Out of Service

Commemorative plaque in Havana for the first telephone conversation in Spanish, which occurred in that city on 31 October 1877

It weighs more than a “bad marriage,” my grandmother used to say about that enormous black telephone in the neighbor’s house. It had a very short cord and after making a call my index finger was covered with the dust from under the dial. Still, I waited anxiously for the shout that announced my mother was calling from her work or from some province. We went running up the stairs to glue our ears to the receiver and listen to what the almost metallic voice said on the other end. Among the more than ten families living in that tenement, only two had telephones. So any quarrel with the owners of this important gadget would leave you helpless, incommunicado.

If, in March of 2008, Raul Castro had imagined the role cell phones would play in Cuba’s incipient civil society, he probably never would have authorized their use. Before that date, Cubans had to ask a foreigner to take out a cell phone contract and then allow them the use of the service. The desired SIM card could only be acquired by the same people who could enjoy the hotel rooms and car rentals, in short, by people who had not been born on this Island. Fortunately, this apartheid ended almost four years ago, and since that date more than 1.2 million users have contracted with Cubacel for prepaid service. This figure shouldn’t please us, because we are still far behind the rest of the Latin American nations.

Despite the limitations of its high cost, low coverage area in many places in the country, and the temporary suspensions of service to “inconvenient” users, cell phones have changed our lives. At this time, the ability to send and receive text messages has strengthened contact between citizens,   fostered the exchange of news, and given us the invaluable ability to post Twitter messages without Internet access. A few days ago the price of internal text messages was reduced by 44%, though we are still light years above the prices in effect in the rest of the world. If the objective of the country’s only telephone company is to attract more customers and raise profits, they will also have to accept the collateral affect of the freeing up of information and communications that this will bring. Cubacel calculates the economic benefits, but it is incapable of realizing — in its true potential — the powerful social tool that we now carry in our pockets.

About these ads

219 thoughts on “Out of Service

  1. A response to this nonsense:

    Like the statement from gloria esteban, post 159:
    “The police department where I live (New Orleans) is, without a doubt, the most corrupt police force in the entire country. Most, not all, are power-tripping little thugs with badges and guns, and I have no respect for that type of individual. The fact that a former police officer made a statement like “she would have been gassed or burned in a chair” for speaking her mind makes me have an even lower opinion of police officers than I already do.”
    So police in the usa, the NAZIST GULAG, are so bad and corrupt, even gloria hates them. Little freedom comes from such a force that guards one’s peace, security and safety.
    And it is in stark contrast with gloria’s other self-serving rants and hysteria, those cycles must be painful…, where she tries to convince us how where she lives is a paradise on earth. Yeah, New Orleans in particular.
    That from a usanian who lives under the “patriotic act”, which prescribes INDEFINITE INCARCERATION by the above corrupt police according to gloria esteban – aka “pamela” – herself, no charges need to be laid.
    As long as the corrupt police on a power trip decide they hate your ugly face, they can keep you in prison forever.
    It’s the law.

    Firstly, I have no idea what connection to Gloria Estefan (it’s Estefan, moron, not Esteban), that Damir has made to me, another delusional piece of nonsense that he has made up.

    Now, the city that I live in does have a very corrupt police force. Thank goodness that the judiciary is an entirely separate entity, it is they who would sentence someone and send them to prison, not the police force, you idiot. Bad cops are being prosecuted,convicted and sent to prison right and left around here, they are being brought to justice. This is a wonderful city to live in, despite corrupt police. Having such a force that guards one’s peace, safety and security has absolutely nothing to do with my freedom.

  2. I second both motions. They should be placed before the assembly for a vote.

    Humberto, thank you for the Siete Dias documentary. I had not seen it before; it was fascinating. The reporter did a great job capturing the details of everyday life and talking to people. Her interviews were well done.

  3. If I were a CIA operative I would be keeping an eye on Damir. #215 should read “most verbal diarrhea marxist in the asylum”. Marxists can’t answer questions beause they are hypocrites. They will NEVER move to a marxist paradise. They DO prefer living under capitalism. And they ARE insane.

  4. C. Libre recently won the “Village Idiot of the Year” award

    I’d like to nominate Damir for the “Most Likely to Bomb a School Bus” award

    Also for the most “Most Verbal Marxist in the Asylum” award

    How come no Marxist can answer a question? When is one of them going to move to a Marxist paradise? Why do they all prefer living under capitalism? Is there an answer besides insanity?

