The U.S. economic embargo prevents Cubans from accessing many Google services, Communist Party daily Granma said Wednesday, reacting to comments by the search giant’s chief during a recent visit to the island
CEO Eric Schmidt and three other Google executives traveled to Cuba last week “to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet,” dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said in a post on her site, 14ymedio.
Cuba is “one of the few countries in the world that cannot access a good part of the services” offered by Google because the California-based company is bound by the “unjust laws” of the U.S. economic embargo, Granma said.
Neither Android apps nor platforms such as Google Analytics are available to Internet users in Cuba, the newspaper said.
Granma noted that Schmidt criticized the U.S. embargo in comments online after his visit to Cuba.
Very few Cubans have Web access from their homes and the only option for most people is going to a government-run Internet cafe or to a hotel serving tourists.
Connection charges are steep for a country where the average monthly wage is $20.
While Cuba’s Internet links improved substantially with the arrival in 2011 of an underwater fiber-optic cable connecting the island with Venezuela, the government says it will take years to upgrade telecommunications infrastructure to the point where widespread home Web access will be possible.