COMPUTER INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR LATIN AMERICA

  COMPUTER INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR LATIN AMERICA

                                Lorrie Ackerman
                                 December 1991

_Introduction_

      Computers are currently being used as information resources
for a wide variety of fields in many developed countries. 
Computers can give users information on library holdings and
journals; climatic, geological, agricultural and other data;
medical research; transportation schedules; banking information;
news; and numerous other topics.  In addition, computer users can
quickly obtain information by contacting and communicating with
experts from around the world through the international computer
networks.  Many of these information resources are available not
only to scientists and computer professionals, but also to the
general public.

      Computer information resources are not as wide-spread in
Latin American countries as they are in developed countries such
as the United States.  In fact, only about 2 percent of the
world's informatics equipment is in Latin America.  In addition,
the number of installed computer systems per capita was more than
16 times higher in the United States than it was in Latin America
in 1984.  The value of these computer systems as a percent of GNP
was five times higher in the United States than in Latin America. 
However, Latin America ranked first in computer technology among
developing regions (Correa 1989, 11-13).  

      In Latin America, computers are used mostly for
administrative purposes such as banking systems (Correa 1989,
15).  Computers are also used extensively in the university
environment.  However, Munasinghe (1987, 306) stresses the
importance of making computers accessible to the public:

      Unless the benefits of computer technology are brought
      to the people (especially the rural masses), skepticism
      and disillusionment might hamper further progress...as
      the scientific and technocratic leadership loses
      credibility.  Computers need not be confined to the
      elite--they should be accessible to everyone.

      In order for computer information resources to be accessible
to everyone, the following conditions are necessary:

-     Every country must have easy access to international
      computer networks.

-     Personal computers or computer terminals with which people
      can access international computer networks must be numerous
      and easily accessible.

-     People must learn how to access computer information
      resources.

      This paper will examine the barriers that exist to wide-
spread use of computer information resources in Latin America. 
It will also describe some of the computer information resources
that are currently being used and efforts underway to improve the
accessibility of these resources for Latin Americans.

_International Computer Networks_

      The worldwide diffusion of computer communications
technologies has enabled computer networks all over the world to
be tied together into an international metanetwork.  Information
exchanges which used to take up to several weeks can now occur
within minutes or seconds when carried out over this
international electronic communications infrastructure.  As Larry
Press put it, "Computer-mediated communication networks are...
helping to shrink the world" (Press 1991, 23).

      An article by Quarterman and Hoskins (1986, 932) defines
computer networks:

      A computer network is a set of computers using common
      protocols to communicate over connecting transmission
      media....Among these networks are long-haul (or wide-
      area) networks that can encompass continents.  There
      are also internets of smaller networks communicating
      with one another through the same protocols....The
      computers connected can be small microcomputers,
      supercomputers, or anything in between.  Multiple
      interconnection media can be used, including coaxial
      cable, optical fibers, satellite links, twisted pair,
      or telephone lines.  The protocols can vary widely in
      speed, reliability, and general functionality.  The
      services provided can range from the most basic mail
      service to distributed file systems and remote
      procedure call capability.  A similar diversity applies
      to ownership, funding, administration, addressing, and
      other characteristics.

      Representative descriptions of some of the more widely-used
international computer networks that are accessible from Latin
America follow.  Some of these descriptions include information
from Lawrence Landweber's "International Connectivity" table. 
Landweber uses the term "widespread" when a network has five or
more sites in a country; he uses the term "minimal" when a
network has fewer than five sites in a country.  A network
connectivity table for Latin American countries is included in
the appendix.

      _BITNET._  The most widely used international network in
Latin America is BITNET (Because It's Time NETwork).  Connecting
over 3,000 host computers (nodes) in 46 countries through a
network of leased phone lines, BITNET is accessible from over
1400 universities and research centers worldwide.  BITNET boasts
practically unrestricted access and no membership fees, and
provides a variety of services including electronic mail, file
transfer and interactive messages.  The mail delivery delay
ranges from minutes to hours, while the delay for interactive
communications is usually less than 8 seconds (Quarterman and
Hoskins 1986, 953-955; BITNIC 1991).  Interactive communications
are quite limited, however, due to the relatively slow speed of
data transfer in the network.  

