Sunday, June 23, 2013

Internet in Cuba - What Iroel Sanchez Didn’t Say to Telesur

Internet in Cuba: What Iroel Sanchez Didn't Say to Telesur / Jeovany Vega
Posted on June 22, 2013

Last Wednesday June 5th, at the end of the Telesur programme "Today's
Themes", our brilliant journalist Iroel Sánchez commented about the
"novelty" of the rooms enabling "free" Internet surfing throughout
Cuba. That more than two decades after the Internet became a daily
portal for the rest of the world it is even announced in Cuba, with
fireworks, that from 118 timid locations in this country of more than 12
million inhabitants will be able to surf "freely", says it all.

But there are various angles of the issue that Iroel didn't comment
about on Telesur: he didn't mention the little detail that he himself
has had free complete access to the Internet, because it is among the
privileges of "official" reporters to access the network from their
offices or comfortably from their homes *and* it will be like that as
long as he doesn't transgress the line of the Rubicon, while Caesar,
attentive and scowling, calculates every byte.

Iroel didn't say that in our case, the connection time is dependent
exclusively on the times ETECSA offices are open (from 8:30AM to 7:00PM)
in rooms in which between 2 and 6 machines are available — for example
in Artemisa, a provincial capital of 800,000 inhabitants, one can only
find two — and these tiny pieces wouldn't be enough if they had
conceived of a reasonable price and not an absurd and crazily extorsive one.

He didn't say that at 4.50 CUC — which is the same as 112.00 Cuba pesos
or equal to a third of the average worker's monthly wages — which would
be the same as the charging the average Spaniard 250 Euros for an hour
of surfing, but with the additional aggravation in the case of Cuba of
living in the most expensive country in the world.

Iroel Sanchez forgot all of these details when he was being interviewed
by Telesur.

Meanwhile, this is how I see it: if the Cuban government says it is
telling the truth, then why is it so terrified of an exchange of ideas?
Because only information, pure ideas, translated into the most simple
binary code, can enter the country along an optical cable, and never
bombs or rifles. I have the conviction that all the truth, in its
natural clarity, is as firm as a rock and can defend itself by its
simple presence beneath the sun, for which reason I will never
understand why they are depriving my people of something as basic as
free access to the knowledge contained in cyberspace.

At times when my country talks about the prospects of transformation,
which they are begging for, and on which the government timidly feels
its way forward, while the society pleads for faster progress in the
changes which sometimes seem more cosmetic than real, at times like
that, this is what we get.

I have always said that I prefer a despot to a cynic because the former
mocks you to your face, doesn't hide his natural tyranny, and shows his
true colours: yes, I abused you — so what? But the latter, evil at
heart, tries to insult your intelligence. Because to claim that such
stratospheric charges are affordable by the people, is equivalent to
saying that so are the hotels which charge $300 per person — a year's
wages — for one miserable weekend.

Now they are trying to export the illusion that now we Cubans are living
happily connected with the world, but they must know that this is a
masquerade, as is demonstrated by the empty seats in these embarrassing
locations. The Cuban people are awaiting and insisting on real, free,
effective and total access to the internet, by way of reasonable
contractual terms appropriate to what they can afford and which allow
them to explore the virtual world, when they want and full-time.

I want internet in my home in order to explore all truths and weigh them
up them against my own … like Iroel Sánchez but with the difference
that I want to have it as a right which I am exercising, and never as an
improper privilege. For me that would be the measure that would tell me
that finally we are on the path to real changes; as long as we can't
depend upon absolutely free access to the internet everything will be
imitation gold and pure fantasy … just a fairy tale.

By Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Translated by GH

10 June 2013

Source: "Internet in Cuba: What Iroel Sanchez Didn't Say to Telesur /
Jeovany Vega | Translating Cuba" -

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