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Censorship Communications Google The Internet United States Politics

Eric Schmidt and Entourage Pay a Call On Cuba 190

VentureBeat reports that the unofficial Google ambassador to the world has made another significant visit to a place where Internet access is either forbidden or impractical for most of the citizenry; hopefully it heralds change on that front. Continuing his tour of countries with authoritarian governments and less-than-favorable Internet access, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a secret visit to Cuba yesterday. The U.S. government has forbidden its citizens from traveling to Cuba or spending any money within the country since cold war tensions in the 1960s. Even though the cold war is over, the ban remains in effect, which is why Schmidt’s visit is significant. Unofficially (meaning not on behalf of his company), the powerful Googler has also made controversial visits to North Korea and Myanmar to promote Internet freedom, and has previously spoken out against online censorship happening in both China and India. Schmidt, says the article, "was joined by a crew of former Google employees as well as author Jared Cohen."
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Eric Schmidt and Entourage Pay a Call On Cuba

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  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by bananaquackmoo ( 1204116 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @09:58PM (#47347403)
    It is NOT impossible to LEGALLY visit Cuba. My friend did it in a study abroad program during college in the US. That said, they don't make it easy.
  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:01PM (#47347423)

    Restrictions are on commerce not travel.

    You can go there as long as you don't spend any money.

  • by mattyj ( 18900 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:21PM (#47347501)

    I took one of these person-to-person trips to Cuba two years ago and it was pretty awesome. It's nice to travel somewhere that hasn't been ruined by American interests yet (no Starbucks, no McDonald's, etc.) It wasn't that difficult, you can find tours through chambers of commerce or other travel groups.

    The restrictions are not extremely enforceable, but know that the Cuban government is looking after you, too. Don't make an ass of yourself while there. In any case, roving around the country in an air conditioned tour bus was quite desirable, it was hot.

    Aside from that, if you have some cultural relevance (teacher, sports figure, musician) you can go without it being a 'person-to-person' cultural exchange, I think you just have to clear it with the US Treasury. My guess is that Schmidt et al were able to do that, to spread the good word of a truly American company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:41AM (#47348117)

    You are fucking retarded. NO ONE will do business with Cuba, because of the embargo (that'd be like killing their own business). The embargo means that no one that does business with the US can do business with Cuba.

  • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @04:41AM (#47348557) Journal

    Actually, a lot of people just go through an intermediary country. Book a flight to Mexico City, then from Mexico City to Cuba. The Cuban customs will even give you the "stamp" on a piece of paper they staple on your passport. After you leave you can rip it out and the US government never needs know.

    Why you would do this when visas are still available is beyond me, but people do do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:43AM (#47349655)

    I'm a cuban living in Cuba (not a cuban-american). There is a mistake in your reasoning. Cuba, unlike the much of rest of the world, isn't allowed to borrow money from banks that have any (In practical terms) relations with US banks (or banks owned by US Banks), or banks that who's business is bigger with the US than with little Cuba. So Cuba has to buy "with cash in hand" in most cases -unlike the rest of the third world-. Many times in secret, to avoid any fears of retaliation -sorry for my bad English I know that is not the right word, but I don't remember any better right now- to the other part of the transaction. When I said "retaliation" I mean lost business with US enterprises due to the embargo... Multiply that by EVERY enterprise that has ANY US interest... Now you are getting the picture. And yes, there is corruption in the goverment, but small time, comparatively speaking. (Some "juniors" in mexico/colombia/etc. live much much better than ANY official in the cuban goverment)

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.