      BITNET was not accessible to most of Latin America until
1988 (Hsieh and Gamboa 1991, 3).  There are currently over 60
Latin American BITNET nodes located in nine countries.  As shown
in the appendix, there are BITNET nodes in Costa Rica, Mexico,
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay
(BITNIC 1991).  However, BITNET is only widespread in Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, and Mexico (Landweber 1991).

      In some countries BITNET access is facilitated through
cooperative agreements with U.S. agencies.  In 1987 the Mataveti
Bilateral Agreement initiated a program in which the University
of Chile was given free use of the NASA telecommunication system
to connect to the University of Maryland BITNET node by way of
the Goddard Space Flight Center between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Hsieh
and Gamboa 1991, 6).  A computer at the University of Chile
stores all outgoing messages until 8 p.m., at which time it
begins transmitting them to a NASA satellite link.  Thus the
University of Chile was able to gain BITNET access at a cost of
about $10,000 (Ruth, Uteras, and Brescia 1990, 260).

      Some Argentinean universities have also benefitted from the
Chilean agreement with NASA.  At the National University of Cuyo
in western Argentina, "faculty members of the university's
academic departments give floppy disks to Professor Guillermo
Cuadrado of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters for
transmission to colleagues around the world through the Chilean
node."  It costs about 70 cents for a microwave transition of a
an electronic message from Medoza to Santiago.  This cost is
about the same as the cost of postal service, which takes about
three weeks to deliver a letter (Ruth, Uteras, and Brescia 1990,
262).

      _Internet._  Internet is a rapidly growing network of over
100,000 host computers in 33 countries, including the Latin
American countries Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. 
(Landweber 1991).  Internet provides services similar to BITNET. 
However, Internet is a much faster network, with mail delivery
times ranging from seconds to minutes (Quarterman and Hoskins
1986, 942-943).  In addition, Internet offers a vide variety of
interactive services that allow users to run programs on
computers across the network.  

      _UUCP._  The UUCP mail network provides only one service: 
electronic mail.  However, its low cost and ease of connection
have made it popular around the world (Quarterman and Hoskins
1986, 957-958).  In Latin America, UUCP is widespread in
Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.  It is minimal in 14 other Latin
American countries (Landweber 1991).

      _FidoNet._  Unlike the other networks described here,
FidoNet runs only on personal computers.  It is not a commercial
or academic network; it is a network of personal-computer users. 
It provides mail service between FidoNet users as well as users
of other networks.  The software is distributed for free, but
users must pay phone costs when they send mail messages. 
However, the costs are minimal as FidoNet operates in the late
evening when phone rates are lowest (Quarterman and Hoskins 1986,
955-956).  In Latin America, FidoNet is widespread in Argentina
and Brazil.  It is minimal in Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay.

      _Commercial Networks._  Commercial networks sell electronic
mail, news, home shopping, remote login, and other services to
users for a profit.  Commercial networks are usually accessed via
modem using a local phone number.  Most commercial networks have
local phone numbers in cities throughout the United States and in
many foreign countries, but most do not have local numbers in
Latin America.  For example, SprintNet, a commercial network that
has local phone numbers in the United States, Europe, and Asia,
does not have any local numbers in Latin America.  In many Latin
American countries, commercial networks are most easily accessed
with a long distance phone call to the United States.  While
calling late at night can significantly reduce phone fees, the
cost of accessing commercial networks outside the United States
can be prohibitive.

      _IGC Networks._  The San Francisco-based Institute for
Global Communications (IGC), a division of the non-profit Tides
Foundation, runs three international computer networks: 
PeaceNet, EcoNet, and ConflictNet.  These networks are "dedicated
solely to environmental preservation, peace, and human rights." 
They serve individuals and organizations working for
environmental preservation and sustainability, peace, social
justice, human rights, disarmament, and conflict resolution.  The
networks are supported through private grants, monthly
subscription fees and hourly connect charges (IGC 1991).   

      Subscribers can access IGC through the Internet, SprintNet,
or telephone.  IGC provides subscribers with electronic mail,
electronic "conference" forums, and information services. 
Subscribers can exchange electronic mail with users of the
Internet, BITNET, and over 50 other computer networks.  In
addition, IGC has organized the Association of Progressive
Communications (APC), "a major program to develop low-cost access
to computer networking from outside the United States, especially
from non-industrialized and Southern hemisphere countries."  The
APC partner networks, run by independent local organizations,
include Alternex in Brazil and Nicarao in Nicaragua (IGC 1991).  

