-called Russian oil czar Igor Sechin, the chairman of state oil company Rosneft, to finalize a deal to explore for oil off Cuba's northern coast. The Russian president also promised to reinvest $3.5 billion of Cuban debt with Russia into development projects on the island, part of a deal in which Russia forgave 90 percent of Cuba's debt, or almost $32 billion. 

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11 in Havana.

Both measures inject much-needed foreign investment into Cuba and demonstrate an act of defiance against the United States, which maintains a 52-year-old economic embargo with Cuba. "We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba," Putin said.

Putin also met with former President Fidel Castro before receiving the Medal of Jose Marti, Cuba's highest decoration. Fidel Castro, 87, stepped down for health reasons in 2008 after 49 years in power. For an hour he and Putin discussed international affairs, the global economy and Russian-Cuban relations, the Kremlin said. 
 
Clearly for Cubans this is a win. My only concerns are ecological and the ramifications of a spill into the Gulf Stream in addition to the increase in political tension this will create between the USA and Russia.

We do not need another Cold War.

Further the average Cuban would prefer closer relations with the USA than a renewed partnership with Russia.

This is not my opinion it is a fact. 
 
Cubans have always preferred trade and cooperation based on mutual respect for their sovereignty with the United States. Too bad the United States government would rather punish the Cuban people for choosing the road to socialism.
 
Yes you are correct there has been historically a lack of respect present in the relationship between the two nations. Cuban sovereignty was not respected and the use of military force by Batista to change the out come of the elections usurped the democratic process in Cuba which lead directly to the revolution. Unfortunately this and other actions gives the US little moral authority in Cuba.

All this being true, it dose not excuse the leadership of the revolution for the past 50 pluses years of mismanagement and the lack of the development of a truly egalitarian society with a social contact that allows for free expression and open opposition to the party line.

The absence of real debate has and will continue to weaken Cuba's ability to prosper and progress to its proper place in the global community of the 21st century.

 

Eric, don't be evil. Open Google services to Cuba. Help them connect to the Net. Perhaps you will be arrested by the FBI. But those are the rules.
 
Vitor, I think you need to get your facts right. Access to the internet for Cubans from the USA providers already exist, the censorship is on the Cuban side. The objective of this discussion is to figure out what can be done from inside Cuba to achieve less expensive and more open internet access. Have you got any practical suggestions? I would be interested in hearing them if you do, as I run a site, dedicated to helping Cuban entrepreneurs maintain their start up business more effectively and greater internet connectivity is, as you know, a key factor in achieving success in today's global economy.

Also what rules are you referring to that would be broken by Google that would require FBI action? 
 
Leonardo Sanchez, I'm sorry for the delay  but I wasn't aware of your previous comment.

You said "Some Google services are unavailable in Cuba but those are blocked locally". Now, for blocked Google services, nothing is better than the source : https://support.google.com/a/answer/2891389?hl=en

About laws/rules: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helms%E2%80%93Burton_Act, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx (applies even when it's NOT an US-based company: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/19/4068790/company-fined-59-million-for-travel.html, http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=fb6c5200-b14f-4f90-96e4-1fa964dad106)

Suggestions to "achieve less expensive and more open internet access"? Well, just end the embargo. Then I'm sure that a lot of US companies will install submarine cables.

Nevertheless, Cubans are trying to keep updated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Information_Science, http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/EcuRed:Enciclopedia_cubana

BTW, Leonardo: you said "I run a site in the USA and we get hundreds of emails from Cubans living on the island, over 90% have Gmail accounts in addition to Facebook". So, it seems that Cubans CAN access the net. But not thanks to US laws - https://lists.debian.org/debian-user-portuguese/2006/11/msg00203.html

You also said: "Android it is not a popular platform in Cuba most smartphone users prefer Apple IPhones which is the reason we developed all our apps for Cuba on that platform." Interesting: reading the media, you may have the impression that there's no smartphones in Cuba...

Well, you can read this: http://lapupilainsomne.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/encuentro-mundial-de-blogueros-condena-bloqueo-a-cuba/; http://convencao2009.blogspot.pt/2013/05/cuba-aumenta-acesso-internet-apesar-do.html; http://chicosantannaeainfocom.blogspot.pt/2014/03/cuba-libera-acesso-e-mail-via-celulares.html.

