Cuba and the internet: The battle of the blogs begins

According to government figures, only 3% of Cubans frequently use the internet, making the communist island the least connected place in the Americas. Those that do require patience: according to an industry survey, Cuba’s dial-up internet access is the world’s second-slowest, after Mayotte, a French territory in the Indian Ocean. Under the guise of rationing the use of bandwidth, internet access is banned in most private homes and censored in offices.For this sorry state of affairs, Cuba’s authorities have long blamed the United States’ trade embargo. They have a point. Although a fibre-optic cable, capable of carrying heavy data traffic, runs tantalisingly close to the island’s northern coast, George W. Bush’s administration blocked a proposal by AT&T to hook Cuba up to it. In 2009 Barack Obama authorised American companies to provide internet services to the island. But Cuba showed no interest in exploring the possibility. Instead it turned to its ally and benefactor, Venezuela.

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