      _National and regional networks._  In some Latin American
countries and regions, national or regional networks facilitate
communication and information exchange between researchers, non-
governmental organizations (NGOs), and others.  These networks
include Huracan in Central America, Ecuanex in Ecuador, and Unbol
in Bolivia.  The most recently established national network is
Red Cientifica Peruana (RCP), Peru's scientific network.  John
Bonine (1991b) explains how the network was built:

      RCP was put together with the enthusiasm and hard work
      of Peruvian computer scientists and engineers, advised
      and assisted by counterparts in Argentina, Brazil, and
      elsewhere in Latin America.  The crucial final funding
      link for a main network server, other equipment, and
      travel expenses for a low-cost networking expert from
      Costa Rica and one from Oregon, US, was provided by
      Enzo Puliatti of the U.N. development Program....

      In the early stages of RCP, the international gateway is a
computer that has been programmed to periodically dial Peru from
Oregon.  Scientists, academics, and NGO workers can access the
network from five locations in Peru (Bonine 1991b).

_Computer Information Resources_

      "Information now ranks with other major development
resources: human, natural, and financial," writes Hanna (1991,
1).  Computers can be valuable tools for storing and
disseminating information.

      There are a wide variety of information resources available
through the international computer networks.  These resources
help researchers quickly access information that they otherwise
might not have access to.  In Colombia, for example, it is common
for university researchers to use the Dialog service to find
bibliographic references (Ferreira 1991).  This commercial
service allows users to access hundreds of databases which
catalog articles from journals covering a large range of fields. 
Services like Dialog allow anyone with a personal computer,
modem, and phone line to have the world's libraries essentially
at their fingertips.  Without such services, Hanna (1991, 8)
writes:

      Researchers, scientists, engineers, and other knowledge
      workers in developing countries are often isolated from
      current developments in their professions....
      result[ing] in needlessly repeated research, poor-
      quality research, and ignorance of relevant development
      elsewhere....Developing-country professionals waste
      their valuable time and scarce skills on inefficient
      information searches and routine information-handling
      activities.

Following are brief descriptions of two other computer
information resources currently being used in Latin America.

      _Healthcare applications._  The National Library of Medicine
in Bethesda, Maryland maintains MEDLARS (MEDical Literature
Analysis and Retrieval System), a computerized system of over 40
online databases containing a total of about 14 million
references.  The databases contain information on AIDS, cancer,
biomedical ethics, chemicals, dental research, family planning,
toxic substances, medical terminology, and a variety of other
topics (NLM 1991b).

      International access to MEDLARS is available online through
a telephone connection as well as by leasing database tapes and
software from NLM (NLM 1991a).  However, international online
connections are expensive, and leased tapes are not always up-to-
date and can only be accessed from one site.  In order to make
international access more feasible, NLM and the University of
Chile developed "BITNIS"--a software package which allows a
MEDLARS search to be prepared on a personal computer (PC) at a
remote site.  BITNIS creates a file that contains all the
necessary search statements, puts the file in an electronic mail
envelope, and sends the file to NLM through BITNET.  A PC at NLM
receives the file and sends the search statements to the NLM
mainframe computer.  When the search is finished, the mainframe
sends the results to the PC, which puts them in an E-mail
envelope and sends them back to the sender (Hsieh and Gamboa
1991, 2-5).  

      BITNIS was beta tested in ten Latin American countries over
a five month period beginning in September 1990.  Turn around
time was usually less than half an hour, except for searches
requested from Argentina.  The Argentinean network's "dial-up as
needed" connection method (as opposed to being continuously
connected to BITNET) lengthened turn around time in that country
to about an hour and a half (Hsieh and Gamboa 1991, 8-9).  Hsieh
and Gamboa reported (1991, 8):  "Results of the BETA test
indicated that the system worked well and most users found it
important to their professional activities." 

      _Communications network._  The ability to communicate is
"one of the most significant issues in the empowerment of
scientists, businessmen and women, doctors, teachers and many
other specialists in developing nations" (Ruth, Uteras, and
Brescia 1990, 259).  Computer networks can help facilitate
communication between organizations and individuals around the
world.  Through these networks, people from around the world can
exchange ideas quickly and converse almost as if they were in the
same room.

      Miguel Korzeniewicz (1991) described his experiences on a
network of Argentine scientists at home and abroad: 

      What seemed really remarkable to me at the time I was a
      member of that network, was the extent to which the
      network replicated the type of Argentine "coffeeshop"
      interaction, with fiery, endless and witty discussion
      on politics, sports, science, etc. 

