Cuba and Modern Technologies of Indiscretion

Dariela Aquique

Soda pop seller. Photo: Juan Suarez

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 people.

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.

2 thoughts on “Cuba and Modern Technologies of Indiscretion

  • Dariela is so far my favorite HT writer. She is very smart and sensible. The answer to your article not simple!!. If you were in Camaguey when that happened would you have closed your eyes?

    No one can force you to close your eyes and you wouldn’t do it; no one will be able to force the world to close its eyes, the Internet Audience works like your eyes.

    And you wouldn’t look through your neighbors windows to see what is happening inside. The internet shouldn’t have access to your neighbor’s windows neither.

    Difficult task to control what is shown but I agree with you that there should be some limits.

    I need to add that the internet is the only amazing thing in the last 70 years and its cons are almost negligent when comparing with its benefits.

  • Dariela, technology today has made it possible to be more time-efficient and more accessible through communication. Living in Cuba, you have no reason to understand how communication has allowed me to check my 401K from my phone . I can download a song I just heard on the radio to listen to on my phone later when I go to the gym. I can warm up my car in the morning while I finish my last sips of coffee in my kitchen and I can turn on my home alarm as I pull out of my driveway. As I sit in traffic on the Bay Bridge, I can read HT (shhhh) and I can even write this post.

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