Information Science Fair 2011 on the Island of the Disconnected


Currently on display at Pabexpo, the exhibition center located in the wealthiest part of the city, are computer-related products created within and outside our country. Guests from all over are brought together there, including a large group of foreigners whom I imagine are more interested in taking a trip on our Paleolithic technology than doing business with local firms. The Kaspersky Group, for example, is showing a version of its well-known anti-virus program, developed in conjunction with the national company Segurmática. Everything has been made to look like an exhibition of this type anywhere in the world, were it not for one detail: This is the Island of the Disconnected.

Already well into the year 2011, inhabitants of the “Cuban archipelago” cannot buy a bus, train or airline ticket on the web, we don’t know the sensation of managing our bank accounts online, and purchasing a product through the computer screen is something we have seen only in foreign films. Still, today, my compatriots have never handled bureaucratic paperwork via email, not even the simplest of requests for one’s own birth certificate. Don’t even talk about reserving some vacation on the flashy webpages of the travel agencies Cubatur or Islazul. Among my hundreds of friends, none have managed–from here–to recharge their own mobile phones on those portals that offer the service, without having to stand in the long lines at the ETECSA office. We are a people who have no opportunity to pay our bills through cyberspace and who live as software pirates faced with the impossibility of purchasing licensed versions.

Here we live at a stage that is more characteristic of the first half of the twentieth century than it is of the twenty-first. Thus, the Information Science Fair appears as a glimpse into the future, a shop window that displays to others what we haven’t even tasted. After the visitors return home, they will praise the skill sets of the Cuban computer scientists and remember the tasty Mojito they were given at the farewell party. Meanwhile, we remain in the twilight of the disconnected, turning on autistic computers unable to connect to others. We dream–it’s true–of one day filling out a form on the Internet where a phrase will confirm for us: “Thank you for your purchase, your ticket to Guantanamo has been reserved. Have a nice trip!”

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29 thoughts on “Information Science Fair 2011 on the Island of the Disconnected

  1. Do Cuban’s setup their own WiFi networks for communication from house to house and neighborhood to neighborhood? 1-10km Mesh WiFi?

    Eric Jarvies

  2. OYE, llego el CABLE.. Otro cuento…. lo que falta NOW es el computer. Cuba handa comiendo se un CABLE por 50 anos, el cable que andan hablando por 10 anos lo tiraron en 15 dias. K cuento gente. Y sin LIBERTAD de expresares , no sirve. HAMBRE es lo que hay y deseo comer carne res. Pa LA PINGA EL CABLE. PA LA CALLE el dia Feb. 24, ZAPATA VIVE’

    MININT SUCKS and GORKI ROCKS

  3. Anyone noticed a number of names that have failed to post or are missing for several days? the MININT thugs must be busy. The free food must be good, and the free giveaways those decadent capitalists are giving out must be plentyful. They must be taking advantage of the trade fair while it lasts.

  4. PORT CHARLOTTE, Florida, febrero, http://www.cubanet.org -Los fósiles vivientes que se han adueñado del gobierno de Cuba se sentían inmunes a una rebelión popular. Aunque cada día apretasen un poco más la soga colocada alrededor del cuello de los cubanos, estaban confiados que no se produciría un estallido de la ira popular a nivel nacional. Quizá tendrían que atajar algún conato de protesta aparecido localmente en cualquier punto de la geografía nacional; pero de ahí no pasaba, les resultaba fácil anularle.

    Eso ya ocurrió en Cojímar, el 1 de julio de 1991, cuando la protesta del Claro de Luna. Cerraron los accesos del poblado a La Habana y al vecino Alamar. Detuvieron a algunos y, nadie, o muy pocos, en Cuba, se enteró que en Cojímar se había producido una revuelta. Lo mismo sucedió con los sucesos conocidos como el “maleconazo”, una protesta de nivel local en la zona de Centro Habana que rápidamente fuera conjurada con el despliegue de los esquiroles de la Brigada Blas Roca y el cerco policiaco. Igual que cuando el escándalo en un cine de Santa Clara o con la huelga de los cocheros de Bayamo.

    Como los medios de comunicación masiva son coto gubernamental absoluto, no se divulgaría al resto de la población cualquier manifestación masiva del descontento popular. Como los sindicatos son correas transmisoras de la voluntad del Partido Comunista, no habría la posibilidad de que se produjera una huelga general de carácter político. Como los opositores carecen de los medios adecuados para hacerse conocer por el conjunto social y de la divulgación de sus plataformas políticas y no existen otros partidos legalizados, la posibilidad de conformar un cuerpo coherente de resistencia, como puede ser en la Venezuela de Chávez o en el Egipto de Mubarak, es bien remota.

