Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Cuba’s Internet: scarce, expensive and still censored

Cuba still lags far behind its Latin American counterparts on internet access, despite this week’s announcement that the government will provide Wi-Fi access to 35 state-run computer centers. Since the country’s first, humble 64kbit/s connection was established in 1996, not much has changed. Only 3.4 percent of Cuban households are connected, and a mere five … Read more


Monday Memo: Guatemalan Protests—Costa Rican Discrimination—Chinese Investment—Guyana Election—Technology in Honduras

Demonstrators Call for Pérez Molina’s Resignation:  Thousands of protestors marched across 13 cities in Guatemala on Saturday to call for President Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation. The protests came as a response to a customs tax fraud scandal uncovered by the Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala—CICIG) in April … Read more

Rakdee Getty

Disrupt Latin America

Microfinance revolutionized the financial services sector in Latin America over 40 years ago. Millions of individuals who were excluded from traditional financial institutions obtained access to a variety of financial products and services for the first time. Inevitably, there were gaps in coverage. In recent years, various players have been looking beyond microfinance to find … Read more


Interview: Javier Olivan, Facebook

Facebook began in 2004 as an online social networking service for students at Harvard University. Since then, it has grown into a global enterprise worth over $200 billion, with more than 1 billion active users. In July 2014, the company launched Internet.org, with telecom and other industry partners, in an effort to broaden access to … Read more

3d printing Latin America

Medical 3D Printing

With its recent transformation from fringe technology to mainstream commodity, 3D printing has been hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. The ability to design and manufacture goods at low costs could fundamentally change the way we produce and consume. Although still in its infancy, the 3D printing revolution has already transformed our daily lives—from 3D-printed … Read more

Cuba online

Decoding the Digital Cold War

Among the pressing issues raised by the historic thaw in U.S.–Cuba relations is the role the Internet might play as the two nations enter a new chapter in their shared history. Cuba has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the Western hemisphere. Government data suggests that over 25 percent of Cubans are using … Read more


Ask the Experts: Technology in Latin America

João Rezende answers: The biggest challenge of regulation—not only in Brazil, but in all countries that require huge investments in telecommunications—is to establish clear, conceivable, consistent, and transparent rules to promote a healthy, competitive environment between the various players operating in the market. These values are necessary for the widespread distribution of quality services at … Read more


Commerce Without Borders: Latin America’s Wired Entrepreneurs

In 2013, Nataliya and Daniel Ulasik started their own business in Quito, Ecuador. The business, EcuaLama, enables Indigenous people in the small Ecuadorian mountain town of Otavalo to sell handmade blankets, ponchos and hats to consumers in 30 countries. The company’s online sales and marketing eventually led to a relationship with a London-based retailer. Today, … Read more

Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, Pablo Collada

Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente

Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente (Smart Citizen Foundation) was founded in 2009—a time when Chile’s new Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information had just come into force. Yet few Chileans were taking advantage of the law, which requires government agencies to reply to individual information requests and disclose operational costs, budgets and other information online. … Read more

police body cameras

Will the widespread use of body cameras improve police accountability? No

Information technology is shaped by the organization that uses it. It is also shaped by the practices of the people who use it in their work. New kinds of information technology, or ways of processing work-related information, are thought to make work routines more efficient. In police work—just as in the work of doctors, lawyers … Read more

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Latin America’s High-Tech Warriors

Interstate conflict is rare in Latin America. Yet some nations in the region are emerging as world leaders in advanced military technology. From drones to complex border surveillance systems, their research and development (R&D) laboratories have come up with sophisticated tools to counter this century’s unconventional threats to national security. That’s reflected in part by … Read more


Internet in the Americas: Who’s Connected?

Across the Americas, Internet usage is on the rise. Access to the Internet—fundamental to the full realization of human rights, according to the United Nations—can significantly improve quality of life by increasing knowledge and understanding, by broadening expression, and by deepening engagement with civil society.1 Especially since the widespread use of the Internet by activists … Read more

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The Battle for High-Speed Internet

Chattanooga, Tennessee, may be best known for the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 1941 hit, “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” But today, the city of about 173,000 people can also boast the first, most cost-effective and fastest high-speed municipal Internet in the United States. Chattanooga’s fiber-optic Internet costs $70 a month1 and connects users at one gigabit per second … Read more

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Is Bitcoin Latin America’s Next Big Thing?

The new technology for financial transactions is a boon for people who lack access to traditional banks and financial systems. The historic surge of global Internet access and usage underlines the tremendous potential of the technology known as Bitcoin.* In two decades, the number of Internet users worldwide grew from approximately 25 million in 1994 … Read more

Smart city, Medellín, Medellín Ciudad Inteligente

Medellín, The Smart City

Expectant mothers in the poorest areas of Medellín, Colombia, once had to travel far from their neighborhoods for doctor appointments—often spending more money than they earned in a day on transportation. But thanks to the Buen Comienzo (Good Start) program provided by the city government’s Medellín Ciudad Inteligente (Medellín Smart City) initiative, mothers-to-be in the … Read more

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