Now: would it be so difficult to the US to let Cuba follow its own path? Has Cuba ever tried to invade US soil?
 
The embargo is good only for the cuban-americans living from it in the USA, and for the Cuban leaders who do not take resposibility when things go wrong in the country, and put the blame on the embargo (it's the perfect excuse).
It is the Cuban people who suffers (without being able to fight for anything else than mere survival, I might add), not the top leaders or their families, whom the embargo does not personally affect because the state gets them everything they need. IMO relations between US and Cuba are way too complex for a single person to make a significant difference, but I hope this visit has at least some influence.
 
I bet Castro would be a huge fan of the real name policy.  How has that been working out for Google+ lately?
 
The news that Cuba and Russia have plans to reopen the SIGINT base is profoundly troubling to me .

This represents a 180 turn around in the direction Cuba was headed, the seriousness of this can not be understated.

If Russia has plans of westward expansion the global repercussions will be dark and the USA may be forced to intervene in Cuba militarily in order to send a message to the rest of Latin America.

I have family in Cuba and know manny people who had high hopes of a better economic climate, that would in time usher in a more cohesive social contract.

Unfortunately I now think their plans will be dashed.

There are good reasons why none of the former Soviet Block nations in Eastern Europe want dealings with Russia. The current Ukrainian conflict is a good example.

Mr Putin is on a historical quest to reestablish the former glory of the Soviet empire. History has proven that this kind of crusade always ends in disaster.
 
Yes the USA has many bases in proximity to Russia. They are there as a result of the post WWII strategic realities. Then came a second wave of bases during the Cold War. The rest are as a result of new alliances with former Soviet block nations and Pacific Rim nations like Vietnam.

None of this has anything to do with Cuba.

The greatest divide between Cubans who originally backed the revolution and those who became opponents was the decisions to bring the Soviets into Cuba.

What most troubles me is that any activity outside of economic cooperation with Russia will result in negative long term consequences for the Cuban people.

Rightly or wrongly at some point the US will defend it's hemispheric interest. The outcome of this will be less than positive as it will mean proxy wars and pain and suffering for the people.

Mr. Putin has created a cult of personality in Russia, his objectives are imperialist his agenda is self serving and extremely dangerous. Cuba will be caught up in this demented campaign and the end game will not bring any thing but further tensions between the USA and Cuba.

The only winer will be Mr. Putin's ego.
 
Vitor I think we need to wait and see. The average Cuban dose not want Russians back on Cuban soil.

The invitation to bring missiles to Cuba caused great discord in Cuba, it escalated the tensions between the USA and Cuba, we do not need a repeat of that.
 
I guess, Leonardo, that you missed the point: Russia is NOT reopening that base in Cuba,so I think it's safe to say that Russians are NOT "back on Cuban soli".

But I decided to investigate a little.

What I found is that the "surprise" was initially published in the russian newspaper "Kommerzant", without any base. Then "The Nuevo Herald" published it as a "true" story. No matter for them that Putin himself has denied everything.

But he could be lying, of course. I don't trust him. Nevertheless, in this case I feel a great lot on certainity that he is saying the truth: I guess it could be difficult to reopen the facility, as it currently (since 2002) is the campus of the UCI (http://www.uci.cu/?q=historia)...

Also, we must recall that BBC said, back in 2011, that China was using it: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2011/01/22/bbc-reabre-base-sovietica-en-cuba-y-la-pone-en-manos-de-china/#.U8e3vEBrzTo.

BTW, Lourdes base worked (from 1967 to 2001) strictly under UN-created rules, as other stations all over the world, belonging to the USA, the UK, Australia, etc.

Even though I don't consider Wikipedia as a completely reliable source, I think the article about the 1962 crisis is sufficient as a starting point to find out what happened: "After the US had placed nuclear missiles in Turkey and Italy, aimed at Moscow, and the failed US attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime, in May 1962 Nikita Khrushchev proposed the idea of placing Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt."

Facts: after the removal of the soviet missiles, Kennedy pledged not to invade, or help someone to invade, Cuba (even though not enough on a firm way - check ttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/cuba/stories/history010792.htm). And the missiles in Turkey were removed in 1963.

