Cuba appreciates the presentation of Secretary-General´s Report A/71/67 entitled: “Progress made in the implementation and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels”.
As the Report indicates, developments on connectivity, innovation and access to ICT have become evident since the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society, particularly the rapid expansion of the fixed wireless broadband. However, in spite of these achievements there are concerns with respect to the existing digital divides within and between countries.
According to data from the 2015 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report published by the International Telecommunication Union, the proportion of the world population with mobile phone coverage currently exceeds 95%. Similarly, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions increased from 2,200 million to 7,100 million since 2005, and the number of mobile broadband subscriptions has risen from 800,000 to 3,500 million since 2010.
Nevertheless, the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, where only 6.7% of households have internet access, are lagging far behind the developed countries, with 81.3% of households connected. In many countries, digital divides between urban and rural areas are significant; and only 29% of the world´s rural population has third generation network coverage compared to 89% of the urban population.
Cuba underscores that technology is not neutral and it aligns, at all times, with the interests of those who have it and apply it. This is one of the explanations why extending ICT worldwide, with enormous potential benefits, has paradoxically contributed to the digital divide, by widening socio-economic gaps between rich and poor, between "haves" and "have-nots", between exploiters and exploitees. Cuba has always upheld the concept that the mass use of ICT is not an end itself but rather a powerful tool to achieving economic and social development, eradicating poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion.
It is therefore of pressing importance to continue fighting to remove existing barriers for developing countries to access technologies, such as insufficient resources, infrastructure, education, capability, investment and connectivity, as well as those related to security, intellectual property and technology transfer.
The lack of political will of a large number of developed countries and their decision to secure the unfair basis of the existing international economic order, are key factors in the failure to progress of a Fair, Equitable and Cooperative Global Information Society.
Establishing a New World Order in Information and Communications is an urgent need for the developing countries and broad social sectors in the industrialized countries themselves to successfully address the plans for political and cultural domination designed in the main centers of transnational capital power.
It is necessary to continue efforts to fulfill the commitments agreed at the World Summit of the Information Society and their connection with the 2030 Development Agenda. In order to build an Information and Knowledge Society, it is essential to have a system providing for justice, equity and social inclusion.
The use of ICT for inappropriate purposes has the potential to put international peace and security at risk.
Therefore, Cuba expresses profound concern about the covert and illegal use by individuals, organizations and States of computer systems of other nations to attack third countries for their potential to cause international conflicts.
We reiterate our demand for the end of the use of information and communications technologies, including social networks, in violation of international law and to the detriment of the wellbeing in any State.
The use of new information and communications technologies has to be fully in line with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, particularly the principles of sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and the internationally recognized rules of civil coexistence among States.
The only way to prevent and address these new threats and make sure cyberspace does not become a scene for military actions is by means of concerted action among all States.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace to develop friendly relations and cooperation among nations, and has acknowledged the importance of ICT, including Internet, as tools to foster peace, wellbeing, knowledge and human development.
Cuba is working towards the computerization of society and the spread of Internet to all, ensuring an effective and genuine insertion of Cubans in such space. In this regard, priority of use is given to education, health, science and culture and taken as a way to boost productivity and economic growth.
All these efforts have been made with the hurdle posed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba for more than half a century. In the sector of communications and computing, including telecommunications, damages during the year 2015 amount to 59,208,700 dollars.
The Geneva Declaration of Principles recognized that building an Information Society requires new solidarity, partnership and cooperation modalities among governments and other parties concerned.
Accordingly, the international community can always rely on Cuba´s voice of sincerity in addressing injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and in establishing a more just and equitable international order, with human beings, their dignity and wellbeing as the focal point.
Thank you very much.