The Ones to Blame for Cuba’s Isolation

Carlos Fraguela

HAVANA TIMES — A few days ago, I had a very pleasant dream: the Cuban government had decided to shut down its telephone company, the Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA). In its 20 years of operations, the company had failed to demonstrate any capacity to offer a reliable communications service, and its immediate closure – a measure which was not to affect services for users, who had already suffered enough mistreatment – had been decided.

People flooded the streets with signs reading “long live the revolution!”, “wise decision!” and “it was about time!” This made me think that the only thing the people of Cuba need to be happy is communication, for anything can be solved when we are in contact with one another.

In my dream, the void left behind by that useless company had been occupied by two companies: one Vietnamese and the other Chinese that had promised the Cuban government that, in a mere two years, they could provide Cubans with telephone services at rates lower than the average global rates at the time. The companies had also guaranteed they would offer Internet access to anyone interested in a home connection, at an internationally competitive rate, in two years’ time.

A very clever joke from some time ago – fruit of people’s ingenuity – held that ETECSA was an acronym for “Estamos Tratando de Establecer Comunicaciones Sin Apuro” (“We Are Attempting to Re-Establish Communications…Without Any Rush”). Despite its dissatisfaction, the Cuban people have never been able to get rid of the curse of the inefficient handling of a technology that ought to guarantee communication among us. On the contrary, we have been distanced from all things new, since well before ETECSA was created, when we should have chosen what we wanted more wisely.

I can only hope my dream will come true. We have been deprived of many things because our government fears the outside world will do us harm. The world, thus, continues to be denied access to the best of Cuban thought because of the fear of a handful of people. I believe a better world is possible, and that such a better world cannot be reached without a free Cuba.

6 thoughts on “The Ones to Blame for Cuba’s Isolation

  • Speaking of a stab in the back, … The UN asked to speak to the Cuban Airforce general who was responsible for providing the MIGs found hidden under the sugar. Unfortunately, he died on a freak car accident less than a week later and the UN was unable to interview him.

  • Your dream could be that the army generals in charge of ETEC S.A. could deserve a stab in the back if we find out that one of them was involved in the July 2013 incident where the Chong Chon Gang was caught red-handed shipping illicit weapons from Cuba for repair in North Korea. How do you like that?

  • Hahaha it’s a hilarious dream. ETECSA is like everything else in Cuba owned and controlled by Castro. Doesn’t matter if it’s an investment company or una panaderia.

  • I remember when the sale of the 27% share held by the Italian telecom took place in 2011. No one had even heard of RAFIN SA let alone imagined that a ‘private’ company out of nowhere suddenly had the $706 million to buy out the Italians. It was rumored at the time that the Russian mob loaned the Castros the money for the buyout. The public cover story was that the Italians wanted to buy down some of their debt, but the rumored real story was that the Castros wanted to get a direct stake in what is believed to be the biggest growth market in Cuba.

  • And those are the two who managed to scrape together $790 million to buy out the Italian shareholding. The old age pension under the same two, is $8 per month.
    Viva Fidel!
    Viva Raul!
    Viva los Castros!
    Que controla todo y todos!
    Buena suena!

  • May your dream come true soon, but…

    The reason the cellphone service in Cuba is so expensive is because the controlling interest in ETECSA, an investment company called RAFIN SA, wants to make as much money as possible. You may be surprised to learn that RAFIN SA is named after the two brothers who are the sole owners of the company: Raul & Fidel Investments. Cute, huh?

    The reason Cuba has such limited & expensive internet service is because the same two brothers don’t want too many Cubans having access to the outside world, or the outside world having access to Cubans.

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