5 Years Later – Technology: Caribbean countries fully on board

Go Lean Commentary

You will be assimilated! Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. …
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.– Movie Quote: Star Trek – The Next Generation (TV Series).

Change happens … ready or not here it comes. Agents of Change will overrun you and transform you into its mold.

In a previous Go Lean commentary from May 12, 2018, this commentary confessed this actuality:

Today, it is clear that mainstream society has been assimilated by the counter-culture revolution with previously debated New Morals. Some people even claim that this New Morality is the same Old Immorality. For instance, consider recreational drugs, marijuana in particular; counter-culturists have always “pushed” for the freedom of marijuana use; … Despite all the efforts to outlaw it, authority figures are now starting to just accept, tolerate and legitimize its usage.

Technology has also pounced on the modern world, the Caribbean included; what started as a counter-culture revolution – nerds, geeks and techies – has become mainstream and normal. People today are walking around with a computer in their pockets (smart-phones) that far exceeds Big Mainframe systems (Big Iron) from 30 years ago; think 1 terabyte of memory-storage; 3.5 GigaHertz processor chips; global communication networks with interconnected devices around the world.

This change is not all bad! The whole world – the people, media and information – is now accessible at our finger tips!

There are only a few small groupings of people even attempting to “live off the grid”. Everyone else has fully embraced the grid and is living their life in kind – waiting for the next technological advances – they have been assimilated.

There used to be a Caribbean exception, Cuba! Due to the 1959 Revolution, Cuba had previously rejected Western technology advances; choosing to freeze their technological consumption at 1959.

But based of the summary of this news article, that actuality is no more:

Title: Communist-run Cuba starts rolling out internet on mobile phones
Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Communist-run Cuba has started providing internet on the mobile phones of select users as it aims to roll out the service nationwide by year-end, in a further step toward opening one of the Western Hemisphere’s least connected countries.

Journalists at state-run news outlets were among the first this year to get mobile internet, provided by Cuba’s telecoms monopoly, as part of a wider campaign for greater internet access that new President Miguel Diaz-Canel has said should boost the economy and help Cubans defend their revolution.

Analysts said broader web access will also ultimately weaken the government’s control of what information reaches people in the one-party island state that has a monopoly on the media. Cuba frowns on public dissent and blocks access to dissident websites.

“It’s been a radical change,” said Yuris Norido, 39, who reports for several state-run news websites and the television. “I can now update on the news from wherever I am, including where the news is taking place.”

Certain customers, including companies and embassies, have also been able to buy mobile data plans since December, according to the website of Cuban telecoms monopoly ETECSA, which has not broadly publicized the move.

ETECSA has said it will expand mobile internet to all its 5 million mobile phone customers, nearly half of Cuba’s population, by the end of this year. ETECSA did not reply to a request for more details for this story.

Whether because of a lack of cash, a long-running U.S. trade embargo or concerns about the flow of information, Cuba has lagged behind in web access. Until 2013, internet was largely only available to the public at tourist hotels in Cuba.

But the government has since then made increasing connectivity a priority, introducing cybercafes and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots and slowly starting to hook up homes to the web.

Long before he took office from Raul Castro in April, 58-year-old Diaz-Canel championed the cause.

“We need to be able to put the content of the revolution online,” he told parliament last July as vice president, adding that Cubans could thus “counter the avalanche of pseudo-cultural, banal and vulgar content.”

Cuba could use subsidies to encourage the use of government-sponsored applications, analysts said. Last month, ETECSA launched a free Cuba-only messaging application, Todus, while Cuba’s own intranet with a handful of government-approved sites and email is much cheaper to access than the wider internet.

In a 2015 document about its internet strategy that leaked, the Cuban government said it aimed to connect at least half of homes by 2020 and 60 percent of phones.

But many Cubans are skeptical. ETECSA President Mayra Arevich told state-run media in December it had connected just 11,000 homes last year.

“I’ve been many times to the ETECSA shop to ask if they can give us home access,” said Yuneisy Galindo, 28, at a Wi-Fi hotspot on one of Havana’s thoroughfares. “But they tell us they still aren’t ready and will call us.”

Most mobile phone owners have smartphones, although Cuba is only now installing 3G technology, even as most of Latin America has moved onto 4G, with 5G in its final testing phase.

“This rollout will expand slowly at first and then more quickly, if the government is increasingly confident that it can control any political fallout,” said Cuba expert Ted Henken at Baruch College in the United States.

The price could prove the biggest restriction for many, though. Hotspots currently charge $1 an hour, compared with an average state monthly wage of $30.

It was not clear what most Cubans will pay for mobile internet, but ETECSA is charging companies and embassies $45 a month for four gigabytes.

