Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cuba launches its own search engine

considering only 2% of cuban's use the internet, this is a beginning, small, but a beginning ... lol

Cuba launches its own search engine
18th Feb 2007 Tech News / TechWhack

Cuba has built its own search engine service which indexes speeches by Cuban leader Fidel Castro and other government sites.

This search engine is located at It was launched at a conference this week and showcases the fact that the internet freedom is restricted in this nation.

Cubans are not free to buy computers freely and the internet access is limited to state employees, academics and foreigners.

This newly launched search engine can search Cuban servers, or the Cuban intranet which includes as many as 150,000 government sites and the state-run media.

The creator of this search engine Leandro Silva said in a statement: “The aim is to search Cuban Web sites without having to rely on foreign engines.”

Cuba masters trick of harnessing the Web
February 18, 2007 / NorthJersyNews

A while back, while researching my family history for a magazine article on genealogy, a cousin gave me the email address of our mutual third cousin in Cuba.

With Internet access highly restricted by the Castro regime, I was at first surprised that he had an email address. After learning he is a surgeon, I figured that doctors get privileges other Cubans don't.

We exchanged a couple of messages. I had more information about our family than he (his great-grandfather and mine were brothers who emigrated from Spain to Cuba, probably in the 1870s), so he was very interested in reading my article. After it was published, I emailed him the Web address where it appeared.

He wrote back asking me to send the article via email. The Cuban government, he explained, gives him an email account at the hospital where he works, but he gets no Web access there or at home.

The absurdity of telling a surgeon that he may not use the World Wide Web to keep up with the latest medical advances is only matched by the absurdity of keeping practically an entire country offline.

Yet such is state policy in Cuba. A report this year by Reporters Without Borders says that less than 2 percent of Cuba's population is online, making it "one of the most backward Internet countries."

To go online, Reporters Without Borders says, most Cubans must use "public access points such as Internet cafes, universities and 'youth computer clubs,' where their activity is more easily monitored" and where computers "contain software installed by the Cuban police that triggers an alert message whenever 'subversive' keywords are spotted."

Want to avoid political cybercops? Connect illegally, and you face five years in prison.

That's just for the average Jose who wants nothing more than to surf the Web for last night's Yankees-Bosox score. The handful of brave dissidents who challenge the regime "can get 20 years in prison for writing 'counter-revolutionary' articles for foreign Web sites," the study says.
One dissident, Guillermo Fari has been on a hunger strike since Jan. 31 to demand the government let Cubans go online freely. Through the years he has stopped eating a number of times to call the world's attention to other problems in Cuba, like prison conditions, corruption and the general absence of liberties taken for granted elsewhere. This time he is getting more coverage.

No matter. The regime reaffirmed its restrictive Internet policies Monday in a speech by Ramiro Valdes, named minister of informatics and communications by Raul Castro shortly after brother Fidel went into the hospital.

Showing that he has not softened since the years he headed Castro's apparatus of repression as minister of the interior, Valdes opened an international conference on communication technologies by insisting Cuba must restrain "the wild colt of new technologies" because the Internet is "one of the tools for global extermination" wielded by the United States.

Well, maybe Valdes is so hard-line he prohibits himself from browsing the Web. Only someone who does not go online often can possibly believe the Bush administration -- or anybody, for that matter -- controls the wildest, freest, most open medium that has ever existed.

Just as funny is the line where Valdes, the architect and enforcer of one of the world's least democratic cyberpolicies, actually says, "Knowledge is the heritage of all humankind, and it is essential to democratize access to information resources."

The marvel of it is that among admirers of this party line are people who live in democracies and call themselves defenders of the oppressed. I remember reading with amusement a couple of years ago that the pro-Castro group Pastors for Peace was asking Americans to donate computers "destined for disabled Cuban children."

Ah, yes. Make a gift of your old PC, and those disabled Cuban children finally will have the technology Yanqui imperialists cruelly deny them. The regime will be thankful. Just don't try checking the Yankee score, kids.