    Como la seguridad del estado se presenta cual la encarnación del gigante Argos de los cien ojos, los fósiles del castrismo confiaban en el efecto psicológico que la misma podría ejercer sobre la imaginación popular, para castrarle todo deseo de rebelión, ante el fóbico síndrome del Gran Hermano que siempre te vigila.

    En fin, como la autonomía universitaria fue anulada casi desde el inicio de la tiranía, no había el temor de las protestas estudiantiles.

    Pero como Cronos es implacable y no se detiene, avanzando siempre y aportando más y mejores tecnologías, los fósiles empotrados y entronizados en el poder comienzan a conocer el miedo; ya no se sienten tan seguros. ¡Hay que hacer algo y ya! Exclamaron sobrecogidos de temor. Hay que tomar las medidas ahora, para tratar de contrarrestar el peligro que acecha sobre sus intereses y que ya ventean como bestias carroñeras asustadas.

    Ya el peligro no está en una protesta que un pequeño grupo de opositores se atrevan a manifestar en un parque citadino. Ahora, se asustan, “el parque de la protesta es la internet”.

    Se acobardan ante el peligro de que pueda crearse, como asegura un tal Eduardo Fontes oficial de la Seguridad del Estado de la gerontocracia cubana, “una plataforma tecnológica fuera del control de las autoridades cubanas y que permita el libre flujo de comunicación entre (…) los opositores, blogueros (…) y el mundo”

    Ese es el gran temor que asalta a cualquier tiranía “el libre flujo de información” y muy particularmente una como la de los Castro acostumbrada al control del pensamiento, y empeñada en mantener engañado a todo el pueblo todo el tiempo.

    Y como en la pesadilla de George Orwell, se preparan para fomentar una Policía del Pensamiento, la ciberpolicía, dedicada a la represión del “crimental” del que hablaba Orwell, porque ven una amenaza, tal vez no en la tecnología de las comunicaciones, si no en “lo que puede hacer alguien detrás de la tecnología”. Alguien capaz de convocar, alguien capaz de transmitir lo que los medios oficiales ocultan.

    Se aterrorizan pensando en el poder que tienen las redes sociales, Facebook y Twitter, la inmediatez que representan en la intercomunicación de los ciudadanos.

    “Nosotros tenemos nuestros propios twitteros” afirmó el “conferencista informático”, mientras su audiencia de altos oficiales del Ministerio del Interior le tenían que soportar la perorata aburrida y monótona y sin poder ocultar algunos un bostezo de aburrimiento. Entonces habla de sus blogueros estrellas. Menciona a un supuesto Yohandry Fontana (quien curiosamente en su entrega del 9 de febrero agrega una nota que dice: “Este blog se ha llenado de periodistas y colaboradores que comienzan sus nombres con Y”).

    Su otra super star es la tal Tina Modotti “por supuesto ─ acota ese Eduardo Fontes ─ Tina Modotti no es Tina Modotti, es una persona que está detrás de esa imagen de Tina Modotti” y esa “persona” seguramente es el aparato desinformativo de la inteligencia cubana con la misma moralidad de la que fuera amante de Julio Antonio Mella y cómplice en su muerte por los sicarios del Comintern. Y dice el pedestre “conferencista informático” que la supuesta Tina Modotti es “el látigo de Yoani. No deja vivir a Yoani. Si Yoani dice blanco, esta dice negro y por qué es negro”.

    “… tenemos nuestros blogueros y vamos a combatir a ver cuál de los dos sale más fuerte” asegura Fontes con una bobalicona expresión de su rostro, porque ni él mismo se cree lo que afirma; porque él repite el guión que le impusiera su jefatura. Pobre desecho de persona; triste servidor de una dictadura que hoy le usa y mañana quizá le arroje a un lado como si fuera un tareco ya inservible.

    Pobre lacayo que un día tal vez no muy lejano verá cuál es la verdad que saldrá más fuerte, si la mentira de la tiranía fosilizada o la verdad que brota del natural instinto libertario que anima dentro del alma de cada ser humano.

    Por mucho que lo intenten los amos del tal Eduardo Fontes, oficial de la represiva Seguridad del Estado, no se puede engañar a todo un pueblo todo el tiempo.

  5. INTERESTING TURN OF EVENTS! IS THE REASON FOR THE RELEASE UNDER THESE TERMS A WAY TO EASILY RE-ARREST?

    REUTERS: Cuba frees political prisoner against his wishes-Sat Feb 12, 2011

    HAVANA – A political prisoner who had refused to leave prison was freed on Saturday against his wishes as Cuba continued to release jailed government opponents.
    Hector Maseda, whose wife, Laura Pollan, heads the “Ladies in White,” Cuba’s leading dissident group, was told on Friday he could go free after almost eights years behind bars. But he said he would not leave until the government dropped its insistence on keeping him on parole.

