Science, Tech & Environment

Cuba's version of Wikipedia

Cuba_Building_184761807.jpg

Building in Cuba (Image by Flickr user James Emery (cc:by))

This article was originally covered by PRI's The World. For more, listen to the audio above.

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First there was Wikipedia, the web-based collaborative encyclopedia. Then there was Conservapedia, the conservative, Chirstian counterpart to Wikipedia. Now there is Ecured, the communist Cuban contribution to the web-based encyclopedias.

With almost 20,000 articles contributed to the site so far, Ecured pales in comparison to the 3.5 million articles written by Wikipedia's English speakers. What it lacks in volume, however, the site makes up for in point of view. In the entry for the United States, for example, the country is called "the empire of our time," and is "characterized historically by the forceful stripping from other nations and countries of territories and natural resources in service of its businesses and monopolies."

"Cuba is obviously looking to give its own interpretation, if you like, of the world," the BBC's Michael Voss told PRI's The World. The site also suggests that the US has always wanted to take over Cuba, saying that from the earliest times, the US has looked upon Cuba "like those who admire a beautiful fruit that will end up falling in their hands."

It's not clear who is the intended audience for the website, according to Voss. He points out that Cuba has one of the lowest internet usage rates in the Western hemisphere. Just 1.6 out of the 11 million people on the island have access to the internet, and most of that is for work or school. Few people are allowed to have internet access in their homes.

The website also isn't as open as the original Wikipedia, even though the website's tagline is "knowledge for everyone by everyone." Pages and corrections have to be approved by the sites administrators, and it's not clear who those administrators are.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.

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