Google testing the waters in Cuba | Nancy Scola |

A Google executive is headed to Cuba this weekend to explore bringing better Internet access to the island, and the search giant has made a related proposal to the Cuban government, according to a State Department official.

It’s the latest sign that U.S. tech companies are testing the seriousness of Cuba’s interest in opening up to outside investment after President Barack Obama’s announcement of a historic thaw in relations and the Raúl Castro-led government’s recent pledge to bring Internet access to all Cubans by 2020.

The Google executive, Brett Perlmutter, is a New York-based member of the company’s Google Ideas unit aimed at helping to solve the world’s biggest tech problems. He’s taking part in a five-day trip to Havana with about a dozen other U.S. business representatives and “will focus on helping the Cuban government think through their publicly-stated goal of improving Internet access,” a company spokesperson said.

Google declined to say much else about its work in Cuba. But a senior State Department official, speaking on background, said the search giant has made a proposal to the Cuban government. “We don’t know what they’ve proposed, but we do know they’ve proposed something,” the official said.


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Hmmm! Any plan to replace economic blockage for walled gardens?

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