The informatization of the society, a Cuban priority

Cuba has been and is determined to connect with the world, regardless the propaganda against it, the economic blockade, the intensified monitoring and the fourth generation warfare. The decision has been made to not only drink from this immense fount of knowledge that is the “information highway”, but also putting in it the best of our culture, education, knowledge and humanism, which are the foundational core of the Cuban Revolution and the thinking of its leaders.

The informatization, put into practice several years ago, proves the political will of the country to take, each day, the new technologies closer to the population, which is legalized in the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Politics of the Party and the Revolution that determine the transformations in course, and depart from the idea that it is not possible a prosperous and sustainable society without subordinating to such objectives the tools that guarantee the access to knowledge, efficiency, productivity and excellency. 

Likewise, the First National Conference of the Party established as one of its objectives “to profit of the advantages of the information and communication technologies, as tools for the development of the knowledge, the economy and the political and ideological activity; exposing the image of Cuba and its truth, as well as to fight the subversive actions against our country”.

During the last years the developments in the connectivity in Cuba have been oriented to the creation of capabilities in the telecommunications infrastructure, aimed at potentiating social connectivity and developing automatized management of strategic sectors such as: the financial banking, the electroenergetic, transportation and macroeconomic development projects, like the Special Zone of Economic Development of Mariel and the Petrochemical Sector of Cienfuegos.

Considerable investments destined to the extension and modernization of that infrastructure have allowed not only to open services like mobile services and internet, but also to give them a social use, in many cases prioritizing and subsiding these facilities in sectors such as: education, science, health, culture and scientific development. 

A concrete example of these programs is the one destined to the creation of an infrastructure of storage and information processing, by means of the modernization of the data centers of the country, besides the creation of a network that foresees connectivity possibilities through fixed and mobile computer means (cell phones, tablets and laptops).

In that sense, management and entrepreneurial mechanisms have been established that guarantee the technological sustainability and sovereignty for the massive supply of internet access services.

The trial test has been to open 154 Public Navigation Rooms, spread throughout the national geography, previous to the generalization of the data services that will allow the country to arrive to the commercialization of the broadband (access to the network faster and with more facilities), on which we are working right now. To that we owe that Cuba has already 3 million users with access to the network that includes institutional platforms, emails and Internet; has a similar number of cell phone users, of which more than a million have access to email through their cell phones.

The extension of the possibilities of connectivity in multiple spaces that will include libraries and Post Offices, adds to other initiatives like the distribution of contents through cell phones and the development of platforms for university and institutional networks, which could extend its services to the entire society, currently in stage of development and implementation.

These among other measures are the results of the gradual implementation of 26 projects that conform the national computer platform Red Cuba, designed to ensure in a sovereign way the presence of contents produced by the country with quality, diversity and representativeness, managed and administered by Cuban entities, in order to satisfy the needs of information and services of the society, as well as guaranteeing the access to the international networks. 

The strategy conceives, besides, the creation of new capabilities to access the wireless technologies, the integration and organized use of the institutional data networks, like in the sector of health, education, superior education and culture, known by the Cuban users (INFOMED, RIMED, REDUNIV y CUBARTE), that will be hosted in high performance servers that will facilitate its potentialities of use. It also comprises the development of videogames and multimedia of educational and historic content, as well as the update of the normative basis on the use of information and communication technologies.

Parallel, the introduction of the digital television in the country is moving forward, anteceded by an ample process of development of the communications infrastructure that reduces to almost zero the dead zones and modernizes the television service. This process is going at the same pace as the developments in this sector at the international level. 

The introduction of the digital land TV – translated to the population as “the little box” – implies the execution of important investments during 2013 and 2014. In a first stage it has allowed that the 35 transmitters installed comprise the entire province of Havana, the capitals of each province and some near municipalities, and cover a potential area of approximately 5 million viewers. Currently are being transmitted eight channels, as well as six radio stations and a channel of data, as aggregated value. 

For 2015 we have foreseen the installation of 17 new transmitters in order to continue enhancing the coverage of this service, the acquisition of equipment to transport the signal and television production, as well as four laboratories for universities with telecommunication faculties.  Likewise it will continue the digitalization of the televise production that ICRT has already started with five telecasters and the informative system, and also an equipped study with the new technology and the acquisition of a mobile unit of high definition, we foresee this will improve the services offered to the population.

These processes are not alien to deficiencies and vulnerabilities that generate critics and dissatisfactions in the population that each day demands more and better services, a challenge that goes beyond the sector of telecommunications and involves most institutions and the society in general.

In the implementation of these projects, the Revolution has had to face not only the limitations that the worsening of the blockade imposes, but also the hostility of some offices of the government of the United States and isolated elements that cling to the employment of the communication and information technologies to subvert and try to change our political system. Added to this the increasing damages caused to the nation by cybernetic events, mainly computer attacks with repercussions to the national security of the country and the international security.

As the very same American press has revealed, the government of the United States has moved to this sector the highest part of the budget dedicated to the ideological and political subversion and destabilization of the interior order of the country. Among the most divulged actions is ZunZuneo, a messaging network parallel to the national services that aimed at sending contents against the Cuban government. Most recently, came to light public revelations about secret programs employed by emissaries of different countries to promote enemy actions oriented to the study and identification of young people that could turn into potential “agents of change”, as well as trying to attract Cuban artists to their subversive actions.

Despite all dangers, far from alienating the nation, it has been created the infrastructure and the legal and institutional framework to defend the country and guarantee the viable development of the informatization of the Cuban society. At the same time, we want to potentiate the international cooperation in this matter.

 Cuba moves forward in the secure informatization of the society, with no rush, but without pause, aware that the era of Internet and the new technologies must be an ambit for learning and development, inclusive and also secure, to guarantee the invulnerability of the Revolution, the defense of the culture and the sustainable socialism that builds our people.

From Granma