Pricey but worth it: Cubans finally surf the Web

Jun 28, 2013 by Rigoberto Diaz
People use the internet at a cybercafe in Havana on June 21, 2013. With only doctors, journalists and certain other professionals able to connect from home, Cuba has one of the lowest numbers of Web users in all of Latin America: just 2.6 million in 2011, out of a population of 11.1 million.

Cuban teacher Nancy Garcia would love to surf the Web at home. But since that is restricted in this communist country, she now logs on from new hotspots—at a price few can afford.

"I don't stay long so as not to throw money out the window," said the 53-year-old as she checked her email near the Havana waterfront at one of the island's 118 new public access Internet points, open for several weeks now.

With only doctors, journalists and certain other professionals able to connect from home, Cuba has one of the lowest numbers of Web users in all of Latin America: just 2.6 million in 2011, out of a population of 11.1 million.

With few other options, Garcia and hundreds like her have been flocking to the new government-created hotspots to check email, connect to social media and browse websites. That's if they can pay for it.

At the cost of $4.50 an hour, down from $6 previously, the Internet remains out of reach for most Cubans whose monthly salary barely scratches the $20 mark.

"There will always be those who can afford to pay but there will always be more who can't," said Garcia, who previously trekked to one of the city's hotels to go online, forking out over $10 an hour for a painfully slow connection.

"It's incredibly expensive," agreed Deisy Perez, an actress and owner of a private restaurant who came to see if she could order audio and video material for her establishment.

"Today I took a look at what's on offer, on another day I'll do some advertising for the restaurant," she said. "But I have to be quick, it's just too costly."

Authorities say their goal is to provide home Web access. But despite the switching on of an undersea fiber-optic cable from Venezuela to replace costly satellite hookups, the government has said it is forced to "prioritize" it for it for "social use" purposes, with universities, companies and research centers given preference.

Recently, a senior official insisted that limited access was due to "technological and financial" considerations.

Dissidents, however, claim the government's goal has been to control access to information and that restricting Internet access is just another form of censorship in a country where all media outlets are state-controlled.

At the public access point frequented by Garcia and Perez, located in the landmark FOCSA skyscraper, turnout is steady.

"There's a good crowd, more than I had expected," said manager Dilia Ortega, who oversees the nine terminals.

"Sometimes there's a line," she noted, adding that "clients are satisfied."

Since succeeding his brother Fidel in 2006, Cuban President Raul Castro has allowed citizens to own a laptop and a cell phone, although here too, cost keeps the poor—most of the population—from partaking in this privilege.

"We're moving forward," said Perez as she took a breather from her online shopping. "But even as more and more people have access to new technologies, there are still many more Cubans who don't even know it exists."

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alfie_null
5 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2013
At the cost of $4.50 an hour, down from $6 previously, the Internet remains out of reach for most Cubans whose monthly salary barely scratches the $20 mark.

Would be like someone in the U.S. paying what, $1000 an hour? Ouch. Could entrepreneurs help, or isn't that allowed?
Noumenon
1.1 / 5 (43) Jun 28, 2013
At the cost of $4.50 an hour, down from $6 previously, the Internet remains out of reach for most Cubans whose monthly salary barely scratches the $20 mark.

Would be like someone in the U.S. paying what, $1000 an hour? Ouch. Could entrepreneurs help, or isn't that allowed?


"Cuban teacher Nancy Garcia would love to surf the Web at home. But since that is restricted in this communist country" - above article

In communist and socialist countries ("progressive liberalism" taken to its natural conclusion), the government tells you what you can and can't do. The last thing they would promote is entrepreneurship and freedom of choice. The results and contrast between free capitalist countries, speak's for itself.
daggoth
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2013
No country that says it's communist or socialist truly fits those ideals. The natural progression of any government that follows those paths is dictatorship. It's just human nature.
Humpty
1.3 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2013
Yeah more American zionist propoganda. Never mind that Americans have been trying to assasinate Castro for decades, and they have been holding a trade embargo against Cuba -by getting everyone they can to stop trading with them - and given that they have made a start - despite every obstacle the Americans have thrown at them - they are doing it.

They have free education and free medical services - get sick in the USA - and you can end up destitute and wiped out for life.

Not forgetting that the drug fucked USA, has 5% of the worlds population, and consumes 2/3rds of the worlds anti-psychotic drugs, and the only thing they export is weapons and cancer causing GM Frankenstein food...

