Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Google disabling applications for Cuban users'

Cuba's official Juventud Rebelde newspaper has criticised Google for blocking access to certain applications, including the Zeitgeist search trends tool, for users on the island.

"Even though Google has a domain for Cuba (.cu), Zeitgeist appears to bypass the Caribbean archipelago in offering its results," the official daily of the Cuban Communist Party's youth organisation said Thursday.

The US-based information provider has also blocked Cubans' access to Google Earth, Google Desktop Search, Google Code, Google Toolbar and Chrome, Juventud Rebelde said.

"It appears that for Google, which, according to its creators has the goal of making possible mass access to information, we Cubans do not count," Juventud Rebelde said, without mentioning the numerous restrictions that the Cuban government places on Internet access.

"This is not the first time, and will almost surely not be the last, that Google contradicts its own 'philosophy' and joins in the US embargo against Cuba, even going against the statements made by the current president, Barack Obama, who said he was committed to facilitating access to new technologies for Cubans," the newspaper said.

Juventud Rebelde accused Washington of "blocking and increasing the cost of purchases of technological equipment" needed to develop the Internet in Cuba, and of "orchestrating campaigns to damage the prestige" of the island and "creating cyber mercenaries", a reference to dissident bloggers like Yoani Sanchez.

State media regularly criticise US Internet firms, without ever mentioning that Cubans cannot have Internet access at home and service providers must block access to hundreds of websites that the authorities do not like.
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