Trump, the "Fake News" and the Cuba Internet Task Force

Just as it had been announced a week ago the Department of State summoned last Wednesday February 7th the first meeting of the Task Group dedicated to "increase" access to "information" and internet in Cuba.

As the official note reports at the website of the Department of State, the "Internet Team of Cuba made up by government and non-government representatives during next year will examine the technological challenges and opportunities to expand Internet access in Cuba with the objective of helping the Cuban people to enjoy the free and not regulated flow of information".

The new Cuba Internet Task Force is presided over by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Statefor the Western Hemisphere, John S. Creamer, and besides the Department of State, for other entities like the Cuba Broadcasting Office, the Federal Commission for Communications, the National Administration of Telecommunications and Information of the Commerce Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Freedom House and the Information Technology Industry Council. All of them, as it’s known, with backgrounds in the history of subversive war of the United States against Cuba.

According to several sources, to the meeting held under fluorescent illumination at a conferences room in the basement of the Department of State, several representatives of the so-called Cuban opposing groups and local entities that promote the full restitution of diplomatic relationships attended.

As expected, AP reported, the "opposers", responding to the voice of their master, they used the public space to charge against the Cuban government, making comparisons with the Second World War and with governments from Syria and Iran.

However, and according to AFP, the representatives of the American civil society were not very impressed with the outlined objectives.

According to French agency, lawyer Tony Martínez questioned that? There isn’t in the Department of State any specific group on internet on any other country. Why? Do they believe this is the way to attain the expected changes??

The same source highlighted that activist Cheryl LaBash pointed out that in Detroit, her city in 2015 the 40% of the population didn’t have access to internet. I think that the best way of improving access to internet in Cuba would be to negotiate with the Cuban government in a respectful way. Have any of you been in Cuba? LaBash’s question to the members of the group only receive silence for an answer.

The always present topic of the so-called "independent" media on its defense some argued that any North American plan would backfire because it would undermine the independence and credibility that it’s perceived in the flourishing "independent" media in Cuba.

On the other hand, the leader of the group, Undersecretary of State John Creamer who must deliver a final report by late October with recommendations to the Secretary of State and the President, remarked that the Cuban government leaks and blocks websites in an attempt to prevent Cubans from having the opportunity to criticize Cuban institutions and politicians. These sort of aggressive acts have a chilling effect in the exercise of freedom of speech.

Speaking of freedom of speech, the new task force created by the U.S. government for the media subversion against Cuba, it should concentrate its efforts and resources to take care of the problems that in this regard the United States face at present.

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein alerted in Geneva: "the freedom of press and the integrity of journalists are at stake in the United States under the Administration of President Donald Trump.

"Trump is undermining the freedom of press, while dangerous events already in motion could lead to an increase of violence against journalists", said Zeid in that opportunity.

The official spoke of Trump’s constant accusations that the media produce fake news, the famous term coined by the leader to refer to lies or false news, and his repeated verbal attacks against the newspapers The New York Times, The Washington Post or the television CNN.

On top of that, in January this year, the International Press Institute (IPI) announced that it will carry an international mission to the United States to evaluate the changes in the media and the freedom of press panorama and expose its concerns to the related authorities.

IPI, like the entire world, doesn't see with very good eyes those repeated attacks against journalists and media during Trump’s presidential campaign that included verbal harassment and denial of press credentials.

For anyone with some brains is highly counteractive and paradoxical that the first censor of the United States evaluates in October the "freedom of speech" in Cuba. There isn’t greater machinery of "fake news" than the one usually used by the sort of task force groups like the recently created against Cuba against those countries that don't bend before the imperial hegemony, like the cases of Venezuela, Iran or Syria.

It will certainly be unethical to criticize the fake news at home while they create media machineries to export to other nations.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasí Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Phubbing Phenomenon: "So Close, Yet so Far"

Paradoxes of new Technologies of Information and Communications. To establish a middle ground in its use is imperative today.