  5. Rants from the delusional side of the world are the only unabated noise still emanating from the empty skulls of the losers’ support brigade, I see.

    Don’t you like the facts?

    Like the fact that you are all crazy and mentally deranged so much that you do not understand your own contradictory statements?

    Like the statement from gloria esteban, post 159:

    “The police department where I live (New Orleans) is, without a doubt, the most corrupt police force in the entire country. Most, not all, are power-tripping little thugs with badges and guns, and I have no respect for that type of individual. The fact that a former police officer made a statement like “she would have been gassed or burned in a chair” for speaking her mind makes me have an even lower opinion of police officers than I already do.”

    So police in the usa, the NAZIST GULAG, are so bad and corrupt, even gloria hates them. Little freedom comes from such a force that guards one’s peace, security and safety.

    And it is in stark contrast with gloria’s other self-serving rants and hysteria, those cycles must be painful…, where she tries to convince us how where she lives is a paradise on earth. Yeah, New Orleans in particular.

    That from a usanian who lives under the “patriotic act”, which prescribes INDEFINITE INCARCERATION by the above corrupt police according to gloria esteban – aka “pamela” – herself, no charges need to be laid.

    As long as the corrupt police on a power trip decide they hate your ugly face, they can keep you in prison forever.

    It’s the law.

    And people like that come here to rant against Cuba…!!!

    The usanians are also sitting on the biggest pile of nuclear weapon around, yet now they are preparing an attack on Iran because Iran is TRYING to build ONE nuclear bomb.

    Criminals and human rights violators are tailoring the justice for the world around them.

    Time to nuke the country and be done with it. Unless the anti-government forces within the usa do something about this NAZIST GULAG, as they had promised to do on 21 April this year.

    It will be interesting to see if something seriously good comes out of that promise. It is time to get rid of these NAZISTS once and for all. The forces for good and freedom within the usa NAZIST GULAG have mu full support and well wishes.

    Down with the NAZIST GULAG!!!!

    Raise the free people of the usa and free yourselves from dictatorship.

    It’s about time.

  6. Cuba Libre (La MENTIROTA AND THIS IS A REAL DOOZIE) said : “..irradication of extreme poverty, and health care available to all Cubans.”

    C.L. THE HOMOPHOBE AND NOW SUPER PINOCCHIO! YOU HAVE OUTDONE YOURSELF WITH THE STATEMENT ABOVE!! YOUR PINOCCHIO NOSE MUST BE AS BIG AS FIDEL CASTRO’S EGO! JE JE JE!

    YOTUBE : DOCUMENTAL de Cuba: “La triste realidad del cubano de a pie”- The sad truth of the everyday Cuban- Spanish only but images speak for themselves!

  7. FINALLY, ONE STORY ABOUT FIDEL CASTRO’S APPEARANCES THAT SUBTLY QUESTIONS THE INFORMATION FROM THE CUBAN STATE RUN MEDIA. SOME KEY PHRASES:

    “..nine-hour session with writers and intellectuals, Cuban state media said (KEYWORD) on Saturday,”

    “Fidel with intellectuals: More than nine hours of dialogue (AND HE CANT COME OUT LIVE ON TV? WHY?)

    “The story described the meeting in which representatives from 22 countries discussed topics ranging from the sad state of the world, as Castro views it, to the 85-year-old comandante’s health.” (WHY NO VIDEOS THAT CAN BE CONFIRMEND CURRENT?, IF YOU WANT TO PUT ALL THE RUMMORS TO REST ABOUT FIDELS DEAT, THIS IS ONE WAY OF DOING IT)

    “The story described (WHY DO VIDEOS?) the meeting in which representatives (WHY NO INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS?) from 22 countries discussed topics ranging from the sad state of the world, as Castro views it, to the 85-year-old comandante’s health.

    “Cubadebate.cu had numerous photos (WHY NOT VIDEOS) of Friday’s event, but so far no video has been shown.”

    REUTERS: Fidel Castro meets intellectuals in 9-hour meeting

    HAVANA – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro held his second lengthy public event in a week, this time a nine-hour session with writers and intellectuals, Cuban state media said on Saturday, in another showing he is doing well after serious health problems.

    “Fidel with intellectuals: More than nine hours of dialogue

    with the infinite,” said the headline on government website Cubadebate.cu.

