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Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Cuban Healthcare

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BY JOAQUIN RIVERY TUR AND JORGE LUIS GONZÁLEZ | [url=http://www.granma.cu]http://www.granma.cu[/url] | Granma daily special correspondents


States Ricardo Alarcon on his arrival in Geneva to head the Cuban delegation

GENEVA.—“Cuba is bringing a message to the Information Society Summit thanks to a broad representation illustrating everything that the country is doing in this area,” stated Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power and head of the Cuban delegation to the event.

“I believe it is an opportunity to show our experiences to other countries. This is a field in which the Third World nations have to make a great and particularly complex effort, because it is an area that has been dominated from the outset by large interests, above all in the United States, which is where it arose.”

The Cuban leader affirmed that Cuba has something to show, achieved under the most difficult conditions, “It should be noted that we are also waging a great battle in this terrain, given that part of the economic warfare on Cuba has been in this very field, meaning that we had to redouble our efforts to enter into it.”

Alarcon stressed that the country has entered into this field “and with contributions that the developed countries cannot offer.”

He noted that the digital gap does not only exist between the rich and poor nations, but also within societies in the developed states. “The majority of people neither surf nor own computers and do not have the benefit of the advantages these new technologies offer.

“In Cuba’s case, we are developing some projects that are characterized by the incorporation of the whole population, all sections of society, children and young people. It is a totally distinct concept that constitutes a lesson for other countries, including the most advanced ones,” he explained.

In Alarcon’s opinion, there are many illusions in the so-called information society as there are hundreds of millions of illiterate persons and a technology has little importance if a person doesn’t know how to read or write his/her name.

“Moreover, there are thousands of people without electricity and neither can technology be employed in that situation.

Far from being reduced, the digital gap is widening, because it cannot be separated from the breach that differentiates the rich and poor. He recalled: “One of the most important Western philosophers, Jean Jacques Rousseau, noted that in this city two and a half centuries ago.”

The Cuban parliamentary president commented: “We are at an international conference that has a lot to do with the great debate, the great discussion of the world of today concerning the future of humanity, if we are going to have a future, if there is going to be a more rational and balanced society.

“Despite the concentration on Cuba of all the aggression and anger of imperialism – which to a large extent monopolizes all these new technologies – what the island has done and is doing is much more than virtually anyone else and that shows that things should be seen optimistically because, in the final analysis, it is the struggle and action of the peoples that is decisive.”

Alarcon stated that the important thing is to achieve concrete results in terms of the Summit Declaration and Action program and, above all, in commitment, and added that, judging by what he had been informed, it seemed that an acceptable text is going to come out of the conference.

“There would seem to be a rebirth of agreement today in the area of the event, a rebirth of the unified spirit of the of the underdeveloped countries, and that is logical, because if effective international cooperation in this field is not achieved, there is no way out for many nations,” he observed.

Alarcon was received at the airport by Ignacio Gonzáles Planas, minister of informatics and communications; Iván Mora, ambassador to the international agencies in Geneva; and Teresita Vicente, the Cuban ambassador to Switzerland.

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