Restrictions Aren’t Worth Much

Dariela Aquique

Cuban university students are demanding Internet access. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Every day, demands become louder from Cuban students for less restrictions on the Internet. This will be one of the points raised at the next congress of the Federation of University Students (FEU). Young people are demanding the right to good and broad connections to the net.

They argue that certain educational materials, as well as information vital for studying certain subjects, can only be downloaded from the Internet. They’re calling for improvements in conditions for accessing cyberspace.

I don’t know what excuse will be given to university students now. What new version will be used to explain the non-functioning of the famous fiber optic cable? Will they again tell us how the US embargo restricts us to narrow bandwidths of expensive satellite connections?

What’s certain is that accessing the Internet is a point that has to be addressed by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Cuba.

Dealing with this issue has been more than delayed by our leaders, who give all kinds of excuses and pretexts. It’s high time that the government open up to the Internet (however badly it makes them feel).

We all know, all too well, why the Internet is banned here for most Cubans. They still fears the majority of people having access to other media sources and not solely official Cuban government information.

They continue to fear the “contagion” of stations, channels and sites, “as harmful” to a society “as healthy” as ours. They say “no violence, no weapons, no drugs, no corruption, no to the consumerist syndrome and no to sensationalist TV and tabloid journalism.”

However, even with the limited access to the Internet, people here have managed to pirate what are called “packets” containing shows, games, movies, series, novels, documentaries and news.

This means the restrictions aren’t worth so much anyhow, especially since what’s forbidden is the most tempting. Many people don’t watch the Cuban soap opera, but instead they watch the shallow La Belleza Latina or the reality-courtroom program Casa Cerrado.

Many people don’t watch TeleSur news and documentaries; instead, they look at the sensationalist Rojo Vivo or Maria Elvira.

The Pioneers don’t know if Fidel opened a new education center but instead they might even look for the video game “Call of Duty,” with episodes in which one’s supposed to assassinate the Commandant.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.


One thought on “Restrictions Aren’t Worth Much

  • April 24, 2013 at 7:50 am
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    I believe it will take longer than most people think for Cuba’s “information-minders” to loosen, let alone release the reins on access to the full internet. My wife and her on-air colleagues, during her time at ICRT, would access all of the onlne news services or watch TVE from Spain or CNNespanol knowing full well that none of that content would be permitted to be rebroadcast to Cubans without serious “cleansing”. There is more than a paranoia of unfiltered information, there is a belief that without these filters, revolutonary goals can not be achieved. That is to say that if Cubans are permitted to search for and process information for themselves, they are less likely to support the revolution. The Castro mind-control agents do not want Cubans thinking for themselves.

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