Havana Email Locale Still Dysfunctional After Re-Opening

Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES — Four months after reopening its doors to the public, Cuba’s largest Internet access locale (located at the intersection of Zanja and San Francisco streets), leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the scant and lousy services it offers users, even though the first impression one got was that they were working to improve the state of the facility.

At the time, March 16 of this year, the following remarks were published in Havana Times:

“After a two-week hiatus, when 17 computers in bad shape were put to work again, the public found new monitors and keyboards and a reopened office supply store that is well-stocked by our country’s standards.”

Last Monday, the same 16 or 17 computers replaced months ago (of the total of 30 at the time the locale was reopened) were back in operation, and a veritable cemetery of computers needing replacement or repair had accumulated at the back of the main, 80-meter-square hall. In addition, some of the monitors in use must be replaced and a number of pending problems remain unaddressed. Here’s another paragraph from the March article:

“From what we can appreciate in situ, the opening of the Servi-Postal does not announce the end of the refurbishing process begun weeks ago. Some key issues, such as the installation of air conditioning units in a locale without natural ventilation and regular photocopying and digital file processing services must still be resolved.”

For the time being, the kind administrator of correosdecuba.cu at Zanja Street allows users to download and/or send files, as drops of sweat cover the dozens of users in the locale, still devoid of AC, despite having only one access door and no natural ventilation. Temperatures can be as high as 40 degrees Celsius inside.

Prices have remained the same for two decades, since the time Correos de Cuba put out this limited email services offer. Basic services are offered at 1.50 CUC (1.65 US dollars) the hour.

Internet access is not part of the regular service package. Any file transfer process is directly supervised by the sales manager and interrupted services due to lack of network connection were reported for one third of working days this past July, according to a survey conducted with regular users.

Network problems during the afternoon was one issue stressed. The locale is open Monday to Saturday, from 8 am to 5 pm.

Four months later, after a basic refurbishing and paint job, the email locale on Zanja and San Francico, still the largest of its kind, appears dilapidated. Brings to mind the popular saying that “a new brooms sweeps well.”
Vicente Morin Aguado:[email protected]