      In addition to providing a means for conversational
communication as described above, computer networks allow
professionals to quickly survey their peers for more information
on a specific topic.  For example, a doctor who is treating a
patient with unusual symptoms could post a description of the
symptoms to an electronic bulletin board with the hope that
another doctor somewhere in the world had treated a similar
condition.

      Computer networks can also be useful for quickly
distributing an announcement to a large group of people.  John
Bonine reported that the Eugene, Oregon-based Environmental Law
Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW) used international computer networks
in a successful campaign to prevent Conoco Oil Company from
putting an oil field in Ecuador's Yasuni National Park (Bonine
1991a).  "Largely as a result of electronic communications people
all over the world were opposing this project," Bonine explained.

_Barriers to the Diffusion of Information Technology_

      Although computer information resources are being used
successfully by individuals in some Latin American countries,
most Latin Americans have no way of accessing these resources. 
While computers are common at universities and throughout urban
areas, the diffusion of the technology has hardly penetrated the
rural areas of Latin America.  In Costa Rica, for example, most
universities are already linked to BITNET and soon will be linked
to Internet (Lang Sanou 1991).  But in Belize, El Salvador,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, and Suriname, no international
computer links currently exist (Landweber 1991).

      Most Latin Americans are unable to access computer
information resources because they lack:  easy access to the
international networks, personal computers or computer terminals
with which to access computer networks, and information on how to
access computer networks.  Several barriers cause these
deficiencies.

      _Economic._  Computer prices are often prohibitive to people
in Latin America.  "Most prices we get are targeted for developed
nations' markets.  We often get a 10-20% increment over U.S.
prices," explained Carlos Lang Sanou of Costa Rica (1991).

      _Information._  Reiter (1987, 3) explains that developing
countries often lack information on how computers can be used: 

      The shortage of books, trade journals, and consultants
      means that people wishing to computerize do not know
      what is available in the market, and indeed what it is
      possible to do with computers.  This is a very
      important problem, because no one is going to
      computerize an application if he doesn't know  that
      computerization is possible in the first place -- or,
      conversely, someone who computerizes with inappropriate
      equipment and unrealistic expectations is likely to be
      disappointed and perhaps subsequently ignore computers
      for the rest of his career.

This lack of information is often a major obstacle to
computerization.

      _Language._  Language can also be a barrier to the diffusion
of computers in Latin America.  "Only about 10% of our population
has a good understanding of written English.  This is a serious
impediment for those who need to use programs that only
communicate in English," explains Lang Sanou (1991).  Not only is
much software written to communicate only in English, but the
manuals that accompany it are also in English.  As a result,
understanding English is often a requirement for computer-related
jobs (Reiter 1987, 5).  In addition, most computer information
resources are in English.

      _Local repair and support._  Reiter (1987, 3) explains that
many developing countries lack local computer repair and support
services, especially in rural areas.  These countries do not have
enough skilled personnel to operate, support and repair computer
systems.  In addition, replacement parts, which must often be
ordered from other countries, take a long time to be shipped and
clear customs.

      _Network links._  Many services which are easily accessible
over Internet are inaccessible over BITNET, or can only be
accessed through a slow or clumsy procedure.  However, as already
explained, the Internet is not accessible from most of Latin
America.

      _Political._  Informatics policies which severely restrict
or tax computer imports often result in high computer prices and
technology lags.  Brazil's protectionist informatics policy has
helped to build a large information technology industry, but not
without negative side effects.  Roche found that the policy,
"which reserves the Brazilian market for Brazilian-produced
goods," has inflated the price of computer equipment to three to
five times its price on the open market and made advanced
computer applications difficult to implement.  The policy
prohibits the import of any good that is also produced in Brazil
unless that good is classified as critical.  Those goods which
can be imported are often subject to high tariffs.  As a result,
Brazilian computer professionals often cannot purchase state-of-
the-art technology and must frequently rely on outdated equipment
much longer than their U.S. counterparts do (Roche 1990, 1-22). 
This may change when many of the restrictions are lifted in
October 1992.

      _Technology lag._  Most of the other barriers join together
to cause the availability of computer technology in Latin America
to lag behind developed countries.  However, Larry Press (1991,
24) notes that the computer technology lag in Chile is much
shorter now than it was ten years ago: 

      There is still some lag in the movement of personal
      computer technology to South America, but it is much
      less than in 1982, when I was last in Chile.  That
      visit was nearly a year after IBM had announced the PC,
      and it was still six months away from introduction in
      South America....In less than 10 years the time gap has
      closed somewhat from an initial year or two to a month
      or two.