Don't simply take my word for it, take Kennedy's: http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/Cuban-Missile-Crisis.aspx. It might also be interesting to read about CIA involvment on the Bay of Pigs invasion (http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/The-Bay-of-Pigs.aspx). Even the official US historian says interesting things: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/cuban-missile-crisis.



And to come back to the beginning, about Google censorship in Cuba: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2012/06/19/escandalosa-censura-de-google-a-cuba-medios-y-blogueros-de-la-isla-no-pueden-acceder-a-estadisticas/#.U8fEVEBrzTo. And remember that more than 400 videos on Cubadebate's Youtube channel were blocked, supposedly because ONE person claimed right about ONE video. Check. It's a fact.
 
Of course, people will only trust what they want, and I know that investigation is hard, it's easier if you simply eat the propaganda cake.
 
Vitor you need to step back from your facts and rationalize all of this from a humanistic perspective. I could careless who put missiles where first my personal position is that all the state actors involved historically and at present have only their agendas in mined.

Meanwhile the Cuban people continue to endure a piecemeal existence because of the egos and special interest of a few individuals.

I think everyone has a right to their opinion when it comes to Cuba the only thing I would ask is that when you take the time to respond think your answers through
and keep in mined that knowledge without compassion is pointless.

For the recorded I was fully aware of the origin of the story and I do not read the Nuevo Herald for the same reason I do not read Gramma, I don't have time for self serving propaganda. 
 
Me gustaría poder comunicarme con usted para plantear un posible negocio a google    angelonigro50@hotmail.com gracias
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If anyone wants to contact me directly with anything relevant to Cuba please feel free but other than that I would ask you refrain from using this post as a networking form. 
 
+Eric Schmidt Dick Tracy e' il protagonista di molte storie anche a carattere investigativo,specie articolate in "fumetti".Questo denota che hai una certa propensione ai ritorni di tempo infantile,comune un pò a tutti.
Detto questo non pensi che sia meglio valorizzare anche altri paesi del mondo,compresa l'Italia.Anche su questo aspetto risposta.O vuoi continuare a fare 47morto che non parla,oppure un animale cui possa dirsi :si e' carino ,ma gli manca solo la parola ???!!!!
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Le agradecería que algún día me escribiera,soy un gran admirador de su compañia,al igual que la mayoría de los jóvenes que trabajamos desarrollando software.
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Good to know Google has a following in Cuba!!!

Sent from my iPhone
 
Yeah. Look like Google does not block some services, so they can be used by Cubans. But it would be better if there was NO blockade.
 
Gracias por venir, segui de cerca la noticia aunque aqui no se le dio mucha cobertura, sobre todo gracias por abrir la descarga de Google Chrome para los cubanos, solo esperemos que pronto podamos acceder a servicios como Google Code, Google App Engine y que los desarrolladores cubanos podamos participar en el Google Summer Code... gracias, mi isla es una mina de oro...
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Kudos to Google for their noble approach bringing hope to the repudiated people of Cuba.

Technology is an essential tool and will offer the Cuban people a window to the world, but it is as important for the world to discover the brutality of the Castro regime and the absence of human rights in the island.

I’m in favor in helping the Cuban people in every way possible, however, I’m not in favor of supporting and continuing letting criminal minds (Castro) violate democracy in Cuba.
 
Hey, Alfredo, get out if the square. Your ideas are very biased from all
the right-wing US propaganda. Do you even know that it is Google that block
Cubans from accessing its tools, because the US givernment said they must?
Yeah - it is NOT the Cuban government. BTW, do you know that every Cuban
can emigrate? And that the US government stop that by demanding big money
for a visa request - and more if it is eventually conceded. But if you go
by sea, in danger, or if you "disside" while a sports star or a medic, the
US welcomes you... And which "human rights" are you talking about, anyway?
 
First and foremost, I born in Cuba and so I know the political landscape and the horrors of Castro’s dictatorship very well.

For those of us lucky enough to live in the United States of America, freedom of speech  seems a natural part of life; it’s a fundamental human right. Despite the fact that freedom of speech is a very basic human right, The Cuban people struggle with the oppression of this right on a daily basis.

If you sympathize with Castro’s repression, I suggest you move there and live under the same doctrine and see how you like it. 
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