"Do your bed, do the dishes after breakfast and go to the supermarket", says the mother to her young son before leaving fast for work. Ramón listened careful, but in the afternoon when she returns from work all is still untouched. He seated at his computer and hooked to his cell phone forgot about the world around him.

New technologies of information and communications (ITC) have been a real "blessing", mainly in professional environments. It would be unthinkable today to carry out certain actions or tasks, because in fact it has been "humanized", the intellectual work, so to speak.

But as any stage of life it has brought its inconveniences. Besides addiction in which many have been "entangled", it has also generated the so-called phubbing (term formed by the words phone and snubbing), which can be defined as the act of an individual or person to ignore its environment to concentrate on his mobile, either a cell phone, tablet, portable PC, or another smart device.

The phenomenon has spread worldwide, our country is not foreign to that, therefore it’s evident today in public places where, especially, Wi-Fi spots have been enabled. Many youngsters "fall" to the gifts of online communication and put little or no attention at all to what surrounds them.

Unplugged from the Surroundings and Connected to the Net

According to the information reviewed in Internet, phubbing appeared in year 2007 - at the same time smart phones appeared - and among the causes of its "birth" could be mentioned the addictive state new technologies have in a psychological and indirectly physiologic field, causing lack of attention to the surrounding environment and focusing on the virtual world.

Carola Junquera, student of Media and Entertainment Management, in an Argentinean university, explains it in an easy way to understand: "Disconnected from the surrounding environment and connected to Internet, so close, yet so far"

At present - she explains - technological devices occupy a significant space in the life of many individuals, especially adolescents. They don't know their life without internet, without television, without computers, without video games and without cell phones because they were born in the digital era.

"Before going to sleep, in class, in family reunions and/or with friends, in traffic, in times of waiting and at leisure, without caring where, when, neither with whom, youngsters are always facing a screen, in permanent contact with Information Technologies and Communication (ITC) ".

A connoisseur in the topic considers that on one hand ITC are tools that facilitate permanent contact with the other, and at the same time, they hinder the encounter body to body. Likewise, he affirms that its responsible use allows communication in all senses; it widens its reach and keeps the interpersonal encounter.

Does Connection imply Communication?

Object of study and theme of several investigations, phubbing has found a better "accommodation", in fact, in the child-juvenile public, in those born in the era of telecommunications and computer science development.

Some specialists acknowledged that today they are losing values and communication capacity among the youngest, although it’s undeniable that there is a greater access to information.

"(…) face-to-face communication still holds a fundamental weight for social interaction, but communication using ITC is more and more frequent. We find the virtual world simpler, faster, more effective and even almost more natural", stressed psychologist Arturo Clairá.

As Clairá says one of ITC’s main benefits is that it brings closer those who are faraway, but one of its threats is that they drive us away from those we have closest.

Specialists stand out the difference between being "communicated" and being "connected". "At present - he says - we are very connected and not very communicated. ITCs connect us, but they don't communicate us and as consequence we miss the real world, true experiences, close bonds, of looking at each other’s face, we miss our life."

The "abuse" of new technologies, a problem of today

According to consulted data, one out of four people suffers a problem related with the abuse of new technologies. Although it’s recognized that ITCs impact both youth and adults alike, it’s not less true that youths take the lead, for everything explained earlier.

Specialists and doctors see greater danger in the seclusion in which “fall” the limitless consumers of ITC and, in certain way, they establish a near relationship with the so-called Syndrome of Autistic Spectrum. The youngest tread into the world of video games and, sometimes, they are not able to tell the reality of what they see on their screens.

With the question of what to do, some say a review of themselves, since almost always children imitate all they see at home, besides the point of whether they were born with the new technologies. It’s recognized that the personal example is "the best remedy" against this sort of behaviors.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, academic, and teachers from Special Education endowed with great importance - for this and other behavior dysfunctions - to the realization group activities and outdoors, to face-to-face verbal communication, to team work, to collaborate with other people, to practice sports. In short, to socialize and share personal experiences.

