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Posted January 16, 2004 by publisher in Cuban Culture

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HAVANA, January 14 (http://www.cubanet.org) - Cubans not authorized by the
government to use the Internet who log on through their phones now run the risk of losing their phone service, under new measures taken by the

Cubans first learned the news from abroad, before the
government-controlled media carried anything about it. The general population has never had access to the web, but the few “illegal users” are worried.

For dozens of years, new telephone service has only been available for
government or Communist party officials, or for others whose duties
justified having it. Foreigners paying in hard currency have also always
been able to get a service installation. The same rules apply to
Internet service.

The Cuban telephone company ETECSA recently started broadening the
domestic telephone net. Customers whose work requires a telephone are given priority for new service, such as public health, education and military
personnel, but the final determination is made by a committee that
evaluates the merits of the prospective customer, and if he or she “doesn’t
participate in government-sponsored political activities, there is no

Generally, this is the same committee that decides who will or will not
be granted the right to buy one of the Panda-brand TVs. These are
20-inch color sets imported from China and assembled in Cuba that sell for
4,000 pesos, or about 16 months’ wages at the average salary. The
committees have been called by people the “discord committees” as they
promote strife among neighbors competing for the right to buy the TVs.

Despite that access to the Internet has been very limited, some are
worried about the new measures. A housewife laments that her daughter will no longer be able to get her horoscope from the CubaS portal. Another, not quite sure what the Internet is, was alarmed this morning because her son, who worked at a foreign company, had been able to buy a computer and had connected it to the Internet.

The son eventually married a Mexican and left the country, but the
woman is afraid that “they will find out that Fermincito had Internet and
they will want to take out my phone that I’ve had since 1954.”

Such is life in Cuba, the only thing that isn’t rationed is fear.

For the first time in the queue to pay for telephone service, there was
no talk about food rationing. Instead everyone talked about the
rationing of communications and information.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 28, 2004 by val.


  2. Follow up post #2 added on October 16, 2007 by Eulalia Gancedo Knight

    Yo Eulalia Gancedo, naci libre en Cuba.  Mi padre en aquel entonces, el hombre mas rico del pais me dio dicha libertad pero tambien se la daba a todos aquellos, sus empleados, que querian vivir honestamente.  Despues de que Castro tomara comando en Cuba, entendi de que no toda persona en el mundo tendria la oportunidad de experimentar el haberla vivido.  La verdad del caso es de un trabajo atado a tu vida privada, de esta forma no hay libertad.  Si alguien te obliga a vivir con otra persona, tampoco la hay y yo quisiera de que alguien le comunicara al gobierno cubano de que por favor, se aseguren de que nadie siga tratando de atarme a negocios aqui, por la policia aqui me esta torturado a atarme a pequenos negocios.  Desde que llegue a este pais desde Espana, me he divorciado dos veces, pero oficialmente a “mi” nadie me ha mantenido.  Todo lo que me rodeo “una pura pesadilla” tiene que ver con rameras reclamando que son yo y es como que mitad de Houston esta reclamando mantenerme, ya no se que hacer para pararlo.

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