      _Telecommunications infrastructure._  Reiter (1987, 3)
explains that developing countries' poor telecommunications
infrastructures often provide only a limited number of high-
quality leased lines for data transfer.  In Paraguay, for
example, the public phone service is better than in many Third
World countries, but far below U.S. standards.  There is roughly
one phone line for every 16 people and it takes a month or two to
get a new line installed; there is roughly one line per person in
the United States (Goodman 1991, 26).  A poor telecommunication
system makes electronic communications and access to remote
databases difficult to achieve.  

_Appropriate Technology?_

      Computers are highly demanding of capital, foreign exchange,
and skilled personnel for their effective use.  Not only do they
not create jobs for unskilled workers, but computers can displace
such workers.  However, Gupta (1987, 44-47) argues that despite
these problems, the appropriate use of computer technology can be
quite beneficial to developing countries.  He evaluates computer
technology by considering its relative cost, technical
reliability, and range of applications; environmental and safety
aspects; and the change agents and learning problems involved. 
After discussing each of these aspects, he concludes that
computer technology is not only appropriate for developing
countries, but that: "It seems that computer technology will
prove to be the most important new technology of this century
comparable only to the development of such basic technologies as
electric power, steam power or the printing press." 

      Munasinghe (1987, 306) agrees and states that computer
technologies are essential to be competitive in the world market:

      Whether they like it or not, third world societies and
      economies will be compelled to live with these new
      technological advances, and all their widespread
      implications.  Either the developing countries adapt
      and use the knowledge to enhance their drive for socio-
      economic development, or they fall back even further--
      this is the harsh rule of survival in an increasingly
      competitive world marketplace.

      However, in order for developing countries to take advantage
of this important technology, they must rely on the developed
countries.  As a result, Correa (1989, 11) writes, "Informatics
is regarded, at the same time, as a promise and as a threat."                 
According to Correa, Latin American computer personnel are often
trained by hardware suppliers as part of the companies' marketing
strategies.  These personnel often purchase equipment recommended
by the companies that trained them, which is not necessarily the
equipment that would best meet the needs of their business or
organization.

      Gupta (1987, 46) states that although there are many
inappropriate uses of computer technology, appropriate uses have
resulted in "more efficient use of scarce resources, increased
productivity, and improved quality of decisions made by
government and business."  He lists as appropriate applications
of the technology: transportation management, accounting,
inventory management, education, healthcare, financial services,
and processing agricultural information.

      Using computers to access electronic information resources
is certainly an appropriate use of the technology as well.  If
the network links are available, computers purchased for other
purposes can also be used to access information resources.

_Recommendations_

      There are a variety of projects proposed and underway to
increase the accessibility of information technology in Latin
America.  While these projects do not have the same kind of
direct impact as do many food and medical assistance programs,
they do, none the less, provide many important benefits that can
impact large numbers of people.  The international computer
science community should support these efforts through
cooperative programs that share developed countries' computer and
information resources with the less developed countries of Latin
America.

      One such project, recently begun by Kevin D. Kells of
Zurich, Switzerland, will provide Latin American countries with
telecommunications, engineering, and computer science consultants
from around the world.  Kells (1991) explained his rationale for
beginning the project:

      Why do I want to set up computer networks when there
      are people dying of hunger?...[G]iven my specific
      abilities and training....I felt I could help more
      people effectively by applying myself toward the
      improvement of the communications infrastructure.  I
      saw benefits ranging from higher accessibility of
      physicians to those in need, to the attraction of
      "high-tech" business and the improvement of university
      programs.

      Other projects, such as the cooperative agreement between
NASA and the University of Chile, make use of existing computer
and network resources owned by developed countries.  These
programs can be implemented at low costs because they take
advantage of resources that would otherwise be under utilized at
certain times of day.

      In addition, it is important for Latin American computer
professionals to exchange ideas and coordinate their computer
networking efforts.  

      The First Interamerican Networking Workshop, held in October
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought together groups and
individuals interested in Latin American research networking. 

      The meeting was designed to increase awareness and
      understanding of various ongoing networking projects in
      Latin America, in order to stimulate integration of
      current efforts leading to eventual region-wide
      coordination....The meeting contributed to the creation
      of a Latin American networking identity among the
      participants (Galindo-Legaria 1991).

