There is no freedom in Cuba. And while Google often holds itself out as a corporation willing to stand up to governments, in practice Google usually only stands up to Americans, while rolling over and playing dead for foreign governments.
That pattern continues in Cuba, as Google sells out for a data center.
Google’s made a deal with Cuba to get a data center built on the island, in exchange for services provided, according to Engadget:
As part of the deal, Google will install servers on the island, allowing ETECSA [the Cuban state ISP] to locally cache and serve the most popular high-bandwidth content, like YouTube videos. This reduces latency, giving Cubans who already have access to internet a better quality of service.
Over the past couple of years, Google has launched a number of its products in Cuba, including Chrome, Google Analytics and the Play Store. Its most recent deal will help those with internet access enjoy more content but it won’t improve Cuba’s aging infrastructure or increase the number of people going online, at least not right now.
It sounds so wonderful right? Google is helping Cubans get online, and get access to more things, in exchange for getting a data center. But there’s a catch: there’s no openness achieved here at all. This is just a favor to the Communist establishment:
The Cuban internet is among the most tightly controlled in the world. A special permit is required to use the Internet and all e-mails are intricately monitored. Cuba has been listed as an “Internet Enemy” by Reporters Without Borders since the list was created in 2006.
Gifts to Communists. Tyranny for the masses. Whatever works as long as Google profits. But don’t worry: the jailers keeping dissidents in prison will get to laugh at Youtube videos all the faster!