My experience with the Internet

Author:Karina Gálvez

Page 138

See note 55

"I know nothing about the Internet!". This was my irst reaction when I was invited to participate in the South School on Internet Governance, an event held in Washington D.C. from March 29th to April 1st. This feeling didn’t disappear throughout the whole encounter, but rather grew.

My encounters with the net of networks until then had been as a user, to search for speciic information, always knowing ahead of time which steps I had to take to get to it. When I started to hear about IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, domain names, zero rating, net neutrality, and other technology concepts, my feeling of knowing nothing about ITCs became a certainty. But I had

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found a great treasure: I had the curiosity and the conviction that I needed to know, especially after having heard that the internet can facilitate the realization of one of the most basic Human Rights: freedom of expression.

A workshop with three friends experienced in the issue drew the curtains from my eyes and, boom! there I was: after just one week participating in the South School on Internet Governance, asking questions and understanding. I couldn’t believe it! It almost seemed easy. It wasn’t really, but an approach to the most elementary concepts, in the clearest and most didactic way, with practical examples and participatory discussions, made this workshop my irst real entrance into the world of the Internet, into which I had but glimpsed, without daring to cross the threshold.

At the LACIGF, held in Costa Rica on July 27th-31st of this year, I was impressed by the movement of ideas and people around these topics. Every sector represented participated in the discussion under equal conditions: the State, the private sector, academia, the technical sector and civil society. Some of us Cubans also participated, but it was hard to feel party of the discussions.

In Cuba, the problem isn’t lack of economic resources (though they exist) or lack of concern by the government; the main dificulty for Internet access is the lack of political will. This is the same reason why there aren’t any independent publications or private companies: the Cuban government blocks any personal initiative from its citizens.

In Cuba, it is very dificult to access the web. The possibility to use the Internet through Wi-Fi hotspots in some parks around the country, paying the equivalent of 2 dollars per hour, with salaries that range between 25 and 30 dollars per month, cannot be...

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