I Finally Have a Mobile Phone

Nonardo Perea

DSC09692HAVANA TIMES — I’m glad to say it, but it also worries me and scares me, because having a mobile phone in Cuba is a luxury and not a necessity. Many of you will know how much a mobile phone actually costs here in our country and the ones sold to us by ETECSA, even though they are discounted, aren’t of the same quality as those sold new on the international market. They also remain largely inaccesible to the majority of the population, who only earn a miserable salary.

It’s incredible how something so simple like having a mobile phone becomes a complicated matter here. When I watch films, from the US or another Latin country, it strikes me to see school-aged children with a mobile phone in their hands already, whilst I, practically an old person, have just managed to get hold of one and not easily.

A simple mobile phone connection in Ecuador costs 2 USD, whilst here it costs 40 CUC (46 USD), an outrage, not to say a robbery.

Yes, I finally have a mobile phone which I paid a lot of money for and then I had to wait a few months just to be able to buy the connection. But that’s ok, it doesn’t matter that you feel bad, fed up or wanting to slit your own wrists because of everything we have to endure in this country which is progressing… Progressing? Well, that’s what I heard someone say on the news.

The truth is that ever since I have this little gadget, I’ve spent more money than I do when I go to the agricultural market because an hour’s worth of Internet flies by and telephone calls are expensive.

In a nutshell, I’m happy to join the ranks of those who have a mobile phone in Cuba, but I also curse myself because it’s not only money that vanishes into thin air and ends up with the great monopoly that is ETECSA but time. When I went to the ETECSA office in La Lisa municipality, I had to wait in line for three hours just to walk through the front door.

If you ever go there, you’ll realize that it’s not made to make customers feel comfortable. On hotter days, you burn outside waiting your turn to be seen because there’s nothing to protect you from the scorching sun.

And once you’re inside, you discover that they do in fact have air conditioning and you realize why it takes forever to see people; bla, bla, bla, all they do is talk and talk about the most trivial things.

On one of my more recent visits to top up my Internet card, a person had brought a suitcase full of clothes and all the female workers gathered around to inspect pieces of lingerie, towels and lip balms whilst the queue of paying customers who give these people jobs grew outside.

But they don’t really care about that, they’re working with the air conditioning on and I’m sure they don’t have quotas to fill. They just do it to pass time by waiting for the end of the day when they can go home.

Moral: It can’t be fixed, we’re doomed.

And I realize that I’m left stranded, with a mobile phone or without. People think things will get better, but unfortunately, they’re wrong.

Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

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9 thoughts on “I Finally Have a Mobile Phone

  • Nice moses! Well stated. I live in Tampa Fl and I am fasinated by this news paper. I get to read about what it is like to live in a communist country. Its good training because at the rate my country is going we will be a totalitarian society before people even realize it

  • OK, I will concede. We may just set the bar at different heights.

  • Ireland is a great country and I might add never, ever got involved in the most heinous crime of mankind, slavery! In fact some Irish were sold off to slavery. Ireland was ruled and lost a large percentage of its population during the 1840’s famine. I had a grandmother who only cried when the famine was brought up. Brilliant youth, highly educated, thriving economy and a few good pubs. In any case Cuba will be great some day and I’ll be around to witness it.

  • Productivity in Cuba is among the lowest in Latin America. A visit to a bank, restaurant or government office in Cuba highlights the poor attitude of Cuban workers. There’s a saying in Cuba, “the government pretends to pay us and we pretend to work”. These are the facts. That whole “People not Profits” blather looks good on a T-shirt but it won’t rebuild infrastructure or buy toilet paper.

  • Ireland has made strides, no doubt. But in no way was Ireland as bad off in the 70’s as Cuba is today. Nonetheless, Ireland is not great. I don’t see “greatness” any time soon for Cuba either.

  • Very little free flowing info is coming out of Cuba. Information, flowing into Cuba, is becoming a reality, primarily in Havana and there’s a sub culture who are hooked into what’s going on worldwide. The clips from the various concerts and interviews with Cubans shows that knowledge regarding music and sports are well known and followed. Percentage wise I’ll throw a 10-15% of the population have an idea what’s going on within their country and the world, and there’s no going back for these folks. As with the British empire and those who achieved independence, education was one of the greatest accomplishments witnessed especially with India, that still resonates. Give it time Moses, Ireland was a third world country up until the seventies and today it’s thriving. Cuba will have its day as well.

  • Please don’t insult the People of Cuba for having “poor work ethics”. That is imply not factual. The People of Cuba are a hard working people who have built for themselves a just and equitable society. People not Profits is the basis of the Cuban society, built by the working class. Yes, “greatness” is the right word.

  • Why do you think Cuba is “due for greatness”? We said the same thing about Singapore. About South Africa. About Japan. And now Cuba?

  • Your country seems destined for entering the tech world slowly but surely. Hopefully it will enlighten and assist in transitioning you all into the twenty first century. Cuba has tremendous potential and is due for greatness! Congrats on the cell phone.

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