Tue 14th of December 2010, filed under Internet News
Create and disseminate knowledge
The Cuban government has today launched a Spanish language online encyclopedia. With 20,000 entries already in place, EcuRed aims to "create and disseminate the knowledge of all and for all, from Cuba and with the world." The website, which has been working sporadically throughout the day, is being widely compared to Wikipedia as it claims that users will be able to submit and update articles in the future.
EcuRed is all in Spanish with currently no English version available, but some entries have already been translated and posted elsewhere online. Most of the attention has been on the entry for the United States, who have a historically strained relationship with the Caribbean island country, and the entry on EcuRed is unflinchingly critical. It describes America as being the "empire of our time, which has historically taken by force territory and natural resources from other nations, to put at the service of its businesses and monopolies."
Cuban view of the world
It is such content that draws attention to EcuRed's similarities with Wikipedia and it is a clear statement from the Cuban government that they feel the need to distance themselves from American-led web resources and present their own view of the world. The American article goes on, ""It consumes 25% of the energy produced on the planet and in spite of its wealth, more than a third of its population does not have assured medical attention."
EcuRed states its philosophy as "the accumulation and development of knowledge, with a democratizing, not profitable, objective, from a decolonizer point of view." The site also contains articles on former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, who took over power in 2006.
EcuRed has some way to go before it can challenge Wikipedia's dominance, however. Compared to the 20,000 articles on EcuRed, Wikipedia holds 17 million in 273 different languages and is the fifth most popular website in the world. The Spanish version of Wikipedia currently contains 683,061 articles.
Posted by Percy Herbert