Something like 95 percent of Cubans can’t get online, but this hasn’t stopped some from building their own Internet. As the tech scene continues to boom, savvy entrepreneurs push against the government to give the people what they want and need: food and the ability to get rid of their crap. Cuban versions of Yelp and Craigslist have become part of the changing landscape. As of this week, Cuba has also gotten its own super specialized version of Google, www.redcuba.cu. CUBA was created by 17 students and staff members from the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas. Since more and more websites are adopting .cu domains, CUBA aims to make it easier to find all of them under one place through categories like entertainment, news, health, and sports, and it even features a colorful logo, much like Google.
There are currently more than 500,000 indexed pages and almost 7,000 .cu websites, according to Radio Cubana. Google, on the other hand, crawled 30 trillion webpages a month in 2013. The Cuban government has been resistant and distrustful of companies who have tried to connect them to the rest of the world through Wi-Fi. José Ramón Machado Ventura, a vice president for the Council of State, told Juventud Rebelde Internet is important, but it has to be on their terms. “There are some people who want to give it to us for free, but not for Cuban people to communicate but to penetrate us and do ideological work for a new conquest,” he said. They didn’t name names, but Google is rumored to be one who tried to work with Cuba.
Despite these more suspicious sentiments, there is at least one place offering free Wi-Fi to residents, becoming a sort of hot spot for the country’s youth. The Havana Cultural Center’s Internet connection may be slow, but it’s capable enough to handle Facebook and video chat.