In Macondo There’s Internet

Alfredo Fernandez

HAVANA TIMES — No dear Cuban readers, I’m not making a bad joke. What I’m saying is absolutely true. In the Ecuadorian Amazon there’s full Internet service.

These days I’m living in Lago Agrio, the capital of the province of Sucumbios, near the Ecuadorian border with Colombia, surrounded almost completely by jungle and rugged landscapes.

Lago Agrio is in an area that, with other small towns, emerged as the result of the oil boom of the 1970s. It’s where the Texaco Corporation leads in the pollution of the groundwater of much of the Amazon.

All one has to do is leave any of the villages in this area to see the jungle imposing itself in its rain-filled splendor.

Neither the distance from the capital, the city’s remoteness or the jungle, have been problems for the people who border Colombia to be included on the Internet.

From here you can easily access the Internet, as there are several companies offering all kinds of connections at affordable prices with access through fixed telephone lines or Wifi.

Also, for lower-income people, cafes offer browsing for only 75 cents (USD) an hour.

With trees like the Ceibos (over 30 meters high), and indigenous tribes like the Tagaeri, who resist contact with Western man, the Amazon region here has in the Internet that element which inevitably ties it to today’s world.

In recent days, when visiting the town of El Coca, the capital of Orellana province, I was impressed to see young people in the park connected to Internet from their laptops through a wireless network that’s absolutely free, although it might seem El Coca was the end of the world.

After thinking about it, I found it quite logical, because if Gabriel Garcia Marquez saw a galleon in the middle of the jungle, then what’s wrong with the Internet in the Amazon?

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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4 thoughts on “In Macondo There’s Internet

  • The United States is the only country in the world that denies its citizens the right to travel to Cuba on which it has been an waging economic, terrorist and propaganda war for fifty plus years.

    Who fears what ?

    Were the Cuban state form of socialism utilized for the distribution of essential goods and services not under attack by the U.S. , there would be no need for high state security in Cuba nor for your employment by whatever U.S government agency it is that pays you.

  • I NEVER ‘defended’ ‘Cuba’s deplorable internet penetration’ – as an engineer and thoughtful observer, I merely shared my thoughts about network infrastructure. You on the other hand blame ‘the Castros’ on everything.

  • Hahaha! Incredible. For those apologists for the failed Castro dictatorship like Luis, a frequent commentor to HT and defender of Cuba’s deplorable internet penetration, this post should serve as further proof that ‘if there is a will, there is a way’. The only real reason that Cuba has the lowest broadband internet access in the Western hemispere is because the Castros fear giving Cubans unrestricted access to the world and the world unrestricted access to Cuba.

  • Dear Alfredo,

    I am a regular reader of your articles as you usually focus on the Internet matters in Cuba. As now you can be easily connected to the World Wide Web, I would like to take advantage of this situation and wish you all the best in your personal life and in your job.

    Looking foward to your further posts here.
    Take care and keep informing us.

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