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Telecom Venezuela and the Cuban Transbit agreed last Jan, 24th, to build a 1,552 km long optic fiber cable between La Guaira (near Caracas) and Siboney (near Santiago de Cuba). The island will increase its communicational capabilities more than 2500 times from the actual, from 65MB/124MB (via satellite) to up to ten times the actual capacity of all the optic cables in the region (160GB/s).
This would at first seem like great news but a few flags have been raised (and more are still to be raised):
– Caracas owns Cantv, major local Internet access provider and Internet service provider – also major Telco (both mobile and fixed comms).
– According to Professor Antonio Pasqualli (Caracas, La Vanguardia), Cuba is, among Latin American countries, the one with the lowest amount of Internet connections (0.9 x 100 hab). He also notes how Cuba is between the 13 countries that censor the Internet the most and how Cuba’s telephonic density is in the very lowest worldwide.
– Cuba is several decades behind some of its neighbors, technologically speaking.
– Cubans do not have access to the Internet; only very few well positioned members of the government do and their access is pretty much restricted and filtered.
So, where’s the need for developing such a monstrous cable? Why is it a must for them to increase their access to the Net in such a dramatic way? Some say that emails that are sent through cantv.net are already being monitored; now they fear that Chavez may start monitoring all sorts of communications going to or coming from Venezuela.
Pasqualli adds that there’s far from being enough traffic between the island and Venezuela as for the cable being a real need; quoting him, he says «…this is a suspicious madness. With a tenth of the capacity of that cable it is possible to detour all Venezuelan communications to Havana and spy them and filter them». Imagine all the things that can be done with a cable that allows the transportation of 20 millions of simultaneous phone calls and 26,000 TV channels (at least according to official statements).
According to Julio Duran, CEO (President) of Telecom Venezuela, the cable will also provide connectivity to several Caribbean countries, including some small islands, Colombia and Brazil at a later stage.
Despite the political disputes regarding Cuba, Venezuela and their strengthening relations, I can only end this post by stressing the need for us all to keep on securing all of our communications. I definitely do not want my emails and my traffic to pass through the eyes of some foreign political police force.
Carlos S. Álvarez
blogladooscuro @ gmail.com