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Monday
Nov092009

Prohibiting web capitalism

Cuba's only internet cafe, where browsers are under constant watchThe United States may not be the most forward-leaning in terms of broadband penetration, but perhaps I should be less critical. Here's a sad fact: only 13% of Cubans have access to the internet.

And after recently blocking Skype, the government is now restricting access further, blocking the popular Craigslist-like classified site Revolico.

In Cuba the internet is controlled by the state monopoly ETECSA, a joint venture between the Cuban government and Telecom Italia. Their reasoning for blocking Skype was simply commercial: to reduce competition for long distance phone calls.

The reason to block Revolico is less clear. I've argued passionately before why web capitalism is important to driving growth, community, creativity, and other goods here and at my Ignite talks here and here. For a society that is supposed to be opening up and that the Obama administration is making overtures toward, this blocking of a basic e-commerce destination is an ominous sign.

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