Havana has given mixed signals about its willingness to work with Google. Company officials including Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt have met with the Cuban government more than once. Cohen was allowed into the country and was invited to the re-opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington.
Henken speculated that Cuba's apparent willingness to speak with Google stems from Schmidt's endorsement of an end to the trade embargo. The White House announced its change in policy toward Cuba last December.
"Now, after December 17, it's harder to say no to people of that stature," Henken said. "They have to at least look like they are taking these offers seriously."
But old mistrust dies hard. The Cuban government has reverted to Cold War rhetoric when talking about the Internet. Juan Antonio Machado Ventura, a former Cuban politician and general who fought alongside Fidel Castro in the 1950s, last month appeared to liken Google to an American Trojan horse.
"There exist people who want to give (the Internet) to us for free, but they aren't doing it with the goal of allowing the Cuban people to communicate, but rather with the purpose of penetrating us, and to do ideological work to achieve a new conquest," he told Juventud Rebelde, a government-backed news website.
"We must have the Internet, but our way, knowing that there is an imperialist intention to use it as one more way to destroy the Revolution," he said. "We have to do it, so that our young people aren't too distant from the world of today, but we have to explain to them why we aren't doing it more rapidly."