STATEMENT BY H. E. Mr. IGNACIO GONZÁLEZ PLANAS
MINISTER OF INFORMATICS AND COMMUNICATIONS OF THE REPUBLIC
TUNIS, 16 NOVEMBER 2005
(Non official translation)
The new information and communication technologies, far
from becoming a means to move towards a fair world, and a more harmonic and
equitable development, have contributed to deepen inequality and injustice,
and have become an additional obstacle for the progress of the poor
The promising technological scenario which is being
predicted is framed by the existing unfair international economic order and
the neoliberal nature of the current globalization process, turning
extraordinary achievements of men’s intellect into privileges which are
enjoyed by just a few countries.
A few examples confirm these realities:
In the United States and Canada there are 74
computers and 60 fixed phone lines per 100 inhabitants. In Africa
there are 1.76 computers and 3.09 fixed lines per the same amount of
Only 15 percent of the 6 000 million inhabitants
of the planet have Internet access. Out of them, 51.9 percent
belongs to the United States, Canada and Europe, and only 2.5
percent to Africa.
More than half of the world population does not have
telephone access, which was invented more than a century ago. 40 percent of
the telephone lines are found in just 23 developed countries, where less
than 15 percent of the world population lives.
More than 50 percent of the clients of the cell phone
services and the internet servers are found in developed countries.
Without the actual democratization of the access to
technological development, all the predictions regarding a new global
economy, based on informatics and communications, and the transit towards
the so called "Information Society", will continue to be impossible for the
vast majority of humanity.
Cuba, a blockaded country without huge financial
resources, is currently showing a way towards the wide use of the new
technologies by its population. The priority given to the social and
collective use of the information and communication technologies has made it
- All children and teenagers in the country,
since kindergarten, are taught computer science in their schools and
have access to two national television channels which are
exclusively devoted to Education.
- Universities have expanded to all
municipalities in the country, with the use of computer science and
audio visual aids as essential tools in learning.
- The Computer Sciences Youth Clubs movement,
network of community facilities in which access to computer sciences
teaching is provided free of charge, has doubled the number of clubs
since the Geneva Summit; now with 600 centers which have trained
more than 770 000 Cubans in 18 years.
- Through the Cuban method to teach how to read
and write "Yo, Si puedo", based on the use of television and
video, one and a half million Venezuelans have been dragged out of
ignorance and that nation has become the second territory free of
illiteracy in the Americas. Other 10 countries are successfully
implementing this revolutionary teaching formula at different
- Cuban doctors rendering their services in more
than 60 countries in the world are using informatics as an essential
element to obtain scientific degrees and, at the same time, develop
their work as university professors in the training of new medical
students in their same practices, located in the humblest and most
isolated areas in those nations.
Cuba shares the view of the vast majority of the
countries represented here: Internet shall not continue being administered
by the United States. It is necessary to organize a new multilateral and
democratic institutionality, which would administer the network of networks,
and, at the same time, regulate and promote international cooperation,
transfer financial and technological resources, and exchange with equal
possibilities for all nations regarding the new information and
communication technologies. The Final Statement and the Action Plan of this
Summit should make this concept clear.
Furthermore, Cuba considers that the manipulation and
interference by the rich countries that are trying to impose a single way of
thinking and the patterns of the opulent north on the developing south,
should be stopped. It is necessary to reveal the truth and the cultural
riches of another world which is not on the media, of the thousands of
millions who do no have internet access, who do not know the telephone, or
who can not even see television images or listen to the radio.
An end must be put to the unilateral and arbitrary
measures that violate international law and the Charter of the United
Nations against countries like Cuba, which withstands the most colossal and
brutal blockade in history, condemned just a few days ago at the UN General
Assembly by 182 countries, blockade that curtails without any reason at all,
our access to new technologies.
Likewise, the systematic aggression of our
radio-electronic spectrum by the US government, as a clear, rude and
constant violation of the norms and proceedings of the International
Telecommunication Union, must be stopped. Truth should be known, in the face
of the attempts to silence the unfair imprisonment of five Cuban young men
who were fighting against terrorist groups which, from the US territory and
with total impunity, are attacking our country.
Moving towards the so called "Information Society"
requires, first of all, a world free of hunger, ignorance, unhealthiness,
discrimination and exclusion. The hungry, sick, illiterate and excluded will
never be able to understand the use of new technologies. We want to have a
world in which the benefits of science and technology can be real tools to
achieve progress for all the inhabitants of the planet.
In our country, we shall continue our work following a
strategy based on the principles on which the development of our economy and
society is based. For Cuba, favoring the social and collective use of the
new technologies means to increase their use in education, public health,
science, culture, economy, government and the services rendered to the
population, with rational and practical solutions. This experience, although
it is still modest and incipient, is at your disposal.
The political will of the Cuban Revolution and the clear
vision of comrade Fidel Castro, tireless promoter of the use of new
technologies, have played a key role so that a small, poor and blockaded
country can work towards the achievement of ambitious goals, within the
framework of a Battle of Ideas, which grants all priority to the full
development of the human being.
We Cubans who are revolutionary and optimistic, dream of,
work and fight for a new world economic order, justice and equality for all,
so that new technologies can contribute to promote the values of human
beings, the training of the new generations and the development of a fair
society of solidarity, which may enable our peoples to move towards that
better world we dream of.
Thank your very much.