    The story described the meeting in which representatives from 22 countries discussed topics ranging from the sad state of the world, as Castro views it, to the 85-year-old comandante’s health.

    “We have to fight. We can’t let pessimism win. It’s our duty,” he was quoted as saying.

    The story said that everyone was “impressed by the vitality and enthusiasm of Fidel,” and that those who spoke congratulated him “for his visible recovery.”

    The session was part of Havana’s annual international book fair.

    A week ago, Cuban media reported on a six-hour appearance before a group of admirers where the man who ruled Cuba for 49 years pitched a new two-volume biography of his early life, called “Guerrilla of Time.”

    Cuban television showed a videotape of that appearance and in which Castro had to be helped to his chair, but was energetic, witty and totally in control of a rapt audience.

    Cubadebate.cu had numerous photos of Friday’s event, but so

    far no video has been shown.

    Castro took power in January 1959 and was famous for speeches that went on for hours. But he had to cede power provisionally to brother Raul Castro, 80, in July 2006 when he fell ill with intestinal problems that nearly killed him.

    He stepped down officially in February 2008 and Raul Castro succeeded him as president.

    He was out of the public eye for four years before reappearing in the summer of 2010, but has stayed mostly in the background since then and appeared to be increasingly frail.

    Before these latest two events, he was last seen publicly at a Communist Party congress in April, where he sat wordlessly as his brother took over as chairman of the party, the position he had held since its inception.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Philip Barbara)

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE81B03220120212?irpc=932

  8. Hey Cuba Libre – the best revenge against Fidel is the glorious lives so many of us Cuban exiles have lived in America and everything that comes with freedom of choice. So much grand talk from such a small person.

  9. I’ve always found it interesting that so few Marxists ever wanted to move to a Marxist country.

    And the few that did usually spent the rest of their days trying to escape.

    C. Libre, you better stay in Cuba on a tourist visa, if you get the permanent residency you’ll need an exit visa each time you need to shop at Walmart.

    As everyone keeps asking you, when are you moving?

  10. C. Libre, you are obsessed.

    You’re like a rapist who trolls feminist websites or a Nazi who defaces gravestones.

    What is interesting about your Marxist version of insanity is that you prefer living in a capitalist country.

    And so does your Cuban family. But that has never registered in your brain.

  11. What a dream come true it would be to shake the hand of “El Maximo Jefe” while he would hand me an autographed copy of his memoirs that he just published. He managed to achieve all the goals he set out to do for his country 100% litteracy rate, irradication of extreme poverty, and health care available to all Cubans. Can any other state leader say as much.
    I tell you the end of the reign of the imperialistic bully is near at hand. When more and more countries find out about the atrocities done to weaker countries and the crimes against humanity it has committed, they will take sides in overturning its bullying reign.
    First they helped Saddam Houssein drive out the Russians from Irak, then they backstab him with the excuse of having weapons of mass destruction. First they help the Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan to overcome the Russian occupation, then they reduce Afganistan into smithereans. They want to forbid North Korea from having nuclear weapons, why don`t they even so far as try to force China, a country who can defend itself. Now they keep on constantly provoking Iran by crossing the boundaries with their war ships just waiting for an attack from Iran to justify its destruction. In truth their reign is near at hand. And maybe with a bit of luck none of us will be around anymore on that day, cause the destruction will be immense.

  12. I WONDER WHY THEY ALL THESE CUBAN ATHLETES, ARTISTS, MUSICIANS LEAVE THE “ISLAND PARADISE”! CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS “PHENOMENOM”!! Cuba Libre (La MENTIROTA & HOMOPHOBE), Damir, John The One??? LOOKING FOR YOUR INSIGHT HERE! JE JE JE!

    MIAMI HERALD: Yoenis Cespedes may be the great unknown for Miami Marlins
    The sky is the limit for Yoenis Cespedes, but as the Marlins know, the Cuban outfielder comes with risks.
    His statistics are flashy. His promotional video is quirky and eye-catching. His blocky, muscular physique is impressive. He can hit a baseball to the moon, and he can also catch one behind his back.
    Yoenis Cespedes is a marvel to behold. The Cuban outfielder is also, in the words of the man who could soon become his manager, a risk. “There are a lot of ifs [with Cespedes],” Ozzie Guillen told a Chicago radio station on Friday. “Whoever signs him is gambling.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/12/2636817/yoenis-cespedes-may-be-the-great.html#storylink=cpy

  13. EVEN THOUGH CIRCLES ROBINSON HAS CENSORED ME IN HAVANA TIMES, I DONT HOLD A GRUDGE WHEN SOME RELEVANT VOICES AND TOPICS ARE PUBLISHED ON HIS WEB SITE! SPECIALLY WITH ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT CUBAN BASEBALL SENSATION YOENIS CESPEDES!

    HAVANA TIMES: In Cuba Betrayal Can Be Found Anywhere – Maria Matienzo Puerto

    More than a history of individual players, I read stories in which people — lots of people — were betrayed. Previously I had a vague idea of ??how short the professional life of an athlete could be, but now I have the certainty that it’s very short and subjects the players to manipulation.

    Many of Cuba’s players are simply retired, without explanation. Some of these had been in very good physical condition but were suddenly retired, a decision made in some dark office where the only concern (I imagine) was about the player defecting from the baseball squad.

    I was sorry to read in the book how some of the top athletes of the game, those who in their time had attracted large sums of money into the Cuban economy (though certainly not into their own pockets), were used to maintain some vague notion of national prestige.

    In the case of Alfonso Urquiola, for example, after participating in the ‘94 world championships and setting a batting record, a year later he didn’t make the Cuban team – with no explanation. This also happened to Victor Mesa and Lourdes Gourriel.

    Other times, after having given their all on the field and knowing that they had excelled during the training for the shortlist of players vying to make the national team, they learned that they had simply been excluded from the rooster, and thus the chance to play abroad. In fact, those responsible knew that the decision had been made a month earlier before all the training had begun.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=61848

  14. Cuba libre (La MENTIROTA & HOMOPHOBE)! “El Ciber Rata, Your posts are getting more and more ridiculous, but I can see you like to continuously put your feet in your mouth, along with some other male organs that I won`t mention, lol.”

    C.L. THE HOMOPHOBE! YOU CONSTANTLY AMAZE ME ON YOUR INTELLECT! YOU HAVE DISCOVERED AS WE SAY IN CUBA “AGUA TIBIA” (warm water) FOR YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT GAY MEN DO!! IS THAT SUPPOSE TO BE AN INSULT??? JE JE JE!

  15. Wow, again, for those slow on the uptake, 1 in 10 Cubans have cell phones means that the other 9 in 10 do not. 10% do, 90% do not. Understand now?

  16. And who ever said that you were not going to have to pay for anything in a democracy? I don’t even get that sort of thinking? Do you have a rich fairy godmother that is just going to pay for everyone’s everything?

  17. El Ciber Rata
    Your posts are getting more and more ridiculous, but I can see you like to continuously put your feet in your mouth, along with some other male organs that I won`t mention, lol. You post something from the University of Florida. What in heaven`s name would anyone from the University of Florida know about Cuban economy and everyday life in Cuba??? Why don`t you for once post something from the source itself?? Keep on spreading your lies and rubbish as you wish. It costs almost all their monthly salaries to feed themselves yet they can afford cell phones, strange priorities don`t you think. Notice there are less and less people that support Team Yoani`s (AKA Judas) cause? Notice how only 6 of the 20 Ladies in White invited to Miss Sanchez`s workshop showed up?? She gave the excuse of a police operation, truth is the other 14 don`t support her cause, just like the representatives from Brazil didn`t support her cause, just like Mariela Castro doesn`t support her cause anymore, just like Aleida Guevara doesn`t support her cause, and surely when the Pope will visit Cuba, he won`t support her cause either.

  18. Cuba Libre
    Febrero 11th, 2012 at 17:03
    Let me show how everything is free in this so called democratic and free country I live in. I pay close to $1000 per year in school taxes even though it is over 10 years I don`t have any children going to school.

    That’s called “socialism.” You know, the system that you so praise in Cuba. So, it’s ok in Cuba, but not Canada?????

    Then you have the Municipal mafia which I have to pay $3500 yearly to.

    That’s called “everyone would like to have essential services like garbage pickup, clean streets, etc.”

    I get it, you want to be taken care of, like a baby, cradle to grave. Don’t move to Cuba then. The slaves work 40 plus hours per week, and earn about $20.00 per month, thereby they heavily subsidize every single thing that the dictatorship claims credit for. Didn’t your mama tell you that nothing in life is free?

Comments are closed.