    He said he was taken from prison on Saturday against his will and was still on parole, which imposes conditions on his freedom.

    “Today, tomorrow and all the time, I will say I am being freed against my will and I am being forced by (the government). I do not agree with (parole),” he told Reuters from his home in Central Havana.

    Maseda, 68, who heads the outlawed Liberal Party, vowed to resume the dissident activities that got him thrown in jail in the first place.

    “I have to continue now doing the same in opposition,” he said.

    Maseda was one of 52 political prisoners President Raul Castro agreed to release in a deal brokered in July by the Roman Catholic Church.

    All had been jailed in a 2003 government crackdown that drew international condemnation.

    Castro wants to free them and all other political prisoners to end what has been one of the communist-led island’s thorniest international problems.

    With Maseda’s release, just eight of the 52 remain behind bars.

    The release process has been an extended one because Cuba wanted the freed prisoners to go to Spain, which agreed to take them.

    But the last ones in jail have refused to leave Cuba and the government is finally letting them go.

    Cuba views dissidents as mercenaries who work for its archenemy, the United States.

    (Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Jeff Franks and Peter Cooney)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/12/us-cuba-prisoners-idUSTRE71B2RD20110212

  6. GREAT NEWS OUT OF CUBA TODAY!

    AFP: Cuba frees husband of (Lady in White) rights group leader

    HAVANA — Cuba on Saturday released from prison Hector Maseda, the husband of the main leader of the Ladies in White rights group, a prominent political dissident told AFP.

    Maseda, a 68-year-old journalist and founder of the outlawed Liberal Party, was released at noon and will remain in Cuba, said Elizardo Sanchez, the head of an illegal but tolerated rights group.

    Maseda was one of 52 dissidents the government of President Raul Castro had promised to release from prison last July in a deal brokered by the Catholic Church. Of those, 11 rejected offers of exile in Spain.

    Five security agents took Maseda to the home he shares with his wife, Laura Pollan, in a working-class neighborhood of Havana, Sanchez said.

    Maseda initially did not want to leave prison until he had a pardon or was granted unconditional freedom, Sanchez said. He also wanted the sick dissidents to be released first.

    Instead his sentence was merely suspended, not revoked.

    “The government, the officers, told him that he had to leave now,” Sanchez told AFP.

    Maseda, an electrical engineer by training, has collaborated in the past for the group Reporters Without Borders, and written for newspapers such as France’s Le Monde and The New York Times.

    Three of the 11 who had rejected exile to Spain have now been freed, all this month.

    Cuba released Eduardo Diaz, 59, on Friday and Guido Sigler, 57, on February 4. Sigler said he is considering emigrating to the United States.

    The three had been arrested in a 2003 crackdown that swept 75 dissidents into prisons and saw them sentenced to terms of between six and 28 years.

    Maseda’s release surprised Pollan, who on Saturday was visiting Diaz and his family in the town of Consolacion del Sur, in Pinar del Rio province, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Havana.

    The remaining jailed dissidents are considered prisoners of conscience by the rights group Amnesty International.

    The female relatives of political dissidents are the core members of the Ladies in White, a group that won the European Parliament’s 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

    The group have held marches and vigils seeking the release of their loved ones, often facing verbal and sometimes physical abuse from supporters of the island’s communist regime.

    Dissident sources say around 100 political prisoners remain jailed in Cuba. The government rejects the claim, arguing that the dissidents are “mercenaries” in Washington’s pay.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hUhCZTS7-0hI5GZWODeGPzCVm7oA?docId=CNG.4e201b9124c065f698a3b89b09e38576.861

  7. DEFINITION OF HERO: “But Hector Maseda, who is serving a 20-year term on similar charges, said he would not accept an offer to be let out.” “There are two conditions [demanded by Maseda]. One, that the sick get out, and two, that it be a pardon or unconditional release,” she said. “So I don’t know how long it will be before I go and visit him.”

    RADIO FREE EUROPE: Cuba Releases Dissident, As A Second Refuses Release -February 12, 2011

    Cuba has agreed to release two of its few remaining political dissidents, but one of the men has refused to leave jail until other ailing dissidents are released.

    Eduardo Diaz, who had been serving a 21-year sentence for treason and other charges, has returned home after being released.

    But Hector Maseda, who is serving a 20-year term on similar charges, said he would not accept an offer to be let out.

    His wife, Laura Pollan, said Maseda is determined to remain in jail until authorities meet his demands.

