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5. Central American telex network

While we often laud Project Cybersyn as a form of early internet, we tend to overlook the earlier and more ambitious efforts to utilize telex machines and telex technology to connect various institutions throughout Central and Latin America. Mostly driven by the imperatives of the Cold War and the fight against communist agitators and guerrillas, these efforts primarily focused on linking police departments.

One of the most notable of these initiatives was the Central American Telex Network, established in the early 1960s. Partly financed and advocated for by the CIA and the U.S. State Department, its goal was to facilitate the exchange of information among police agencies in countries like Guatemala and Honduras. They aimed to better track and capture leftist guerrillas and radical protesters crossing borders, from whom they could extract potentially valuable information through interrogation.

A somewhat utopian 1960s take on the political promise of teletyping

In many ways, this network was a precursor to Operation Condor, which was much wider in scope and more targeted, resulting in the elimination of many high-profile individuals, primarily in Latin America. However, it's worth noting that this process of interlinking, especially through the telex network, had already begun in Central America in the early 1960s, heavily influenced by the United States as part of its Cold War strategy.

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