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Cuba launches its online encyclopedia

December 14, 2010 |  4:24 pm

Ecured screengrabPublish

The government of Cuba on Tuesday launched its version of Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia, but the new website called EcuRed was having technical issues on its first day online and not all pages were loading properly.

The site -- www.ecured.cu -- is meant to present Cuba's view of the world and history, from a "decolonized" perspective, the state newspaper Granma announced (link in Spanish). The site is to be edited by individual users, but articles would have to be approved by unidentified moderators. It was not clear Tuesday whether users outside Cuba are able to register and edit or add new articles at EcuRed. La Plaza attempted to register as a new user to test the interface but was unable to load the registration page.

Although many EcuRed pages were not loading, cached versions of some pages in a Google search had  the communist government's official biases on display. The United States is "recognized as the empire of our times," the site says, and Fidel Castro is described as the "historical leader of the Cuban Revolution" in a lengthy entry.

Here's the rest of EcuRed's introduction to its entry on the United States, as translated by La Plaza:

The United States of America, recognized as the empire of our times, is the most powerful nation in all of history. Emerging as an independent nation in 1776, it has reached notable economic, scientific, and military development. It is historically characterized by stripping by force the territory and natural resources of other nations and countries in order to place them in the service of its companies and monopolies. It consumes 25% of the energy produced on the planet, and despite its wealth more than a third of its population does not have guaranteed medical care.

The entire cached version of the entry is here. No entry was yet available however on the "Ladies in White," the anti-regime protest movement that emerged on the island this year, composed of the wives and mothers of jailed dissidents.

EcuRed is headed by the official Youth Club of Computing and Electronics, which said in a statement that the site's launch is "a dream come true." It launched with more than 19,000 articles, reports said.

Although the communist regime is gradually embracing capitalist models in an effort to adapt to the global economy, Internet use among Cuban citizens remains closely monitored and controlled by the government. As La Plaza reported previously, an independent blogger community is growing on the island nonetheless, led by dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez.

Sanchez recently posted about dealing with cuts to her cellphone service: "Every so often someone flips a switch and leaves us in silence. Curiously, it happens when there is important news to report and urgent information to bring to light."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Image: A screen grab of the new Cuba online encyclopedia, EcuRed. Credit: Generaccion.com

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