    “There are two conditions [demanded by Maseda]. One, that the sick get out, and two, that it be a pardon or unconditional release,” she said. “So I don’t know how long it will be before I go and visit him.”

    Diaz and Maseda were among 52 jailed dissidents that the government of President Raul Castro had promised to release in a deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church.

    The majority were released after agreeing to exile in Spain. But the remainder have refused to leave Cuban soil.

    The deadlock was broken last week with the release of two of the dissidents who were granted permission to remain in Cuba. But one, Angel Moya, refused to accept the deal while other dissidents remained in jail.

    Nine of the dissidents, including Maseda and Moya, currently remain in prison.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/cuba_dissidents_released/2307087.html

  8. Indeed the people do have a lot of work ahead of them, but I have every faith that it will go well. They have so much of the “status quo” for so long and the world is a much different place than when their monarchy was overthrown.

    Here is some interesting reading from The New Yourk Time regarding the Egyptian military.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/world/middleeast/12military.html

    Also here is a cautionary piece regarding too much [any] family involvement with the executive office.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/11/how-the-mubarak-family-made-its-billions_n_821757.html

    Have a great weekend everybody!

  9. Freedom as it is known in the US and other parts of the world might not really exist, but your blog continues to add new ideas to those that want that one thing ….. FREEDOM.
    A few weeks ago I read an article on the net about how the “downfall of Castro” would be caused by bloggers like yourself!
    Brought back memories of when a president did not want to reveal information to the press, in the US, and he ended up resigning.
    TRUTH is what counts, and you put it online, and I musty say KEEP IT UP!!

  10. Yes, the days of freedom seem to have come to Egypt but have they?
    The Egyptian military is in charge of running the country. I still remember another military, taking over a country, full of promises of freedom, of equality & tolerance … fifty years later …

  11. REUTERS: Group says US food exports to Cuba down 31 percent
    -Group says US sales to Cuba nearly halved since 2008-Feb 11, 2011
    * Cuba has been in a cash crunch for more than two years

    HAVANA Feb 11 (Reuters) – U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba sank by 31 percent in 2010 to $366 million as the communist-led island’s money woes continued and it looked elsewhere to buy food, a trade group said on Friday.

    Cuba, which imports most of its food, gets chicken, corn, soy, wheat, pork and other products from the United States.

    U.S. sales to Cuba have dropped by 48 percent since hitting a peak of $710 million in 2008, the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council reported.

    The trade council said some of the reasons for the decline included Cuba’s lack of foreign exchange and the greater importance of relationships with other countries — especially financial benefactors Venezuela and China.

    Cuba has been in a cash crunch for more than two years, which has caused it to default on many debts and freeze Cuban bank accounts for many foreign companies.

    Cuban President Raul Castro invoked an austerity program that included cutting imports by a third and plans to slash more than a million workers from state payrolls.

    The United States has a 49-year-old trade embargo against its longtime ideological enemy that prohibits most business between them, but exemptions are made for agricultural products and medicine.

    Despite the embargo, the United States, located just 90 miles (145 km) to the north, was Cuba’s fifth-largest trading partner in 2009, when the trade group said American agricultural exports to the island totaled $528 million.

    The trade council said Cuba’s inability to generate more political support in the United States for changes to increase trade discouraged it from buying American.

    It also said countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, Russia and Iran are using credits or barter to maintain or increase trade with Cuba.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Will Dunham)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/cuba-usa-food-idUSN1110412620110211

  12. IF YOU CANADIANS STILL BELIEVE IN THE CASTROFACISTFAIRY MEDICAL SYSTEM! THIS MAY CHANGE YOUR MIND! AND THIS IS NOT THE FIRST INCIDENT!

    TORONTO SUN: Canadian stranded in Cuban village with broken back-By ERIC-YVAN LEMAY

    A trip to Cuba has become a hellish experience for Canadian Daniel Baril, who is stranded in a small village with a broken back after he fell while mountain climbing nearly a month ago.

    Baril’s Quebec insurance company refuses to pay for an air ambulance out of the Caribbean country, forcing his family and friends to raise the $25,000 bill by themselves.

    “I’m living in hell,” Baril, of St. Jerome, Que., told QMI Agency by telephone from an ant-infested apartment in Vinales, a two hour drive outside of Havana.

    “I’m taking painkillers every four to six hours. I started walking (Wednesday) but technically, I shouldn’t be walking.”

    The 41-year-old was forced into the small cement dwelling on Jan. 15 when he could no longer afford hospital bills.

    Baril and wife Sophie Geoffroy had ventured into the Vinales valley, a popular site for Canadian travellers, on Dec. 30. Geoffroy returned to Quebec on Jan. 10 while Baril continued his forays with other climbers.

