Colombians among the first Latin American Internet users

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The Pyramid Research for Google made a recent study in 10 Latin American countries, showing a large increase in Internet use in the region. According to the study, in five years Latin America will add 160 million of users to the net. Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela are among the first Latin American fastest growing Internet user.

Although the global recession, the biggest Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, expect to rise revenues in 2009 in the fastest-growing region in this area, according to the words of Alexandre Hohagen, the Google´s director for Latin America in an interview to the Miami Herald.

Colombia is one of the first Internet users, says the study that shows that in 2007 the 40 million-population country added 5.4 million Internet users, meaning 12% of its population. That year was special important for Colombia in its increase use of Internet, because it meant the 80% more.

Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela followed Colombia for that same year in increase: Brazil added 7.4 million users (17%), Mexico 2,2 million (11%) and Venezuela 1.58 million (38%). Miami Herald put in contrast the increase in the Internet users in United State for 2007 that was of 5 percent (9.8 million.)

Internet became an indicator of development and democracy. The presence of a country on the net shows its level of participation in social, political, economical and cultural processes. It is easier now to have access to the reality of a country through the virtual window of Internet, even if some totalitarian systems try to put their censorship in it.

In the case of Colombia, affected by a gloomy image of violence for a long period of six decades, Internet contributes to open spaces to see the different faces of a nation. Before the Internet revolution, it was difficult to show other aspects of a country like Colombia different to what was said by global information systems leaded by US and Europe. Today a person has several sources to get in contact with a country, sources that can come from foreign or national point of views.

In a more local level, several groups find freedom of expression through Internet. Indigenous communities, Afro-Colombians, unionists, students, workers, people of the common,  opposition groups to political systems, find a wide space of communication on the Internet, in a mean that has not a concrete master. In that case, Internet gains a big importance in regions like Latin America and countries like Colombia.

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