Say, whatever happened to that Castro-Chavez Internet partnership, anyway?

posted at 3:21 pm on May 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

CBS News presents readers with a mystery today: what happened to the Internet cable partnership between Venezuela and Cuba?  More than a year ago, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez publicized their partnership, with Castro asserting that “Secrets are over,” and that Cuba would have “the most powerful weapon that has ever existed, which is communication.”  The cable got delivered, but neither government speaks of it — and Internet access is slower than ever in Cuba, perhaps even worse than before.

According to the French firm Alcatel, it’s all hooked up and ready to go:

A senior French official told AP that Alcatel had upheld its part of the contract and whatever problems exist must be on land with the network it was meant to be attached to.

“The cable must be connected to something or it won’t work,” said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the politically sensitive project.

So why isn’t working?  CBS claims not to have the answers to that question, although they have picked up rumors of an embezzlement investigation.  Their report has some vital clues, however, if one reads it correctly:

The problem is that connection speeds here are still Web 1.0, while the world has moved on to fancier, bandwidth-hogging platforms like Flash. YouTube is irrelevant on Cuban dial-up, and barely useable on the rare broadband connections. Want to watch the latest episode of “Mad Men?” At 3-5 kilobytes-per-second dial-up transfer speeds, a 500-megabyte video file would theoretically take somewhere between 28 and 46 hours to download from iTunes.

Artists and photographers say it’s nearly impossible to view others’ work online. People swap digital pictures in person on memory sticks rather than simply sending them as email attachments. Students have difficulty accessing research databases.

One doctor in Havana said she only has access to Cuba’s domestic intranet, a bare-bones internal network of island-hosted sites that also lets users get email. Moreover, her institution recently began cracking down on the few who do have full Internet access, ordering them not to use sites like Facebook under threat of punishment.

Hmmmm.  Repressive dictatorship that currently controls access to the media sees what might happen when control passes from their hands in the form of an high-speed Internet connection.  Dictatorship controls one end of connection, and its Mini-Me in Venezuela controls the other end.  The connection never takes place and dictatorship that hailed it suddenly stops talking about it altogether.  What could possibly have happened?

It doesn’t exactly require Columbo to figure this one out.  Inspector Clouseau could probably solve this case before his first pratfall.


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with Castro asserting that “Secrets are over,” and that Cuba would have “the most powerful weapon that has ever existed, which is communication.”

The old insane guy meant “communism” not “communication”.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Viva Cuba libre!

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Chavez keeps going to Cuba every couple of weeks. Must be personally working on it..oh wait…he’s got what?…embarrassing, never mind.

msupertas on May 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Something is wrong here; I don’t see Sean Penn anywhere in that picture.

NapaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

an embezzlement investigation.

Corruption in marxist regimes? I’m stunned. You could knock me over with a 16 ton weight.

rbj on May 21, 2012 at 3:32 PM

The guy that what supposed to hit the ON switch is now swimming for Florida. They don’t know what to do.

msupertas on May 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

“The cable must be connected to something or it won’t work,”

O_O

Seven Percent Solution on May 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Did they remember to plug it in?

squint on May 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Easy explanation. Castro has obviously heard of Wifi, so he’s got someone in the Ministry of Communications holding that cable end up in the air, broadcasting a signal.

GarandFan on May 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Damned counter-revolutionary Yankee interwebs!

DamnCat on May 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM

They called tech support but couldn’t decipher the strong Calcuttan accent.

NapaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Maybe they need to sacrifice a peasant to the voodoo internet gods.

squint on May 21, 2012 at 3:41 PM

May both communicate in Hades, soon.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Did they remember to plug it in?

squint on May 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

“The cable must be connected to something or it won’t work,”

Guess not.

RINO in Name Only on May 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Something is wrong here; I don’t see Sean Penn anywhere in that picture.

NapaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

…silly!…those are chest shots!…if you stand up by your monitor and look down…you can see their pants are down around their ankles and Sean Penn has had his head up there in the back playing hide and seek between the two… almost to his own belt line!

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Well both of these slugs have almost both feet in the grave health wise, they probably ‘forgot’ what they agreed to before?
L

letget on May 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Big chunks of the world are like that for internet connection; I’ve worked in some of them. It doesn’t always have to do with corruption, socialism, and what-not. We have enough geeks yelping about why can’t the US be more advanced and tech-connected, like Europe and Japan. They tend to forget that (a) Japan is pretty compact, (b) “Europe” means northwest Europe, and (c) as jealous as they might be of Europe and Japan, a helluva lot of the world is jealous of even what the US has. The “redistribution to equality” argument doesn’t seem to have occurred to these geniuses.

Still, the problems Cuba and Venezuela are having are probably due to corruption, socialism, and what-not.

ss396 on May 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

…silly!…those are chest shots!…if you stand up by your monitor and look down…you can see their pants are down around their ankles and Sean Penn has had his head up there in the back playing hide and seek between the two… almost to his own belt line!

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

..just..just..just..

*holds ribs and shrieks with laughter*

..just..just..

*drops to floor, tears streaming from eyes, guffawing uncontrollably*

..just. I give up!

:-D

The War Planner on May 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Here’s Larry Lorenzo The Cable Guy Vato when you need him?

/git ‘r done

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Where’s Larry Lorenzo The Cable Guy Vato when you need him?

/git ‘r done

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Crap, try again.

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Castro and Chavez both have internet access so what’s the problem?

Kevin R on May 21, 2012 at 5:04 PM

cans with strings…
I also notice Obama not saying much about his pal Chavez lately…

right2bright on May 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Send Michael Moore or Harry Bellefonte down there. They’d fix it.

Christian Conservative on May 22, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Although you didn’t say so Ed, I’m certain that in Cuba possession of a memory stick is SUBVERSIVE!!!!!

georgeofthedesert on May 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM