Inside a water tank Dayron hides a satellite dish to capture television from Mexico and Miami. He lives in a building with eight apartments and supplies a cable with the forbidden programming to each neighbor. Even though the police track these illegal distributors, there’s little they can do given the growing number of those committing the same offence. Havana seems, at times, a spider’s web lined with false clotheslines and water pipes through which flow, in fact, the banned foreign television signals.
To subscribe to this sort of underground business, many families pay a monthly fee of two hundred Cuban pesos, half the salary of any professional. In return they receive twenty-four hours of soap operas, shows and musicals. The few national and ideological channels can’t compete with the bright colors and variety coming from the audacious aerial directed towards the satellite.
To counteract this phenomenon, the government has trained several law enforcement teams that search the roofs and cut the suspected cables. The fine can exceed one thousand pesos and includes the confiscation of the receiving equipment and the television. The fear of being caught, however, hasn’t managed to deter the daring viewers. Some entrepreneurs have even managed to run the distribution network under the street, alongside the old water pipes. To do it, they’ve hired the real work teams who pretend to repair an actual leak when, in fact, they are laying the hunted cable.
Dayron’s clients are willing to run all the risks, in order to see something different.