Cuba: Illusions and Mathematical Certainties

Francisco Castro

The Cuban radio and TV ICRT building in Havana.
The Cuban radio and TV ICRT building in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — After the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced that diplomatic relations between the two countries may be re-established, we have seen much speculation among average Cubans, and many of the hopes people considered lost appear to have been regained.

If Cuban television had a space that reflected the sincere feelings of these individuals (who are not usually heard in the mass media), an interesting series on the issue could now be on the air.

Without a doubt, a very thorny issue is Internet access. This comes to mind now, after the US Internet TV series and film channel Netflix published an announcement saying that Cuba could become the 8th Latin American country with access to this service…were it to set up a better broad-band infrastructure.

The “package” offers one Terabyte of information a week.

I was immediately reminded of our USB-drive-based series, film and software distribution channel, the renowned “weekly package.”

We thus arrive at the problem announced in the title: how would this First World opportunity (a subscription to Netflix) affect the people who put together the package? Will it affect regular customers, who till now have paid only 2 CUC (US $ 1.80) for 1 terabyte of information a week?

It is a question of math. Below are the figures for you to solve the problem in your free time.

NetflixThe cheapest Netflix package costs US $7.99 a month (the same rate that applies in the United States). This subscription, of course, would be paid through an account in a US bank operating in Cuba. You would then have to add the price of an Internet connection. Having no way of knowing how much it will cost in the future, I will use the current price offered by Cuba’s phone company, ETECSA: 4.50 CUC (US $ 5.05) the hour.

In this hypothetical chapter of the public debate series that isn’t being aired on Cuban television, we would also be presented with statistics related to the number of Cubans who have computers (let alone intelligent TVs), a landline and extraordinarily well-paying jobs, with which they would be able to afford this entertainment service.

Current figures are roughly as follows: in 2013, there were 90 computers for every thousand inhabitants, 939,500 land-lines in the residential sector and 245,100 people working in construction, the best-paying sector in Cuba.

After having presented this information, the participants of this hypothetical debate would have a long discussion that would bring the chapter to an end, but not before an announcement to the effect that, in the next episode, after hearing the government’s position on the issue, a conclusion would be arrived at.

In the meantime, while everything I’ve outlined above continues to be mere speculation, in other words, illusions will continue to bubble up in the minds of many Cubans – the distortion of a sense perception that was once similar to hope.

5 thoughts on “Cuba: Illusions and Mathematical Certainties

  • The Block Representatives should rally in the house of Castro, and petition to influence the dictator! Through the loud voice of today’s Cuban popular culture the young highly educated adults that love their Country > They should be subsidized by the Castro regime, like food rations/ investment tickets to Cuban house-holds to help pay for affordable unlimited internet access and access to modern working computers or tablets (administered like free Cuban dental) this to be a vital social investment in the youths as part of the advancement of Castro’s continuing education program to advance their potential lively-hood through commerce, affording them the tools / equipment able to learn of the world and self-employment ideas and opportunities, education for the advancement of the common young Cuban and their viable future and Castro gets a return on his investment!

  • According to Merriam Webster, OLIGARCHY is defined as “a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people”. As serious as a heart attack.

  • The Cuban oligarchy ????
    You can’t be serious.

  • It’s a beginning and just a side note. In 1949, TV was a rarity in the US with only
    the very rich able to afford. Growing up in NYC, many people would have to go
    to the local bars to view Milton Berle and other sought after entertainers. That
    changed radically in the 1950’s when TV became as common as the radio.
    Give it time and perhaps some of our well to do commentators could sponsor
    those in Cuba who can only dream of Netflix and or the internet.

  • Clearly, this announcement is of little value to the average Cuban. Well-connected members of the Cuban oligarchy will also see little additional benefit as they were already likely getting all their entertainment needs met through other resources. The only real winner in this is Netflix. As mentioned by another commenter here at HT, at the cost of a press release, Netflix comes out smelling like a progressive company. If there are 10,000 new customers from Cuba who can take advantage of this offering, I would be surprised. In the meantime, Netflix makes international news.

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