Let’s keep in mind that there’s a wonderful and unique world outside mobile screens, computers and other smart devices due to the possibilities its apps provide us. There are tiny details, simple pleasures that change life.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Cuba: WiFi zones to boost participation of the youngest population

The next opening of three new WIFI zones in Santa Clara, throughout the current summer period, will respond to ETECSA’s projection to boost surfing for children and youth.

The next opening of three new WIFI zones in Santa Clara, throughout the current summer period, will respond to the projection of the Telecommunications Enterprise of Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) to boost domestic websites surfing for children and young people.

In statements to ACN, Dianitsy Barreto, ETECSA’s communication specialist in the province, said that the imitative seeks to make visible the contents made from and about Cuba and that nurture this age segment with knowledge: Ecured and Cubaeduca are two of these platforms, for example.
 
Although they have the same characteristics as the connection spots already installed in several sites in Villa Clara, the aim is to educate them when choosing the contents, and the focus falls on the places where they will be located.

According to Barreto, the first inauguration is foreseen at El Parque de la Audiencia, but later it will be transferred to the nearby Pioneers Palace, currently in renovation stage; as well as outside the Augusto César Sandino stadium on its third-base side, which therefore will light up most of the sports facility.
 
Then, the third zone would be in the vicinity of the Camilo Cienfuegos Zoo Park and in some way they all join together to strengthen the reanimation program of the central region “Villa Clara con Todos” (Villa Clara with All), Barreto added.
 
Seeking the inclusion of children and youth, no matter others wish to use the service, with emphasis on the domestic surfing also responds to the reduction of this modality to 0.10 CUC/hour, since March this year, and is another of the options facilitating web access to users.
 
Barreto explained the new tariff price is only applicable to permanent Nauta accounts, which at the same time have two modalities: international surfing with international mailing and the aforementioned domestic surfing.

Nevertheless, she remarked that users can indistinctively interact with the two types, depending on the modality they choose.
 
The specialist concluded that in addition, so far July her enterprise opened two spots for wired connection in such towns as Calabazar de Sagua, in Encrucijada, and Rancho Veloz, in Corralillo, in accordance with ETECSA’s policy to take WIFI service to second towns within the province.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Iraq or Syria? Trump recalls dessert perfectly, forgets who he bombed & internet erupts

US President Donald Trump revealed he informed Chinese Premier Xi Jinping about the US air strike on a Syrian military base as the pair ate "the most beautiful" chocolate cake. He then mixed up Syria and Iraq – and the internet had a meltdown.

Trump was speaking with Fox Business about the bizarre exchange with Chinese leader during a summit at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

We had finished dinner, we’re now having dessert,” Trump began. “And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it.

READ MORE: Trump says he told Xi how he bombed Syria over ‘most beautiful piece of cake’

We’ve just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit by the way, unbelievable, from hundreds of miles away, it’s brilliant, it’s genius, what we have in terms of technology no-one can come close to competing,” he continued.

So I said, we’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq,” said the President, seemingly oblivious to his mistake. http://gph.is/1TUMIPk

what animated GIF

Heading to Syria,” host Maria Bartiromo interjected. “Yes,” Trump replied, “heading toward Syria.”

Naturally, Twitter was set alight by the gaffe.

@ChelseaClinton Disturbing that Trump remembers what he ate (chocolate cake) - but not where he sent missiles (Syria, not Iraq as he says until corrected) https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status...

@RegBarclay2017 Trump: President Xi, I just want you to know I just fired 59 cruise missiles at [Iraq] Syria.

@BraddJaffy Trump: Over dessert “I said we’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq”

@LawyerRogelio Trump he can remember that they were eating a beautiful chocolate cake but can't remember that the missiles were sent to Syria and NOT Iraq. pic.twitter.com/U00hvhPhij

  • Published in World

Assange's internet link intentionally severed by state party - WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has activated “contingency plans” after its co-founder’s internet service was intentionally cut off by a state actor, the media organization said in a tweet.
 
@wikileaks Julian Assange's internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.