    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/02/11/17242581.html

    Five days later, Baril was climbing with a woman from western Canada when he fell five metres and struck a rocky surface below.

    “I knew it was bad right away,” said Baril. “I told (other climbers): ‘My back is broken, don’t move me.’”

    The ambulance arrived four hours later and he was taken to a local hospital. X-rays showed that his tailbone was broken and he had a fractured vertebrae. Blood was pooling in his lower body, which was heavily bruised.

    “They punctured me and set up a pan to let the blood flow out,” said Baril. “My underwear was soaked with blood the next morning.”

    He stayed in the hospital for a week, shocked to see the occasional cat or dog wander into his room. His wife told QMI Agency everything changed when hospital staff learned that Baril’s insurance company had stopped making payments.

    “They panicked,” Geoffroy said. “Daniel sent me a text (saying), ‘What’s going on, they closed my file and put me out.’”

    Baril was sent to a local bank by ambulance to withdraw money to continue his treatment. Then doctors broke the bad news: He wouldn’t be able to walk for four months.

    Blue Cross Canada told QMI Agency Baril’s file is still being reviewed and it’s too early to say if he’ll be reimbursed for his ordeal.

    Spokesman Michel Courtemanche added Baril’s decision to go mountain climbing could nullify his travel insurance.

    In the meantime, Baril spends his days staring at concrete walls in his small apartment, waiting for his family to come to the rescue. He said he longs to be reunited with his young daughter back in Canada.

    “I haven’t seen her, it’s hard,” he said. “She had a birthday party on Feb. 2 and I’m trapped here.”

    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/02/11/17242581.html

  13. Yoani,

    The day will soon come where the only thing that exclude ANYONE from the internet will be their ability to use a mouse and type.

    Igor,

    I think that Cold in Chicago may be right, all of MINIT is probably at the trade fair. The free lunch is probably better there. Yes folks, all we adults know there is no such thing as a “free” lunch in the real world.

    Humberto,

    Keep on posting as you may… you save me a lot of time surfing and remember I was one to speak of it as well. It may be at times a pain to scroll through on our phones, but I think we need to remember that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of a palm sized device much less a decent internet connection.

    Damir and Colin,

    I really do miss you and your “interesting” viewpoints, both of you brighten an otherwise dull day.

    Last and by no means least, to the people of Egypt… God be with you all, now is your chance. There is an incredible amount of hard work ahead and I wish the best for your people and your country.

  14. EGIPTO!! CUBA!!! QUIEREN LO MISMO!!LIBERTAD!!!
    EGYPT!! CUBA!! WANT THE SAME!!!FREEDOM!!!
    YOU WANT TO BE INSPIERED AND MOVED? WATCH THIS!

  15. WHAT ABOUT ALL THE HUNDRED OF THOUSANDS WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY THE CASTROFACISTS, LOST AT SEA TRYING TO ESCAPE AND LOST TO NEGLECT AND HUNGER? THOSE REPRESENT MORE THAND 3000 FLAGS!!

    ABC NEWS: U.S.- Cuban Relations Ease Another Notch-How Black Flags and a News Ticker Caused a Diplomatic Dust-up-By MARC FRANK-HAVANA Feb. 11, 2011

    Cuba has stopped flying black flags in front of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, the latest step towards dismantling an in-your-face confrontation that arose around the building during the George W. Bush administration and brought always contentious relations between the two countries to the breaking point. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro ordered the parking lot in front of the U.S. Interests Section dug up and the 100-foot-high flags installed in 2006.

    The action came after the United States turned on a five-foot-high news ticker that ran across 25 windows on the outside of the fifth floor of the mission on Havana’s busy seaside Malecon Drive.

    The Times Square-style ticker streamed news, political statements and messages in crimson letters blaming Cuba’s problems on the country’s communist system and socialist economy. The dozens of huge black flags, which Cuba said represented more than 3,000 of its citizens killed over the years by U.S. inspired violence, effectively blocked it from view.

    The bizarre scene, as the two old nemeses symbolically squared off in Havana, became a tourist attraction and barometer of the rising level of hostility between them.

    The two countries do not have full diplomatic relations, but maintain lower level interests sections in each other’s capitals.

    “They stopped flying the flags completely at least two weeks ago,” a U.S. diplomat said, adding he had no idea if the measure was permanent.

    The Cuban government hasn’t commented on the flags disappearance. The huge — and now barren — field of flag poles remains standing and at the ready where cars once parked just yards from the building’s front door.

    Soon after the Obama administration took over in Washington, anti-Bush billboards around the building, depicting the former U.S. president as Dracula, Hitler and a terrorist, were taken down.

