HAVANA TIMES — Havana Times has been online for nearly four years – publishing diaries, opinions, interviews, news, etc. One of its greatest merits — and I would say, what makes it unique — is the diversity of opinion.
Another important feature is that the vast majority of the people who write for the site live in Cuba, which is positive on one hand, but terrible on the other due to all the difficulties with getting online.
Here on the island, most of us don’t have Internet access for reading the discussions and comments concerning our own articles.
Of the 23 Havana Times writers, only six (26 percent) have Internet access. Many of us never get the chance to even see the site.
Of those six, one of them has access from both work and home; three have access exclusively from work, and two can get online from home (using the accounts of family members – though only for a few minutes at a session). The connections are very slow, maybe what they were like 15-20 years ago in many countries.
The rest of us have to be content with email, be it our own or through someone else.
Among these other writers, six check their email every day, three do it one or two times a week, two open their mail every 15 days, another one checks once a month; and a last one checks sporadically, but can’t send or receive attachments.
The means for getting to check one’s mail are through one’s job or some government institution, with the help of family members or friends, or by paying an astronomical 2 CUCs (2.20 USD) an hour.
There are three of us who don’t even have email accounts and have to depend on others to send articles to HT or to read the comments sent that same route by the editor.
But our problems aren’t only access. For six of the writers having their own computers is still just a dream.
These are some of the difficulties that prevent us from participating in the discussions as we would like, but we still keep working.