A Google spokesperson confirmed that Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt led a group to Cuba and spent Sunday touring Cuba’s University of Information Sciences. The trip according to the spokesperson was to promote a free and open Internet. The team from Google viewed the University of Computer Sciences and met with students in a discussion without cell phones or notebooks to record the session.
Cuba’s 14yMedio which was started only a month ago by Cuban blogger Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, reported some details of the visit. She told the Huffington Post that the Google executives visited her office and met with her and some of her people. No cell phones appeared and no one checked any device for the Internet according to Sanchez in her blog.
The situation in Cuba is that only government- approved professionals and specialists can have Internet access which is roughly 2.6 million people of the 11 million people in Cuba. Schmidt did release a comment that both countries must open up economically and politically. It is time for the US embargo to end.
Sanchez reported on her blog that Schmidt and Jared Cohen the co-authors of The New Digital Age, published last year, met with her and others. Schmidt and Cohen have been on the road speaking with leaders about the open Internet.
Schmidt has been vocal that Google's broader mission is to show the advantages of the Internet to repressive regimes in order to gain support for open communications and cease of embargo in the case of Cuba. Schmidt did the same last year with a trip to North Korea and the same message of an open Internet.
The Obama administration has showed more interest in opening a dialogue with Cuba. Cuba has already set up and active fiber optic cables from Cuba to Jamaica and Venezuela. In a move of progressive times there are one hundred new Internet cafes in the country. Still, Internet access remains too expensive for most people in the country due to the low income and restricted business opportunities.