And this shit head journalism cites how bad it is that the internet is for the time, a little bit expensive for most people there.

More American NAZI propoganda, from the think tanks of the CIA and US Foreign Relations.
Noumenon
1.2 / 5 (44) Jun 29, 2013
No offense humpty, but you're a massive idiot.
zaxxon451
2 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2013
In communist and socialist countries, the government tells you what you can and can't do.


In capitalist countries, corporations tell you what you can and can't do. Funny how that works, huh?
Noumenon
1.1 / 5 (41) Jun 29, 2013
In communist and socialist countries, the government tells you what you can and can't do.


In capitalist countries, corporations tell you what you can and can't do.


You have a free choice to do business with a corporation, but not a coercive far left dictatorial government. Corporations have no power over you, ... you have power over them, if your society supports freedom of choice and a free market.

Cuba's shit condition is purely self inflicted.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2013

You have a free choice to do business with a corporation, but not a coercive far left dictatorial government. Corporations have no power over you, ... you have power over them, if your society supports freedom of choice and a free market.


Uninformed choices are never free. Our free market depends upon deceiving the consumer as to their "needs" and creating false political dichotomies (Republican/Democrat) for us to bicker about while everything important remains unchanged. Americans have been brainwashed to the point that they see slavery as freedom.

"The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle's estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual's gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him."
― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle
Noumenon
1 / 5 (39) Jun 29, 2013
Uninformed choices are never free. Our free market depends upon deceiving the consumer as to their "needs"


The far left government deceives the populous into thinking its egoistic behavior and choice is wrong and should be regulated. The power of the free market and corporations to deceive, is rendered inept by the power of free choice and individual accountability. The power of the far left government is inversely proportionate to liberty.

I bought an iPhone5. It is not something that I needed, nor was I ever convinced that I did "need it". I wanted it. And, as a matter of fact rather than deception, it is useful to me. The economy grew also.

creating false political dichotomies (Republican/Democrat) for us to bicker about while everything important remains unchanged.


However Conservative/ Liberal are clearly defined political philosophies.

Americans have been brainwashed to the point that they see slavery as freedom.


Gibberish conspiracy.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2013
The power of the free market and corporations to deceive, is rendered inept by the power of free choice and individual accountability.


Eloquent, but in no way reflects the reality of our society. We have entire marketing industries devoted to the deception of consumers, and as we have recently seen, "too big to fail" has rendered the idea of corporate/banking accountability nonexistent.

A free market depends on competition and informed consumers. We have neither. Corporations have bought our politicians in order stifle competition and restrict consumer information.

The economic growth that resulted from your purchase of the iPhone5 is concentrated in China and in the offshore tax havens where Apple hides their massive profits.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (38) Jun 30, 2013
A free market depends on competition and informed consumers. We have neither. Corporations have bought our politicians in order stifle competition and restrict consumer information.


Vague conspiracy non-sense. Supply and demand can't be faked. Every entity wants to be the ones who "informs" the masses of what THEY want to inform them of,... especially and most dangerously, the government. Logically, to avoid deception of THIS kind, it must only be the responsibility of the individual to inform themselves. Your conspiracy is simply not possible in the internet age.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (38) Jun 30, 2013
The economic growth that resulted from your purchase of the iPhone5 is concentrated in China and in the offshore tax havens where Apple hides their massive profits/


This is simply factually incorrect. You are misinformed.

- The vast majority of employees resulting from Apples existence, are Americans. In fact they even directly employ mostly Americans, 2/3rds of their total worldwide.

- Apple is a publicly owned company, where anyone can buy stock. The top share holders are all American companies, of mutual funds owned by Americans.

- Apple pays $1 out of every $40 of corporate income tax collected by the US Treasury. Isn't it incredible to think that one company is responsible for 2.5% of all US corporate income tax collection?
Noumenon
1 / 5 (38) Jun 30, 2013
,... YOU are in fact a victim of left wing anti-capitalism propaganda, and were deceived.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2013
Vague conspiracy non-sense.