    The news ticker went dark in June 2009 and the government of Raul Castro, who replaced his brother in 2008, responded by reducing the size and number of flags, but still kept some flying.

    Diplomatic contact with Havana, which was suspended when the ticker lighted up, has resumed and has been civil, according to U.S. diplomats.

    “Maybe removing the flags, and previous steps, are signs both governments want to move away from symbols to the substance of U.S.-Cuban relations,” said Julia Sweig, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a number of books on Cuba.

    The Obama administration has recommenced regular meetings with the Cuban government on such issues as immigration, mail service and other matters which were suspended by Bush, and has lifted restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting home and supporting their families.

    Obama also lifted restrictions imposed by Bush on academic, religious and some other professional travel and in other ways has modified decades-old sanctions to promote “people-to-people” contact with the Communist-run island, while maintaining a general ban on Americans visiting the country.

    Relations remain strained, however, with Cuba charging the Obama administration has strengthened some aspects of the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo and stepped up efforts to undermine the Cuban government.

    But all is not sanguine between the two countries.

    Cuba is preparing to bring to trial U.S. contractor Alan Gross, detained in late 2009 for accused of setting up illegal satellite communications as part of a U.S. program to promote civil society and democracy.

    Cuba considers such activities as subversive and is seeking a 20 year sentence based on the charge that Gross was acting “against the independence or territorial integrity” of the country.

    U.S. officials have said his conviction would seriously dampen prospects for any further improvement in relations.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-cuban-relations-ease-island-nation-lowers-black/story?id=12886940

  16. WHY IS IT THAT THIS LABEL “MERCENARIES” IS USED IN ALL OF THESE ARTICLES BY THESE REPORTERS WHEN TALKING ABOUT ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH THE CUBAN GOVERMENT? I DONT SEE THAT IN OTHER STORIES ABOUT DISCIDENTS AROUND THE WORLD!

    BBC NEWS: Cuba releases political prisoner Eduardo Diaz

    The Cuban government has freed a political prisoner, Eduardo Diaz, who had refused to go into exile in Spain.

    The Roman Catholic Church said another dissident, Hector Maseda, was also to be released.

    The two prisoners were among 52 dissidents the Communist authorities agreed to free in July last year in a deal brokered by the church.

    Their release had been on hold because they would not agree to leave the island.

    Meanwhile, the church says another four dissidents not on that list and who were convicted of violent crimes are due to be released in the coming days.

    Exile in Spain
    Mr Diaz, 60, has returned to his home in a village in the western province of Pinar del Rio.

    He said he would continue to campaign for democratic change in Cuba.

    “This has got to change. It can’t go on, the country is bankrupt,” he told the Reuters news agency.

    “It is really painful that they had us kidnapped in prison for eight years for peaceful campaigners,” he added.

    If Mr Maseda’s release is confirmed, it would leave just eight of the 52 still behind bars.

    Most of the group were released in the weeks after last year’s agreement and went into exile in Spain.

    Another, Guido Sigler, was freed last week and is applying to go to the US.

    Mercenaries
    The 52 dissidents had been in jail since 2003, when they were arrested along with 73 other opposition figures in a government crackdown.

    Hector Maseda, 67, is a journalist and former nuclear scientist whose wife Laura Pollan is a leader of the Ladies in White group of wives and daughters of political prisoners.

    The Cuban authorities generally refer to the detained dissidents as common criminals or mercenaries paid by Washington to destabilise the communist system.

    The release of political prisoners has been a key demand of the US and EU if economic ties are to be improved.

    Opposition groups say there are still around 100 political prisoners in Cuban jails.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12436216

  17. Change cannot be stopped. The regime fears everything, including its own people. It is a very dangerous idea for the regime to tolerate even a small group of people to have free access to the internet. They must feel fear of losing control of the information, and the internet is very difficult to control. The leaked video is good example that the regime is losing its control over the information inside Cuba.

  18. soy cubano soy popular! WHO LOVES YA BABY! El Avalanchito! for Valentines Day!

  19. …” si por las moscas”
    The individual who gave a recorded lecture about the internet recorded & use as one of Yoani’s topics is: Eduardo “tato” Fontes-Suarez, a graduated engineer in 1991, he works for the “protection of the domestic security of Cuba” a job most likely given to him by his daddy, a Coronel in the same place.
    He is married to biochemist Beatriz Basalde & they both reside in San Miguel del Padron.
    He follows Yoani in twitter & has over 90 followers …

  20. GLOBAL VOICES: Cuba: What do the Wikileaks Cables Say about Havana? (Part I)

    Around 506 diplomatic cables of the 250 thousand released by Julian Assange on November 28, 2010 proceed from the American Section with Interests in Havana; but, until February 2011, only 34 messages had been declassified on the official WikiLeaks site.

    An analysis of the cables reveals that 97% of the messages sent from this diplomatic branch was between 2006 and 2010, which coincides with the period of illness and the resignation of the former Cuban president Fidel Castro Ruz and the ascension to the presidency of the Army General Raúl Castro Ruz.
    For the classification of these cables, the State Department developed a manual in which tags or keywords were defined with their meanings, and year of establishment. In the Cuban case, the majority of the messages are on international political relations (PREL), the internal governmental policy (PGOV) and human rights (PHUM), which correspond with the items most covered by the US in all their diplomatic branches.

    Of the messages sent since 1966 to date, terrorism (PTER) has been an increasingly important aspect for the US government, to such a point that the related wires are in the 5th place of relevance. From 1987 until 2010, only 11 messages about this issue had been sent from the Havana; however, according to the White House, the island is among the countries that sponsor terrorism.

    A cable dated September 2009 by the chief of Havana Interests Section, Jonathan D. Farrar, talks about how this topic was dealt in the meeting at the Cuban capital between Bisa Williams, sub-secretary of the US State Department, and the Cuban vice-minister of foreign relations, Dagoberto Rodríguez. Williams explained that Cuba would be removed from the list if specific procedures are followed and if a review was completed of the process between both parties. However, two years after the visit, the Caribbean nation continued in the list of the countries that sponsor terrorism.

    The chart that WikiLeaks published reconstructs the 10,000 words most used in the content of the messages, identifies the main phrases related with Cuba, among them “Havana” and references to Fidel and Raúl Castro.

    the declassified wires to date, 6 correspond to 2006; 4 to 2007; 6 to 2008; 15 to 2009 and 3 to 2010.

    *This is the first part of a series on WikiLeaks and Cuba.

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/02/11/cuba-what-do-the-cables-say-about-havana-part-i/

  21. The Associated Press: Church: Cuba to free 4 more prisoners into exile-Friday, February 11, 2011

    HAVANA — The Roman Catholic Church has announced that Cuba is releasing four more opposition prisoners and sending them and their families into exile in Spain.

    The men have been identified as Felipe Ramon Pino, Osmel Aguilera, Juan Junior Padron, and Rafael Jorrin.

    They are not among a group of 10 nonviolent dissidents remaining in Cuban jails from a 2003 crackdown on dissent. The release was announced Friday by church spokesman Orlando Marquez.

    Little is known about Pino. Aguilera was serving a 30-year sentence for sabotage, and Jorrin and Padron were in jail for hijacking and other charges. Cuba is clearing its jails of many opposition figures.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/11/AR2011021103244.html

  22. ***
    HI YASELIN–#4. Power grows out of the barrel of a gun. The Egyptian Army supported the people. The Cuban Army supports the Castro Brothers. It will be a bloodbath in Cuba. The evil communist regime will fire on the people. Liberty will come when the army fights the security forces. Like it happened in Romania. The dictator and his wife were shot a few days after the people won.
    ***
    HOLA YASELIN–#4. Poder crece del tubo de las armas. El Ejercito de Egipto tomo el lado de la gente. El ejercito Cubano apoya los Hermanos Castros. Va ser una matanza en Cuba. El malo gobierno communista va tirar la gente. La libertad vendra cuando el ejercito lucha contra las fuerzas de seguridad. Como paso en Romania. El Jefe Maximo y su esposa fueran tirado unas dias despues que ganaba la gente.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  23. LA MOMIA Y LA CHINA SE ESTAN CAGANDO!! THE MUMMY AND “LA CHINA” ARE SHI**ING IN THEIR PANTS!

    FOX NEWS: Protests in Egypt Spark Fears in Cuba Over Growing Internet Opposition Movements-By Serafin Gomez- February 11

    Peering at the upheaval thousands of miles away in Egypt, the Cuban government is increasingly concerned about a burgeoning opposition movement growing through the Internet.

    As a result, the Castro regime has intensified its crackdown on dissident groups in an attempt to ensure that what is happening in Cairo will not happen in Havana, according to some observers.

    “We do see instances of repression starting since the Egyptian upheaval. There have been brutal beatings on dissidents,” said Susel Perez, of the Cuba Transition Project, at the University of Miami. ” It is a direct sign from the Cuban government that this is something that will not be tolerated on the island.”

    In a 53-minute video leaked last week, a Cuban counter-intelligence staffer warned an audience of Castro government officials that pro-Democracy organizers in Cuba and the United States were using social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to foment a political uprising in the island nation.

    “The technology in itself is not a threat, but the threat is what the people who use the technology can do with it,” the lecturer said in the video, identified by the Miami Herald as 38-year-old Eduardo Fontes-Suarez. “The Internet is a battlefield.”