      The meeting included a hands-on network training seminar,
presentations on the status of national and supra-national
networking projects, and presentations on the applications of
computer networks.  As a result of the meeting, a permanent forum
for the coordination of the activities in electronic
communication networks in Latin America and the Caribbean was
formed (Galindo-Legaria 1991).

      Finally, new uses of computer information resources,
particularly those that can directly impact the masses, should be
pursued.  In particular, efforts should be made to make computer
information resources accessible to NGOs.  Through their
development workers, NGOs can bring these information resources
to the people.  Hanna (1991, 8) explains:

      There is a need to capture and record local knowledge
      and experience and to make them readily available to a
      larger audience within countries and regions....For
      example, local research on agriculture, health, and
      environment often is not adapted and made accessible to
      policy makers, administrators, extension workers, or
      farmers....Putting indigenous information as well as
      outside knowledge within reach of the people would
      allow them to fit the information into their own
      problem-solving processes.

      Computer networks, if properly implemented, would be an
appropriate means of sharing information with the people of Latin
America.  

_Conclusions_

      Computer information resources are being used for a wide
variety of applications in developed countries.  However, in the
less developed countries of Latin America, the use of these
resources is quite limited.  In most Latin American countries,
access to the international computer networks through which these
information resources are available is limited or non-existent. 
In the absence of international network links, Latin Americans
wishing to access computer information resources must rely on
telephone connections which may be scarce or costly.

      There are a number of computer information resources from
which the Latin American people could benefit.  Electronic
communication networks, library databases, and medical databases
are already being used by researchers in some Latin American
countries.  However, few information resources are accessible by
the masses, particularly in rural areas, far from the large
universities.

      Before the use of information resources will become
widespread there must be easy access to international computer
networks, personal computers and computer terminals with which to
access these networks, and information on how to access computer
networks.  A variety of barriers to these conditions have been
discussed.

      Several projects proposed and underway to increase the
accessibility of information technology in Latin America have
been discussed.  The international computer science community
should support these efforts through cooperative programs that
share developed countries' computer and information resources
with the less developed countries of Latin America.  Latin
American computer professionals should also be encouraged to
exchange ideas with each other and coordinate their computer
networking efforts.  In addition, it is important that new uses
of computer information resources, particularly those that can
directly impact the masses, be pursued.

      Computers can provide the people of Latin America with the
important resource of information.  Cooperation will be necessary
to insure that this resource is accessible to all people.APPENDIX

NETWORK CONNECTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA

Country           BITNET      Internet    UUCP        FidoNet
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina         Y (w)       Y           Y (w)       Y (w)
Belize            N           N           N           N
Bolivia           N           N           Y (m)       N
Brazil            Y (w)       Y           Y (w)       Y (w)
Chile             Y (w)       Y           Y (w)       Y (m)
Colombia          Y (m)       N           Y (m)       N
Costa Rica        Y (m)       N           Y (m)       N
Cuba              N           N           Y (m)       N
Dominican Rep.    N           N           Y (m)       N
Ecuador           Y (m)       N           Y (m)       N
El Salvador       N           N           N           N
French Guiana     N           N           Y (m)       N
Guatemala         N           N           Y (m)       N
Guyana            N           N           N           N
Haiti             N           N           N           N
Honduras          N           N           N           N
Mexico            Y (w)       Y           Y (m)       Y (m)
Nicaragua         N           N           Y (m)       N
Panama            N           N           N           N
Paraguay          N           N           Y (m)       N
Peru              *           N           Y (m)       N
Puerto Rico**     Y (w)       Y           Y (w)       Y (w)
Suriname          N           N           N           N
Uruguay           *           N           Y (m)       Y (m)
Venezuela         N           N           Y (m)       N

Y -- country has international network links
N -- country does not have international network links  
(w) -- network is widespread, with five or more domestic sites
(m) -- network is minimal, with less than five domestic sites
* --  Landweber listed country as "uncertain"  However, BITNIC listed these
      countries on its list of countries participating in BITNET.  

** Puerto Rico is included because of its location.  
   It is not a Latin American country.

Compiled from International Connectivity: Version 3 - December 2, 1991,
copyright 1991 by Lawrence H. Landweber and the Internet Society.  
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Bonine, John E. 1991b.  NETS: Peru academic/NGO net online! 
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