Conspiracy is your idea, and so is your injection of left-right wing politics. I am only describing what many people in our country are coming to realize. Money is power. Those with money have the power to "inform", as you put it. Those without are marginalized. The internet is a powerful tool to inform, but those with the most resources can always drown the message of those without.
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2013
If you refuse to see problems in an economic system that birthed the Citizens United decision, free trade decimation of our manufacturing base, too big to fail banks, private prison corporations, the union of industry and military that creates endless war for profit, Citibank (among others) writing their own banking regulations, Monsanto lobbying politicians to pass laws to make it illegal for states to label GMO food, Koch funded politicians right-to-work laws that create a race to the bottom between states, privatization of our public education system, and our country having the greatest percentage of its population behind bars than ANY country on Earth, then any further discussion is pointless. Good day sir.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (39) Jul 01, 2013
Many of those you listed are GOOD things, and others, just non-sense. Stop being an activist bed wetter. No system is perfect,... but the USA is by far the best.
NOM
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 03, 2013
@Noumenon
You haven't got around to 5/5ing yourself on this thread with your 50 sock-puppets. Or do you only do it on year-old posts so you think noone will notice?

There is a word for doing it to yourself you know.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (39) Jul 04, 2013
@Noumenon
You haven't got around to 5/5ing yourself on this thread with your 50 sock-puppets. Or do you only do it on year-old posts so you think noone will notice?


You are pathetic as a moderator or site administrator* and quit incompetent. It's seems "open", "lite", "NOM", "8Ball", "6 of 28", etc, all downrate me and other posters for absolutely no reason. I counter ratings that are from trolls who do not post anything themselves, and think that a 1 rating is somehow a counter argument to a discussion.

For example, my post above listed facts about Apple and provided links to back those facts up, but yet you must troll rate 1's like a ten year old. Are you not able to provide counter arguments? Are you afraid to have conservative opinion expressed here because liberalism has no counter argument? Exactly what motivates YOU to rate 1's? Isn't substantive argument better, if you have one?

*perhaps you would like to explain why your posts don't show up on "NOM" activity page
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 04, 2013
No offense humpty, but you're a massive idiot.
Isn't that what you claimed project PRISIM, Mr. Jackboot?

Most of the conspiracy theories I've mentioned have become conspiracy FACT. While you do nothing but vomit the same old Alfred E Newman WHAT ME WORRY? spiel, because they don't come for you yet

A free market depends on competition and informed consumers. We have neither. Corporations have bought our politicians in order stifle competition and restrict consumer information.


Vague conspiracy non-sense. Supply and demand can't be faked.
False. market price can be moved with wash trades, which are banned but practiced by zionist banksters since they are above the law. This boosts the prices of stocks and artificially crashes gold http://rt.com/sho...ser-651/
Noumenon
1 / 5 (39) Jul 04, 2013
As you probably know, I'VE asked phys.org to disable comment ratings altogether multiple times over the years, as they are clearly abused by troll raters like you. If one 'adjust the slider to filter comments by rank' several rational posts will be quit arbitrarily removed,... thus that functionality DOES NOT WORK, and only measures how many troll-raters are registered, and not substantitve content of posts. If you don't understand that by now you're a pinhead.
Noumenon
1.1 / 5 (40) Jul 04, 2013
No offense humpty, but you're a massive idiot.
Isn't that what you claimed project PRISIM, Mr. Jackboot?

Most of the conspiracy theories I've mentioned have become conspiracy FACT. While you do nothing but vomit the same old Alfred E Newman WHAT ME WORRY? spiel, because they don't come for you yet


Is Humpty, kocknivik? Isn't kocknivik an admitted commie?
kochevnik
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 04, 2013
No offense humpty, but you're a massive idiot.
Isn't that what you claimed project PRISIM, Mr. Jackboot?

Most of the conspiracy theories I've mentioned have become conspiracy FACT. While you do nothing but vomit the same old Alfred E Newman WHAT ME WORRY? spiel, because they don't come for you yet


Is Humpty, kocknivik? Isn't kocknivik an admitted commie?

Communism was invented in AMerica by jesuit jackboots like you who wanted Catholic austerity policy applied to the agnostic masses. Adolph Hitler was impressed with your American eugenics ideas developed in America and simply applied them more stringently. You are the cause of the very evils you claim to oppose. Religion and conservatism is a mental disease, as neture itself obeys liberal growth formulas
NOM
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 07, 2013
*perhaps you would like to explain why your posts don't show up on "NOM" activity

If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

... as tempting as that is ...
Noumenon
1 / 5 (22) Jul 10, 2013
Well, you must have administrator rights, (or are sending posts through the web console.)

You accuse me of 5/5ing myself, yet YOU participate in and allow troll raters and 'tard name callers to run amok here. lack of Integrity.

Why not disable comment ratings entirely and let substance of posts speak for themselves?

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