With partial funding from Cisco Systems, "Mujer en la Red" (Women on the Network) provides underprivileged young women in the Dominican Republic with access to the ever-growing Information and Communication Technology industry. Video in Spanish.
Cuba held a ceremony on Wednesday in the eastern city of Santiago to celebrate the arrival of a 1,630 kilometer (1,012 mile) undersea fiber-optic cable from Venezuela. The cable, which arrived on Tuesday after a 19-day voyage, is expected to drastically transform communications in Cuba, which has some of the slowest internet connections in the world.
Speaking to an audience that included Vice President Ramiro Valdes, Cuban Computer Science and Communications Minister Medardo Díaz hailed the arrival of the cable, saying it “opens a breach in the [economic] blockade” imposed on Cuba by the U.S. government. He also said the cable would “reinforce [Cuba’s] development, integration and national sovereignty.”
The Cuban government has historically blamed its poor communications on the U.S. embargo, which until recently prohibited any fiber-optic cable from nearby Florida. The Venezuela-Cuba cable, which was financed by Venezuela and laid by French company Alcatel-Lucent, will become operational in July and will increase the speed at which Cubans exchange information with the rest of the world by 3,000 times.
The cable's arrival coincided with news from Havana that the Cuban government appears to have unblocked domestic access to dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez’ website Generación Y, as well as two other web portals that are critical of the government. It remains unclear whether the change is permanent.
This week Mayo Clinic announced the launch of a Center for Social Media. The first of its kind, the Center aims to deepen Mayo’s use of social media tools to promote better communication among health care professionals and improve patients’ quality of care. As discussed in depth in the newly released summer issue of Americas Quarterly, communications technology is revolutionizing the way patients receive health information and even services.
Long a pioneer in social media, Mayo Clinic has a popular channel on YouTube, active Twitter and Facebook accounts, and 12 blogs, the topics of which range from cancer to safe sex to patient anecdotes. While thus far it has primarily used these tools to enhance internal communication among employees—fostering collaboration on patient care, education, research and administration issues—it now seeks to accelerate adoption of them for health-related purposes. Patients will be able to research specific diseases, learn more about Mayo Clinic doctors and even access reference material from CNN Health.
The bottom line? “To help patients,” says center leader Lee Aese, by both providing information directly and integrating communication channels among the medical community.