The internet is one of the few, if not only, available ways for Julian Assange, who has been locked up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than four years, to maintain contact with the outside world.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks cancels Assange’s live balcony appearance over ‘security concerns’

Facing extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape, which he denies, the Australian computer programmer has been holed up in the embassy in West London since 2012.

He claims the extradition is actually a bid to move him to a jurisdiction from which he can then be sent to the US, which is known to be actively investigating WikiLeaks. 

The unverified claims of state sabotage come as WikiLeaks continues to release damaging documents, most recently thousands of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

Earlier this month, Assange claimed his organization would aim to publish documents “every week” in the run up to US Election Day on November 8. 

Clinton’s campaign has made unsubstantiated claims that WikiLeaks is working with the Russian government to help defeat the Democrat in favor of Trump.

Last week the FBI reissued a statement saying it was working to “determine the accuracy, nature and scope” of cyber intrusions, but did not name any suspected perpetrators.

READ MORE : Podesta files: Top 10 revelations from leaked Clinton campaign emails

The ninth release of Podesta emails occurred on Sunday, bringing the total number of leaked files to over 12,000.

Among the hundreds of emails released are discussions about Clinton’s appeal among black voters, her email apologies, and Chelsea Clinton being described by one of her father’s longtime aides as a ‘backstabber’.

The batch also comes amid revelations of Clinton’s cozy relationship with the mainstream media, and how they work closely to control the media landscape and set up stories that show her in a favorable light.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Hillary Clinton reportedly wanted to “drone” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when she was the US secretary of state.

According to True Pundit, Clinton and the State Department were under pressure to silence the whistleblower in the months before WikiLeaks dumped some 250,000 diplomatic cables from 1966 to 2010, dubbed CableGate.

Unidentified State Department sources claimed Clinton asked “can’t we just drone this guy?”.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton considered drone attack on Julian Assange - report

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Twitter planning 10,000-character limit for tweets

Twitter has hinted at plans to expand its character limit from 140 to 10,000. CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that while the notorious 140-character limit was a “beautiful constraint”, change was being explored to respond to its users’ needs.
  • Published in World

Cuba now has 50 wi-fi hotspots

Cuba now has 50 wi-fi hotspotsHAVANA, Cuba, Nov 25 (acn) The Telecommunications Company of Cuba, ETECSA S.A by its Spanish acronym, opened from Tuesday another four WIFI areas for wireless Internet access, located in parks and urban areas of public high influx, Granma newspaper says.

The new areas are located in parks Rubén Bravo, in Holguin province; Calixto Garcia, in Granma province; and Monaco, in Havana; in addition to the Central and 14th pavilions of EXPOCUBA fairground in the capital.

With these new areas there are 50 WIFI public zones throughout the country and it is expected to create five others before the end of the year, and this will be communicated in due course.

For information and assistance on this path to the Internet, users can call to 118, commercial information service.

  • Published in Now

Cuba: New Wi-Fi Spots will Extend Use of Internet

ETECSA reminds of the possibility offered by Computing Clubs as an alternative Internet browsing. Highlighting the advantages of permanent cards for the Nauta service and specifies that Wi-Fi spots will grow before year end and rates for the use of Internet will gradually drop.

Cuba has the political will to continue advancing in the computerization process and bring these services closer to the population, vice minister for Communications Wilfredo González assured yesterday on a TV show devoted to this important topic.

González informed that since June 4, 2013, at the beginning of the amplification process, there are today more than 3 millions Cubans who have access to Internet and approximately 1 million Nauta users.

The intention is to keep encouraging, he said, the infrastructure in communications, either wired or wireless, and boost the broadband development, quality guarantee. The economic-financial elements mark the development of these goals, he finished.

He mentioned 35 projects of greater impact in the development of technologies considered basic. He said these projects are supported in two fundamental premises: to create capacities and technological infrastructure and at the same time to consider technological security and sustainability. These 35 projects are considered as the Red Cuba platform.

The banking system appears among these projects, the computerization of public records, to this purpose is necessary to computerize the primary registers – he stressed -, as well as that of digital TV. As for digital TV he said that more than 500 thousand decoding boxes have already been bought.

