Cellular Stress

Jorge Milanes

Cellphones in Cuba. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — “You’re a fool if you don’t buy a cellphone. How are we supposed to reach you in the case of an emergency or some need?”

My brother and Osmel have cellphones. When they get together at home all they do is try to tempt and entice me. It’s happened again and again, with them sending messages to their friends, listening to music that I like or showing any of those “hot” videos that are out.

I know that cellphones are necessary, but I also want to be in a better financial situation to be able to afford one. You readers should be aware that in our country the service (which includes the phone itself in addition to the account set-up and the pre-paid minutes) is in hard currency, something we don’t earn at our jobs.

Some people have cellphones because they need them for their jobs, others because they don’t have a landline phone at home, while others simply want one and therefore assume the costs. As for me, for now, I have one telephone at home and another one where I work, though they’re not cellphones.

The phone company sometimes comes out with tempting offers for people who already own cellphones, and also for those who are thinking of buying one. In my case, for now, I’m trying to address other priorities.

My decision not to have one was also influenced by some absurd features of the phone company’s policies, such as requiring people to pay 5 CUCs a month under the threat of seeing their account frozen on the first of the month and having their line confiscated.

My brother, quiet lucidly, defined this situation saying: “Jorgito, they don’t really sell us these lines; they only rent them to us. That’s why what’s not completely yours can be taken away from you; but what’s yours and gets taken away constitutes theft.”

I told him that that very thing happened to a neighbor, who lost all her money when they cut her line because she wasn’t able to make her monthly minimum payment.

“No,” I continued, “I’m definitely not ready for stress like that. I’m not getting one until the company changes its policies.”



Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

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3 thoughts on “Cellular Stress

  • Wow!!! I am not alone!!! I am not a “solitary alien” any more!! Thanks, Luis for your reply.

  • This is a typical example of the industry creating needs we don’t have. Sure, cellphones are useful for tax-drivers and other people who have ‘on-the-field’ jobs. But no, it has become a ‘necessity’ for everyone. I myself don’t use my cellphone, which is a very old one ‘passed-down’ from my father and which I didn’t ask for.

  • There IS life without having or using a mobile. I feel pity for those whose life is ruled by their mobile. It is a useful device but there are lots of people who think that their cellphone is a symbol of their social status and it must be displayed all the time.

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