.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Thursday, 17 July 2008

"The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it" - Cuba

Is an old saw (from activist John Gilmore) and nowhere is this more appropriate than in this article from WikiLeaks (an excellent site which everybody should bookmark) about Cuba' ongoing attempt to get better (read: faster)Internet access as they're still embargoed by the US from accessing any existing links:


Cuba to work around US embargo via undersea cable to Venezuela
JULIAN ASSANGE (investigative editor)
Wednesday July 15, 2008
From Santiago de Cuba to La Guaira : Cuba will be connected to the Internet by 2010

Page one of the Cuba-Venezuela confidential contract annex

According to the Vice Minister of Telecommunication, Boris Moreno, the government is unable to offer Cubans comprehensive Internet for their new Pcs because the American embargo prevents it from getting service directly from the United States nearby through underwater cables. Instead, Cuba gets Internet service through less reliable satellite connections, usually from faraway countries including Italy and Canada.

— Cuba blames US for Internet restrictions, AP Newswire 16 May 2008[1]
Documents released by Wikileaks reveal that Cuba and Venezuela signed a confidential contract in 2006 to lay an undersea fibre-optic cable that bypasses the United States. The cable is to be completed by 2010.
The contract between the two countries, which has been independently verified, adds weight to Cuban statements that the United States economic embargo of the island has forced it to rely on slow and expensive satellite links for Internet connectivity. Cuba is situated a mere 120 kilometres off the coast of Florida. The proposed 1,500 kilometre cable will connect Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad to the rest of the world via La Guaira, Venezuela.
Carrying out the work are CVG Telecom (CorporaciĆ³n Venezolana de Guyana) and ETC (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba).
The leaked documents have technical details and pictures of the cable, maps, and systems to be used, parties signing the agreement, terms and conditions, costs, and a schedule of charges and compromises. The connection allows for the transmission of data, video and voice (VoIP). According to the contract, the agreement is designed to build a relationship of "strategic value" which will permit Cuba and Venezuela to, among other matters:
Increase interchange between the two governments.
Foster science, cultural and social development.
Increase the volume and variety of relationships between country members of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for America) and the South American MERCOSUR trading block.
Help serve the increasing demand of commercial traffic between Cuba, Venezuela and the rest of the world.
The contract parties state that given the diversity of foreign affairs, they wish to build a new international order, multi-polar, based in sustainability, equity and common good and that an international cable with maximum security protected by international organizations (ITU/ICPC) is crucial.
The documents disclose plans to separate commercial traffic and governmental traffic upon data arrival.
Fibra optica entre Venezuela y Cuba 2006 - full documents obtained by Wikileaks
Cuba-Venezuela Communications Project On the Move - June 9, 2008 Cuban government statement