Home / Blogs

Does China’s Digital Silk Road to Latin America and the Caribbean Run Through Cuba?

Larry Press

China will not ignore Latin America and the Caribbean forever and Cuba is a logical place to start.

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious, long-term, global investment and development program. It was launched in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure — roads, railroads, pipelines, undersea cables and ports. Since then China has invested $80 billion and signed 173 BRI agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations.

DSR IT infrastructure projects as of 12/2018 (source).

Building a Digital Silk Road (DSR) is a BRI subgoal. The DSR was added in 2015 under the name "Information Silk Road" with the goals of improving international communications connectivity and fostering the internationalization of China's rapidly growing tech companies. The DSR plan addresses technologies like security, machine learning, 5G wireless, chip design and manufacturing and applications in areas like e-commerce, e-government, and smart cities. It also encompasses infrastructure in space — the BeiDou satellite navigation system, the Hongyun low-earth orbit broadband Internet project and the Digital Belt and Road Earth observation program.

Huawei's Caribbean cables (source).China Unicom and Camcom installed an undersea cable between Cameroon and Brazil with Huawei doing the engineering and installation. Previously, Huawei had installed the underwater cables shown here, but the DSR project has focused primarily on Eurasia and Africa. However, China will not ignore Latin America and the Caribbean forever and Cuba is a logical place to start.

Cuban delegates attended the thematic-forum on the DSR at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April and Cuba's digital ties to China date back many years:

(Breitbart reported that Cuba has agreed to bring the BRI to the west, but I am not sure if that is evidence that they will or they won't :-)

Cuba's first connection to the Internet was subsidized by the US National Science Foundation and used Cisco equipment, but it's been downhill ever since. President Obama made a sustained effort to establish a connection with Cuba, but little has come of that and Trump's policies on trade, immigration and Cuba have moved us further from many Latin American and Caribbean nations, creating an opening for China and the DSR.

By Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University – He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation. Larry maintains a blog on Internet applications and implications at cis471.blogspot.com and follows Cuban Internet development at laredcubana.blogspot.comVisit Page
Follow CircleID on
Related topics: Broadband, Telecom
SHARE THIS POST

If you are pressed for time ...

... this is for you. More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Vinton Cerf, Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet

Share your comments

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related

Topics

DNS Security

Sponsored byAfilias

New TLDs

Sponsored byAfilias

Whois

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

Cybercrime

Sponsored byThreat Intelligence Platform

IP Addressing

Sponsored byAvenue4 LLC

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

Cybersecurity

Sponsored byVerisign