Saturday, April 27, 2013

Restrictions Aren't Worth Much

Restrictions Aren't Worth Much
April 24, 2013
Dariela Aquique

HAVANA TIMES — Every day, demands become louder from Cuban students for
less restrictions on the Internet. This will be one of the points raised
at the next congress of the Federation of University Students (FEU).
Young people are demanding the right to good and broad connections to
the net.

They argue that certain educational materials, as well as information
vital for studying certain subjects, can only be downloaded from the
Internet. They're calling for improvements in conditions for accessing

I don't know what excuse will be given to university students now. What
new version will be used to explain the non-functioning of the famous
fiber optic cable? Will they again tell us how the US embargo restricts
us to narrow bandwidths of expensive satellite connections?

What's certain is that accessing the Internet is a point that has to be
addressed by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Cuba.

Dealing with this issue has been more than delayed by our leaders, who
give all kinds of excuses and pretexts. It's high time that the
government open up to the Internet (however badly it makes them feel).

We all know, all too well, why the Internet is banned here for most
Cubans. They still fears the majority of people having access to other
media sources and not solely official Cuban government information.

They continue to fear the "contagion" of stations, channels and sites,
"as harmful" to a society "as healthy" as ours. They say "no violence,
no weapons, no drugs, no corruption, no to the consumerist syndrome and
no to sensationalist TV and tabloid journalism."

However, even with the limited access to the Internet, people here have
managed to pirate what are called "packets" containing shows, games,
movies, series, novels, documentaries and news.

This means the restrictions aren't worth so much anyhow, especially
since what's forbidden is the most tempting. Many people don't watch the
Cuban soap opera, but instead they watch the shallow La Belleza Latina
or the reality-courtroom program Casa Cerrado.

Many people don't watch TeleSur news and documentaries; instead, they
look at the sensationalist Rojo Vivo or Maria Elvira.

The Pioneers don't know if Fidel opened a new education center but
instead they might even look for the video game "Call of Duty," with
episodes in which one's supposed to assassinate the Commandant.

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