Additional reporting by Nelson Acosta, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Source: Reuters News Service – Posted July 16, 2018; retrieved December 20, 2018 from: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-internet/communist-run-cuba-starts-rolling-out-internet-on-mobile-phones-idUSKBN1K62U7

The conclusion from this commentary is that the Caribbean member-states are now all ready to embrace this Technology Agent of Change confronting our world. The 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – prepared the region for this eventuality. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. The book identified these 4 Agents of Change – Globalization, Climate Change, Technology and the Aging Diaspora – and declared that we were failing to compete because of our inability to adopt and thrive in this changed environment.

Adopt, compete and thrive …

While it has been 5 years since the publication of the Go Lean book, the pronouncements are more important now than before. It was asserted that the entire Caribbean region – all 30 member-states, Cuba included – must unite in order to adopt, compete and thrive in this new technological world. In the book’s opening, and early motivation, there was this Declaration of Interdependence that, among other things, proclaimed (Page 14) the following:

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

The Go Lean book declares that our lives and livelihoods are at stake. Our societal engines – jobs, education, healthcare, governance, etc. – all depend on how well we adopt, compete and thrive with today’s technology. So the Go Lean/CU roadmap presents these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Community ethos; what is community ethos? The book defines it as “the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society”.

The Go Lean book presents new community ethos that must be adopted in order to compete and thrive with the world with regards to technology:

  • Lean Operations
  • Return on Investments
  • A quest to respect and Promote Intellectual Property
  • A quest to Impact Research & Development
  • A quest to Bridge the Digital Divide

In addition to the ethos, one notable advocacy that is presented, on Page 197, is entitled: 10 Ways to Foster Technology. Notice the summaries, plans, excerpts and headlines from the book here:

1 Lean-in for the Treaty for a Caribbean Single Market
This treaty allows for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people, across 30 member-states and an economic impact for a GDP of over $800 Billion (circa 2010). The CU will lead the industry efforts to create economies-of-scale to deploy technological investments, (such as Libraries and other Community Technology Centers), and generate justifiable benefits. The CU governance also provides the intellectual property protections such as patents and copyrights, and ensures their enforcement both locally and abroad. The technology initiatives are designed to include everyone in the region: the technically-savvy and the technically-ignorant. In addition to the CU providing community education services like the CTC’s, the CU incentivizes Not-For-Profit agencies, NGOs and Foundations to help the community efforts.
2 e-Learning Facilities and Industries
3 STEM Charter Schools and STEM Teacher Recognitions
4 e-Government Services
The CU Trade Federation will provide government services. Where ever possible, these services will be delivered with the embrace of Internet and Communications Technologies (ICT). Therefore, Caribbean citizens can request and interact with CU government services via web & phone portals (contact centers), and when personal visits are mandated, service level agreements (SLA) will be implemented to set expectations for quality and timely response.
5 Public Access Wi-Fi
Regional ISP’s will be regulated at the federal level, and encourage to provided free Wi-Fi to the public. Successful business models can be facilitated thru ads-supported browsers and videos.
6 Incubators, Venture Capitalists Funds and IPO’s
7 Tax Credits for Technological Investments
8 Technology Expositions
9 Centers of Excellence
10 Whistleblower Protections

The Go Lean book was written 5 years ago as a 5 Year Plan to reform and transform the Caribbean region. Had the plan been adopted by the regional stakeholders then, the Agents of Change would have been better addressed all the while. But instead, this plan, or roadmap, to introduce and implement the Caribbean Union Trade Federation is still reeling; still not even started.

The embrace of technology must not be optional. This technology factor is analogous to a vessel/ship that can take “us” to a better destination.

Adopting, thriving and competing with technology advances is the answer for reforming and transforming the Caribbean. In these 5 short years since the publication of the Go Lean book, technology has escalated the region further and now all the member-states are fully “on board” this vessel for change, empowerment and improvement.

While the other Agents of Change are equally import, this Technology cause is perhaps the one Agent of Change that we have made the most progress with. This disposition is presented in the other commentaries in this series, cataloged here:

  1. 5 Years Later: New Post Office Eco-system – Globalization issues ‘loud and clear’ now.
  2. 5 Years Later: Climate Change – Coming so fast, so furious.
  3. 5 Years Later: Technology – Caribbean fully on board.
  4. 5 Years Later: Aging Diaspora – Finding Home … anywhere.

At least now we have a more receptive environment for the embrace of the Go Lean roadmap in Cuba, than we did 5 years ago. Back then, Fidel Castro, though retired as President, still ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party; his brother Raul ruled as President. Today, Fidel is dead; and Raul is retired – though now the Chairman of the Party. Cuba is now ready for change. The foregoing news article has conveyed that Cuba is ready for mobile Internet and Communications Technologies.

This is the start that we need. This allow us the opportunity to adopt, compete and thrive. Let’s lean-in to the Go Lean/CU roadmap now. We have more to do; more to accomplish; more people to impact; more jobs to create; and more lives to improve.

At 5 years in, though its a late start, it is still not too late to succeed in making our homeland a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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