Google’s New Cuban Tech Center Is a Symbolic Victory for Silicon Valley Elite

Silicon Valley has officially invaded Cuba. Cuban sculptor Alexis Leiva Machado, better known as Kcho, has helped Google open a small “technology center” in Havana that offers free internet via Chromebooks, complete with those goofy cardboard VR headsets.

The opening is a small but vitally important victory for both Google and the US State Department, both of whom would love to see US tech firms provide internet services on the island nation.

Brett Perlmutter, head of Google’s Cuban operations, has been courting the country along with other Google execs since at least June of 2014. Notably that was months before President Obama’s surprise announcement (a surprise to the American public, at least) in December of 2014 that the US would begin to normalize relations with the country.

The new technology center is opened to the press for a media event on March 21, 2016 (Associated Press)

As the Associated Press notes, the connection at the new Google “technology center” is provided by Cuba’s national telecom company. It wasn’t clear who financed the new high-speed fiber connection, though Kcho told the AP he paid for it himself without providing specifics.

Curiously, the new Google technology center also dons the logos of companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, and Apple’s Safari browser. The exterior of Kcho’s studio, which as been converted into a Google “technology center” (Associated Press)

Previously the US ran covert tech operations in Cuba, introducing “Cuban Twitter” from 2009 until 2012 with the aim of stirring a revolution. The messaging service, known as ZunZuneo (Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s tweet), was secretly financed by the US Agency of International Development and only became public after an investigation by the Associated Press.

But the State Department and Silicon Valley no longer need to force their way into the relatively isolated communist country. They’ve been let in the front door, thanks to the slow but significant normalization of relations with Cuba.

Google is still standing in the foyer, but they’ll no doubt be invited into Cuba’s dining room, basement, and bedroom in short order.

Source: Google’s New Cuban Tech Center Is a Symbolic Victory for Silicon Valley Elite

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About steventorresramos

I have over (24) years of Computer Aided Drafting & Design experience and over (16) years of IT experience. After graduating high school I attended a Technical College and earned an Associate Degree in Drafting & Design. I then enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico where I earned an A.S. in Civil Engineering Technologies. While attending the Univ. of Puerto Rico I worked as a freelance Drafter for a variety of architects and engineers. During my senior year I began to work for the firm Planning Management & Development in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Two years later I was offered the position at Mario Corsino & Associates, which later became InterGroup a medium size Civil Engineering, Architectural and Planning firm in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. At InterGroup I became assistant chief drafter where I was responsible for 20+ drafters & civil techs, and this is also where I began my IT training. In 2000 I decided to move to St. Petersburg, FL where I was hired as CAD Manager at Advanced Engineering & Design a small Civil Engineering firm established in 1998. Currently still employed by Advanced Engineering & Design I’m now the CAD/IT Manager. I have also continued to expand my knowledge base in both the IT & CADD fields through continued training, certifications, and attending Autodesk University. I’m currently an Autodesk Certified Professional proficient in AutoCAD, Civil 3D and various other Autodesk products. I have been the President of the Tampa Bay Autodesk Users Group (TBAUG) since late 2007 and a member of Autodesk Users Group International (AUGI) since 1996. I have an A.S. Degree in Computer Networking , a Bachelors of Applied Science in Technology Management and currently finishing work on my Masters in Computer Information Systems. I’m a licensed drafter in the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and a Microsoft Certified Professional. I hold certificates as a Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Server Administrator, Cisco Networking Associate Professional and Linux Administrator.
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