Google execs visit Cuba for first time to promote open Internet
By David Adams
MIAMI, June 28 (Reuters) - A team of top Google executives is visiting Cuba to promote open Internet access, according to a dissident blogger who says she met the group in Havana.
The team, led by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, met with Cuban officials as well as independent people in the technology and digital field, according to a report on the independent news website 14ymedio.com, which was started last month by blogger Yoani Sanchez.
Google is on an official two-day visit "to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet," the report said.
Schmidt appeared to confirm the report when he retweeted a message on Twitter posted by Sanchez about the visit.
Neither Google nor the Cuban government made any official statement about the executives' presence in Cuba.
Cuba does not allow open Internet access. Only 2.6 million out of a population of 11.2 million have Internet access, almost entirely limited to government-run centers, foreign companies and tourist hotels. Most of those who do have access are only been able to explore a limited, state-controlled basket of approved websites.
Schmidt, who was Google's chief executive from 2001 to 2011, is becoming more visible on issues involving technology and world affairs. His mandate as executive chairman involves government outreach, thought leadership and building partnerships and business relationships, according to the company.
Schmidt was accompanied by Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, as well as two other staff, Sanchez said. Continuación...