Letter to Raul Castro Demanding Free Internet Access for All Cubans

Dear Raul,

World Internet Day is May 17th.

HAVANA TIMES — I write you this 17th of May not to send you my greetings on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, which we enthusiastically celebrate today next to Mariela Castro, nor because Cuba celebrates Farmers’ Day today. I write you because today is also World Internet Day.

My dear Comandante, allow me to steal a few minutes of the precious time you are devoting to Cuba’s reforms, reforms which, according to you, will be implemented “surely but not hastily” (though, to be frank, I’ve seen more of the second half than of anything else), to tell you a few things about the history of a celebration of which, apparently, you know next to nothing.

In 2005, cybernauts* from countries like Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Uruguay and other places around the world, as well as the Internet Users Association and the Internet Society, decided to begin celebrating this day. Notice anything about that list, Comandante? All of the countries which supported this idea, with the exception of Spain, are in Latin America.

The chief aim of celebrating this day, I should tell you, is to “divulge information about the possibilities for improving the standard of living of countries and their citizens afforded by new technologies.”

Can you imagine videos of the parade in front of the La Rampa theatre and the festivities held at the farming cooperatives on YouTube, uploaded by Cuba’s gay and peasant communities? Why, even I would find it hard to believe!

Dear Raul, my mom recently had two moles surgically removed. Don’t worry, it was a simple enough procedure.

The point is that I would have liked to have seen her face after she’d gotten rid of those unpleasant protuberances. Believe me, it would have been very easy: an Internet connection, a laptop computer and a webcam would have sufficed.

Raul, you will likely say to me that the fact I am unable to see my mother’s mole-free face is trivial, or, to call things by their name, that it is really quite stupid to complain about such things, when the country can boast of a 2 % infant mortality rate thanks to you and your lot.

But, allow me to disagree with you, and say that these stupid little things are what make life worth living, particularly for Cubans who live far from their loved ones.

Comandante, please forgive the impertinence of asking you to provide all Cubans with free access to the Internet, this is truly disrespectful, particularly now, when you are so busy tracing new “guidelines” for the country. But, please, stop for a moment and Google the phrase “technological illiteracy”.

Believe me, at the pace we’re moving, soon Cuba will need another literacy campaign. This time, though, to raise the shameless banner which proclaims the island as “the last country in Latin America without technological illiteracy.”

Revolutionarily yours,

Alfredo Fernández Rodríguez

5 thoughts on “Letter to Raul Castro Demanding Free Internet Access for All Cubans

  • I was trying to “lecture” the reactionaries about the complexities of fiber-cable network infrastructure that Cuba still lacks. They didn’t dare to answer how much a high-end switcher-router needed for broadband network access costs. You won’t get the bandwidth of the ALBA-1 at home with 90’s network infrastructure.

  • I guess you`ll blame your govt. in EEUU or Spain or wherever you are when someone who has little money has no computer. Chico?!

  • The cable alone shows the past claim that internet in Cuba was only limited because of the “embargo” and the “limited bandwidth” of the satellite link.

    Cities like Santiago have updated exchanges that can even provide adsl. Cuba has a fully developed backbone from Havana to Santiago. That is how Havana is linked up to the Siboney – Venezuela cable.

    As far as Cubans not being able to afford computers: blame the regime.

    The “free access” you refer to doesn’t exist. Hotels can refuse Cubans. Internet access cards are refused to Cubans. The “if you can pay” part is another thing: one hour of internet will cost you 33% of a monthly wage in a country where people struggle to buy food. The dual money system is just another part of the “apartheid” system of the Castro regime.

  • the cable alone does not make it as long as there is no infrastructer. It´s the first step. The rest will take a while but will cime. Another problem: how many Cubans will have the mone to afford a computer? So lets be somewhat realistic.There is free access to the internet, if you pay. So I don´t really see the use of any provocative letter which will have impact zero anyways. This whole letter is good for nothing. Young Cubans and the bloggers from Cuba know what they want and it seems to me they will have more success than this letter.As I said, let`s be little bit realistc.Letters like this do not serve any proposal but being provocative. May be the ones critizizing so much should already collect money to provide their fellow countrymen with computers. What about that? Or collect money to set up the necessary infrastructure for all Cubans households, What about that?

  • One can dream.

    This is reality in Cuba: no access.
    For years Castro apologists claimed it was the “embargo” and the “narrow band satellite” that were the problems.

    Lies. Now the Cable with Venezuela is there and nothing has changed.


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