Google executives visiting Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- "These policies defy reason: there are dozens of countries we call our allies and we are free to travel to that present much worse threats and concerns to the US than Cuba does in this decade," said the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt in an article he posted on his personal website about his recent visit to the island.
During the trip, Schmidt was accompanied by Google executives Jared Cohen, Brett Perlmutter and Dan Keyserling.
In his article he included several pictures he took in Havana and said, "The Cuban people, modern and very well educated define the experience with a warmth that only Latin cultures express: tremendous music, food and entertainment (most of which we were not able to sample)."
"The two most successful parts of the Revolution, as they call it, is the universal health care free for all citizens with very good doctors, and the clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks in the country. Almost all the leaders we met with were female, and one joked with us that the Revolution promised equality, the macho men didn't like it but ‘they got used to it’, with a broad smile," Schmidt noted.
Referring to the US economic embargo of Cuba, the Google chairman said, "The embargo now codified in the 1996 Helms Burton Act defines everything for the US and Cuba (Cubans call this a ‘blockade’ and a billboard described it as genocide). The US government classifies Cuba as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ in the same class as North Korea, Syria, Iran and North Sudan. Travel to the country is controlled by a US office called OFAC and under our license we were not permitted to do anything except business meetings where our hotel room had to be less than $100 per night and total expenses per diem of $188. Not surprisingly there are many $99 hotel rooms in Havana.
"These policies defy reason: there are dozens of countries we call our allies and we are free to travel to that present much worse threats and concerns to the US than Cuba does in this decade. Cubans believe this is largely a Florida domestic political issue, and that the Cuban-American youth all support normalization of relations along with the US business community."
Schmidt concluded by saying, "Cuba will have to open its political and business economy, and the US will have to overcome our history and open the embargo. Both countries have to do something that is hard to do politically, but it will be worth it."