    The video lecture was purportedly shot over the summer, months before the situation exploded in Egypt. The impetus behind the unrest was a Facebook page created to honor a young Egyptian man allegedly murdered by corrupt police.

    During the lecture, Fontes-Suarez directly blamed the U.S. government for coordinating the new Internet push and says Cuban bloggers like Yoani Sanchez — creator of “Generacion Y,” a blog critical of the Cuban regime — are part of a U.S. campaign to overthrow the Castro government.

    “A network of mercenaries is being organized that are not like the traditional counter revolution,” Fontes-Suarez said. “We are talking about young people. Young people who hang out with our children.”

    But the Cuban government has taken steps that seemingly contradict the premise that they fear the Internet. On Tuesday, Cuban authorities recently unblocked Sanchez’ blog, allowing it to be accessed and read within the island for the first time.

    The reason may be that the authoritarian regime has such tight control of Cuba’s Internet and those who access it — much firmer than Egypt’s Mubarak government– that they believe they could clamp down on any uprising.

    “It is always hard to predict what ends up bringing down a dictatorship,” said Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell, a Latin American expert at the University of Miami. ” The Cuban government is fearful, and they have always been fearful of the impact of social media, that is why they control it so much.”

    The overwhelming majority of Cubans do not have Internet access. According to recent statistics, there are only about 1.5 million Internet users out of 11 million in Cuba – just 14 percent.

    According to the CIA’s world fact book, private citizens in Cuba are prohibited from buying computers or accessing the Internet without special authorization. Some Cubans buy illegal passwords on the black market or take advantage of public outlets to access limited e-mail and the government-controlled intranet.

    “The problem is access. In Egypt, there is much broader access to the Internet. You had numbers that go into the street that could make it difficult,” Purcell says. “Cuba is a much more closed society than Egypt and many other Middle East countries.”

    In the few audience shots of the leaked video, Cuban officials in military uniforms intently watch as Fontes-Suarez brings up the case of American Alan Gross, who is facing 20 years in a Cuban jail for allegedly supplying satellite phones to Cuban-Jewish communities, as an example of the United States helping dissidents expand Internet access.

    “Social media sites are the basis of all the actions being taken against Cuba, ” Fontes-Suarez says. “But being a blogger is not a bad thing. They have their bloggers and we will have ours. We are going to fight and see which of them will be stronger.”

    On Wednesday, a Cuban official announced a major achievement in increasing the weak Internet strength on the island nation that sits just 90 miles away from Florida beaches: an underwater fiber-optic cable, across 1,000 miles, which links Cuba to Venezuela and promises faster Internet and telephone service to Cuba.

    Sanchez questioned whether the move would do more to increase communication options for Cubans or increase opportunities for the government to monopolize communication, but it probably will do both.

    “This international connection looks like it’s more destined to control us rather than to interconnect us,” Sanchez wrote, according to The Wall Street Journal. But Chavez also predicted that hours of Internet access would end up being sold on Cuba’s infamous black market.

    “With authorization or without it, the hours of connectivity will end up on sale, in a country where the diversion of resources is a daily occurrence, and a strategy for survival,” she wrote.

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2011/02/11/protests-egypt-spark-fears-cuba-growing-internet-opposition-movements/

  24. Were Colin and Dumbir fired ???

    In regards to Yoani’s post I have some arguments for the other readers who post here. I don;t think that Cuba;s banking system is ready for internet banking.
    First of all, Cubans the montly income in Cuba is around $20/month. How will they afford banking fees ? Seriously. It costs money to build a SECURE online banking system.

    Secondly, online payments are ussualy made through credit cards and paypal. Are there credit cards and pay pal available in Cuba ?

    Lastly, banks are property of the Governemt as I know. So it is up to the Governemt to tell them to offer online banking.

    Please comment on this, I am interested in other people’s oppionion.

  25. Looks like all the computer hacks at minint are busy at the science conference. We should be ready when they or he returns.

  26. Por el levantamiento popular en Cuba, FEb. 21 – 26!!!! QUE VIVA CUBA LIBRE DE LOS CASTROS!!!

  27. Please remember to spread this url around the worldwide web and to your friends it is the FaceBook website for the Popular Demonstrations in Cuba and Around the World beginning on February 21st. Events are being planned for cities as diverse as Portland, Oregon; Tampa, Florida; Madrid, Spain; and Havana, Cuba. Stand up and be counted don’t just sit at your keyboard participate it is the only way that we will eventually end this nightmare that has enveloped our nation.

    Por el Levantamiento Popular en Cuba

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Por-el-levantamiento-popular-en-Cuba/173839132658920

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