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Cuba says it’s committed to expanding computerization, Internet access

Havana, Dec 12 (EFE).- Computerizing daily activities and expanding Internet access are priorities for Cuba, according to Communist party daily Granma, which said the island is making progress in those areas “steadily but unhurriedly.”

In a lengthy front-page editorial Friday, Granma said Cuba is aware that the era of the Internet and new technologies must be a space for learning and development but also stressed the need to ensure the “invulnerability of the revolution” and the defense of culture and sustainable socialism on the island.

“Cuba remains determined to connect with the world, in spite of (anti-government) propaganda, the economic blockade, increased surveillance, and fourth-generation wars,” the newspaper said, stressing the importance of accessing the immense source of knowledge that is the “information highway.”

“Blockade” is the term Havana uses to refer to Washington’s more than 50-year-old economic embargo against the Communist-ruled island.

Web access from people’s homes is generally prohibited in Cuba and rates at Internet cafes or hotels are prohibitive for most of the island’s inhabitants.

The government blamed that situation on the U.S. embargo for many years, but since an undersea fiber-optic cable began linking Cuba with Venezuela in 2011 it says infrastructure problems are holding up increased Web access.

Cuba had more than 1 million personal computers in 2013 – or roughly 90 for every 1,000 inhabitants – although only 514,400 had an Internet connection, according to the National Statistics and Information Office.