17 May 1999
Note: Leads on the "German encryption and monitoring firm" cited below would be appreciated. While CryptoAG may be a candidate, with NSA's complicity, it is surely not the only one offering dual-use duplicity.
[Congressional Record: May 13, 1999 (House)] [Page H3091-H3109] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:cr13my99-28] [Excerpt] Report by the Delegation of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress: Visit to Cuba, January 10-16, 1999 Members of Delegation: Hon. Louis Frey, Jr., Chairman; Hon. Dennis DeConcini; Hon. Robert W. Kasten, Jr.; Hon. Larry Pressler; Hon. Alan Wheat; Mr. Walter Raymond, Jr.; Mr. Oscar Juarez SUMMARY The U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress sent a seven-member, bipartisan delegation to Cuba from 10 to 16 January 1999 to see first hand current political, economic and social conditions in Cuba and to engage in a series of frank discussions concerning U.S.-Cuban relations. ... The United States should exhibit a greater sense of confidence that increased contacts between the United States and Cuba will work to the advantage of the development of a more open society rather than to help Castro. People-to- people contacts, increased travel, an unlimited supply of food and medicines are not viewed by the Cuban people as an aid to Castro, but rather as support to the Cuban people. Policy Recommendations ... 10. Technical breakthroughs in the telecommunications industry should be explored to increase information links to Cuba. Internet, e-mail, cell phones and other state-of-the- art communications slowly are bringing information and ideas to the country. It is recommended that the U.S. Government and Congress consider authorizing U.S. telecommunications companies to explore possibilities for establishing more open and diverse communications between the United States and Cuba. ... background to policy recommendations and other observations by the delegation ... The Cuban Minister of Communications and the Director of Telecommunications expressed a strong interest in more foreign investments in all areas of telecommunications. They are, however, reluctant to give the citizens complete access to Internet. As an example, while cellular phones are being developed under the rubric CUBACEL with a Mexican partner, security concerns significantly have slowed this effort. Castro and his Minister of Interior have succeeded in implementing a program of very tight control of Cuba's access to the Internet and are opposed to expanding the telecommunications sector and Internet. The Cubans also completely control the Internet server provider (ISP). The Cubans have an intra-island Internet with which university- approved people and others have access. In addition, there are several Internet sites within Cuban which are available. In terms of international internet, individual Cubans can access only those sites approved for them. For example, a medical university may have access to certain medical sites, but each is encrypted, monitored and recorded. At the same time, the rapid technical advances in the world telecommunications industry create a serious dilemma for the Cuban regime. They need to have their key people on Internet for scientific and educational reasons, but are hesitant to grant unlimited access. To restrict this, they have worked with a German encryption and monitoring firm to keep track of ``who does what'' on Internet in Cuba. The Castro regime is making a strong effort to record all e-mail and all other computer transmissions. The delegation was advised that while Cubans now eagerly exchange e-mail transmissions--each delegation member received calling cards with e-mail addresses--all e-mail is monitored and recorded through one central server. While Cuban officials would not acknowledge this, the delegation was advised that only about 200 Cubans have complete, unfettered access to the Internet. The Cuban government has not resolved the basic conflict of how it can aspire to being a modern technological state without allowing more of its people access to the complete international internet With--technological advances proceeding to mind- numbing speed, it is reasonable to assume that Castro will not be able to deter major information flows arriving in Cuba. It should be U.S. policy to foster this information revolution. ... ----------