Ship Begins Laying Venezuela-Cuba Cable Cuba to gain its first fiber-optics line By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Jan 19, 2011 6:11 AM CST 7 comments Comments Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, salutes toward reporters as Cuba's President Raul Castro smiles during a meeting in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) (Newser) – Cubans will soon find it a lot easier to reach out and touch someone: US sanctions had left the island nation the only country in the Western Hemisphere not linked to the outside world by fiber optics, but a ship has now arrived in Venezuela to begin laying fiber optic cable across the Caribbean, the AP reports. Cubans can expect vastly improved telephone and Internet services when the project is complete. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he plans to be there to inaugurate the project, the latest of many recent Cuba-Venezuela joint efforts. The French firm supplying the technology stresses that no American citizens or companies will be taking part, so they will not be "exposed in any way to any type of sanction."