ETECSA’s Executive Director, Mayra Arevich Machín, underlined that the development of communications infrastructure depends significantly on how sustainable is done. She emphasized that "the development of telecommunications in Cuba must follow the same pace of economy."

She highlighted the importance of security to avoid computer attacks. We cannot risk our economy neither the security of services. Therefore, we must work to keep our applications with security and sustainability."

Arevich remembered that since year 2000 the development of Internet began in Cuba and she emphasized the important premise of improving the infrastructure and bandwidth of entities. Today, she added, most Cuban ministries can load their applications in data centers.

Among the goals achieved this year she mentioned the work in the integration of universities, as well as the modernization of the Infomed platform. It’s something we are very proud of, she commented.

The directive of the Cuban company made public the inclination of users for the Nauta temporary account, which have sold 3,8 millions approximately. Nevertheless, she called the attention on the advantages of the permanent account whose one-year duration allows the owner to recharge through bonus. Arevich insisted in that the permanent account offers greater facilities, not trips to sale offices and turning to resellers' as option.

There are nearly 3 million cell phones right now - it has been an explosion in just a few years, - and almost a million clients use the Nauta mail.

The Wi-Fi Spots

ETECSA’s Executive Director, Mayra Arevich, expressed the intention of increasing the number of Wi-Fi spots which are presently 35.

Questioned about the practice of having several users with a single account, she clarified that, although it’s doable, is counterproductive to the quality of the service they get because for better results a certain bandwidth is needed.

There are a few Wi-Fi spots that do not comply with all the conditions so people can navigate comfortably. For the coming spots are intended to make previous consultations to municipal and provincial organizations to achieve greater comfort.

Regarding the Nauta service rates, she said that the policy to follow is the gradual drop in the prices which went from 4.50 cuc per hour to 2 cuc. “We know it is high, she said, it depends on the system capacity, but we will continue lowering the rates. We’ll look for special offers for the permanent accounts".

The computer sciences and other windows

The vice-dean of production at the University of Computer Sciences (UCS), Reynaldo Rosado Roselló, assured in the television that today the potential of development of computer sciences in Cuba gathers 30 software developing companies, which today works in teams and strategic alliances. 

As key element of this task he mentioned the human resources. He remembered that 13 years ago Fidel had the vision of creating the UCS to give crash courses to computer programmers and today we can speak of a software industry, because we have an elevated number of computer engineers and from other similar studies.

He mentioned 128 projects developed by the UCS, an atypical university since it’s an educational and productive center at the same time while it works supporting the Cuban software industry.

Regarding the Young Computing and Electronic Club, created in 1987, its directress, Anamaris Solórzano, highlighted that among their priorities appear the technical support to the Cuban encyclopedia Ecured, with about 200 thousand daily visits.

It has also been created the portable Ecured and the Ecumobile (for android 2.2 or higher) in two versions, with and without images, the second can be downloaded from the net.

During the television program it was announced the creation of the Union of Computer Engineers of Cuba, a request from the IT and communications professionals of the country, said Ailyn Febles, vice-dean of the UCS and coordinator for the creation process of the new organization.

At present nearly 4 thousand professionals have been registered and creation process must conclude next January. “It will be, referred Febles, an organization leading the free software and defender of the technological sovereignty and pioneer of the technological breakthroughs attained by Cuba."

Last, but not least, it was approached the aspect of cyber security.  

Since 2014 until 2015, more than 176 nations have been notified on cybernetic attacks carried out against our country. Hence a key element is to promote the international solidarity in this regard. Cooperation ties have been established with more than 20 nations, including China and Russia. Cuba supports the use of the cyberspace with peaceful ends.

The conclusion of the program aimed at continuing advancing in the computerization of the Cuban society and the access of the population to new technologies, always cyber security keeping in mind and without forgetting the importance of these breakthroughs for the development of the economy, sciences and the entire work of society. It was noted that the United States has been the main obstacle for the development of telecommunications and computer science in Cuba.

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