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Posted February 10, 2004 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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HAVANA, February (http://www.cubanet.org)  The recent news that the government was getting ready to move against unauthorized Internet connections shook many here who had somehow contrived to get online.

In the last few years, the government took hurried, definite steps to
move the country toward the information age. It acquired thousands of
computers to be used in schools. It put in place a digital cable from one
end of the island to the other. It opened up a computation university
at the former Soviet electronic listening base at Lourdes.

The Cuban Post Office, which is nominally in charge of telephone
communications, offers e-mail service in cybercafes that have been set up in every municipality’s post office and even some free-standing ones. But
at present very few of these are operational. The computers installed
in these cybercafes belong to the TuIsla (Your Island) system, an
intranet that allows limited e-mail service.

Etecsa, the joint venture telephone company, offers access to Internet
and e-mail, but only to foreigners. The company’s service, called Enet,
operates small stores where they sell telephones, offer international
long distance, videoconferencing, and sell Internet access cards for 15
dollars, again only to foreigners.

The exposure, even if indirect, only whet Cubans’ appetite to surf the
Web and there arose a black market for computers and an underground net of sorts. About a year ago, a Cuban could secure a connection by
paying, in dollars, for an “international connection” for his phone, getting
a foreigner to front for him to buy a 15-dollar Internet card, and
installing a computer at home.

The best estimates are that by the end of 2003, beginning of 2004,
there were more than 40,000 such clandestine connections to the Internet.

Some used the 15-dollar cards, others bought passwords from people who
have them because they work at a foreign company.

The new regulations call for detecting these clandestine connections,
confiscating the equipment, levying a fine, and disconnecting the user’s
telephone service.

More likely than not, everyone who had one of those clandestine
connections to the Web has already taken it down.

A call to Etecsa this morning yielded the information that the 15-dollar Internet connection cards are no longer being sold.

The only remaining possibility right now for Cubans to log on is to
discretely buy an access card in a quiet hotel that has a cybercafe,
usually consisting of a computer on a table next to the bar, at a cost of 6
dollars for one hour’s use. This entails, of course, walking into a
hotel intended for foreigners only, so anyone who doesn’t look the part,
may find the entrance barred.

Officially, Internet usage in Cuba is controlled by a statute enacted
at the end of the 90s. Two-and-a-half years ago, in a flurry of
activity, the government started offering e-mail service, chatting for the
masses, but lately there has been a hasty retreat from that policy.

The irony behind it all is that after being the beneficiaries of a
campaign for computer literacy, Cubans will only be allowed to open
authorized windows.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 29, 2004 by idris musa


    Dear Sir,
    May i inform you that our Ministry is in need of computers for all the secondary schools in my country,i am Dr. Idris Musa, the P.A. to the Minister of Education of the Republic of Benin.If you can supply up to 2,200 computers under this conditions,
    It has to be Pentium 4 & 3, Memory 256 mb & 128 mb,
    with 14 inch color monitor,
    Hard drive 20 Gb.
    Get back to me with your price/quotation as you will be directed on how to get this contract as i will introduce your company to the Minister who will award the contract.Be inform that 60% will be paid up front before you start the supply.
    Sincerely,
    Dr Idris Musa


  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 29, 2004 by idris musa


    Dear Sir,
    May i inform you that our Ministry is in need of computers for all the secondary schools in my country,i am Dr. Idris Musa, the P.A. to the Minister of Education of the Republic of Benin.If you can supply up to 2,200 computers under this conditions,
    It has to be Pentium 4 & 3, Memory 256 mb & 128 mb,
    with 14 inch color monitor,
    Hard drive 20 Gb.
    Get back to me with your price/quotation as you will be directed on how to get this contract as i will introduce your company to the Minister who will award the contract.Be inform that 60% will be paid up front before you start the supply.
    Sincerely,
    Dr Idris Musa


  3. Follow up post #3 added on November 11, 2004 by mobrack.n. villak

    Greetings!
    Compliment of the season,

    Dear Sir,

    Do not feel bad receiving my message. My name is Mr.
    mobrack.n. villak. I am a good friend to Late Mr.Roy
    j.Hughes, a national of United Kingdom who was born on
    the 7th day of Jan,1921 in Mexborough England who
    untill his death has no wife nor son or daughter to
    claim his assets hence he was burried here.He is a
    Contractor and have spent most of his life in my
    country Nigeria.
    Mr. Roy Hughes were involved in a car accident along
    Benin/Onitsha express road and unfortunately lost his
    life on the 27th day of september,1989 at Onitsha.
    Since then I have made several enquiries to the
    British embassy to locate any of my friends extended
    relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful hence:he
    has no next-of-kin at the time of his death.

    After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided
    to track names related to his over the Internet, to
    locate any Member of his family hence I contacted you.
    I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the
    assets and Capital valued at US$11.5million left
    behind by my friend before it gets confiscated by the
    bank where these huge deposits were lodged as treasury
    bills. The said Bank in Nigeria has issued me a
    notice to provide the next of Kin or have the treasury
    bill confiscated. Since I have been unsuccessful in
    locating any of my friend’relatives for over two
    years now, I seek the consent to present you as the
    Next of kin to the deceased since you have a similar
    name , so that the proceeds of this treasury bill can
    be paid to you. Mr.RoyJ.Hughes also has an account
    with the
    Midland Bank Plc,p.o.Box 19,1High Street Doncaster
    South Yorkhire Dn1 1ee with account no:73154491.
    Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we
    shall then
    discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for claim. I
    have all the necessary information and legal documents
    needed to
    back you up for claim including the deceased Last Used
    British
    International Passport. All I require from you is your
    honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction
    through. I guarantee that this will be executed under
    a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from
    anybreach of the law.

    I wait to hear from you soon.
    mobrack.n. villak
    Best regards,


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