Twitter Intends A Stronger Presence In Cuba / 14ymedio

Mobile app icons (CC)
Mobile app icons (CC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 June 2015 — The microblogging service Twitter has expressed interest to the Cuban government in expanding access to the service from the Island, the US magazine Politico reported Wednesday. Given the lack of infrastructure in the country and the lack of Internet connections, the California-based firm asks that in the short-term Cubans can begin to tweet through text messages, from a local number also known as a “short code.”

The company’s public policy director Colin Crowell met with staff from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC to discuss the matter. “Cuba is one of the few places in the world where we don’t have an agreement so that users can tweet through text messages (SMS),” explains Crowell. As of now it is only possible to tweet through the service’s international numbers, at a cost of 0.60 CUC for each tweet.

The small but intense community of independent tweeters on the Island, comprising a little fewer than two hundred people, has spent years demanding that facilities be offered for publication via text messages.

Cuba officials, according to Crowell, are open to the change. Although there is not yet a date for a meeting on the Island to formalize the agreement, Twitter management hopes that the negotiations will take place “as soon as possible.”

Following the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington last December, several technology companies are sounding out the terrain to gain a foothold on the island.

According to several US media, Google presented a proposal to the Cuban Government to participate in the infrastructure on the Island. Representatives of the company, on a business trip in Havana this week, however, did not confirm the news.

Twitter stresses that there a strong interest among users on issues tied to the Island, both among Cubans in exile as well as in the hemisphere in general. “We want to do everything we can to increase the possibilities for Cubans to make their voices heard,” added Crowell. “We would love to have more Cuban voices on our platform.”