She pointed out in her opinion article that Google continues to provide access to the regime, but hasn’t done the same for the common people on the island. In 2016, the company announced it was planning to configure wifi access and bandwidth access on the island. However, it seems that the company has become “disinterested in the Cuban struggle for freedom of expression” that increased Internet access would address.
“Cubans can not access the Cuba Decide website, and Google is to blame,” O’Grady said, referencing the political reform initiative website.
“Google began to make great promises to Cubans,” she continued, “and boasted that the company was ‘delighted to partner’ with a museum owned by the regime, and an artist approved by Castro.”
“Google should have understood that the dictatorship had no interest in mass access to the Internet,” she went on, referring to the attempt by Google CEO Brett Perlmutter to build a digital infrastructure across the island. The Cuban regime has reportedly rejected various proposals for improving the internet, arguing that it could be used by “imperialists” to “destroy the revolution.”
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“In December 2016, Google sealed an agreement with Castro’s monopoly telecommunications company (and internet service provider) Etecsa to put Google’s servers in Cuba. Google launched the servers in April, emphasizing the enhancement they bring to video viewing as they allow Google to store content locally.”
However, O’Grady said that internet access in Cuba remains tightly controlled and, according to the 2017 ‘Freedom in the World’ report, the regime has repressed ‘various independent digital media’ sources, and often blocks blogs and other critical websites.