Friday, April 18, 2014

Cuba and Modern Technologies of Indiscretion

Cuba and Modern Technologies of Indiscretion
April 17, 2014
Dariela Aquique

HAVANA TIMES — We're definitely living in an era in which technology has
become an essential part of people's lives everywhere. The devices,
techniques and processes employed in any field and directed towards
progress and development, such as portable computers, state-of-the-art
cell phones and other, have become something like a fifth appendage for

What use are we giving these technologies, however?

When Alfred Hitchcock released his adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's
story It Had to Be Murder, the suspense film Rear Window, in 1954, he
could not have imagined that, sixty years later, there would be so many
real-life versions of the main character L.B. Jefferies.

In the film, a photographer who has suffered an accident and has a leg
in a cast spends hours sitting in front of a window at home. He notices
that his neighbor (Raymond Burr) is acting suspiciously and begins to
spy on him using a pair of binoculars and a photographic camera. Thus
unfolds the plot of the movie.

I wonder what Mr. Jefferies might have been able to do with cutting-edge
technology and if he had lived in our age, when not a single event in
our life fails to be recorded by a nosy camera somewhere (and ends up in
YouTube or Facebook many a time).

The immense majority of Cubans do not know these social networks because
they have no access to them, and the alternative at hand is to circulate
such materials using USB memories, such that people can watch them in
their computers or DVD players.

Drawing inspiration from such programs as Videos Asombrosos ("Amazing
Videos") or Al rojo vivo ("Red Hot"), which air amateur videos, Cubans
try to keep abreast with the times and have become improvised paparazzis
that record just about everything.

Promiscuity is the word that applies to a situation in which nothing is
private anymore. Lacking scruples and sometimes evincing much morbidity,
people film any situation they come across and make it public.

This is why we are constantly seeing images of regrettable accidents,
police officers beating up a civilian, people with physical deformities
making silly faces in front of the camera, a reprisal against dissidents
and things like the most recent and popular of Cuba's amateur videos,
"The Nude Beauty of Camaguey".

A woman – no one knows for certain why – walks buck naked down a street
in Camaguey. She is followed by a throng of men who film her with their
mobile phones and cameras and say crude things to her. She is finally
intersected by female police officers who attempt to cover her. She
resists and gets a good pummeling.

The crowd of people standing around yells: "Don't hit her, that's
abuse!" The nudist is then taken away by the police officers. There are
several versions of what happened. Some say she is a member of the
opposition staging a protest (I don't buy this), others that she is
mentally ill (I put more stock in this one).

The fact of the matter is that this video has not only been seen by
people in Camaguey, but by everyone in Cuba. It may even have been
uploaded to the Internet, thanks to our indiscrete technologies.

Source: Cuba and Modern Technologies of Indiscretion - Havana

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