The Cuban State: Protecting the Youth or Protecting its Interests?

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Uno de los cines de barrio cerrados. Foto: Cubanite

HAVANA TIMES — Some time ago, the Cuban media announced that all video-game and 3D home theatre locales were being shut down.

The main argument used was that the licenses which had been granted the owners of private establishments did not afford them the right to operate the locales for such purposes and that said places (videogame centers in particular) led to an atmosphere of frivolity and bad habits.

In connection with 3D theatres, people on the street even spoke of rumors that pornographic materials or films critical of the government were being exhibited there.

This last rumor strikes me as unlikely. Those locales were open to the public and, among the minors or adults who frequented them, a State inspector could have easily gone in.

Anyone who’s made an investment will try and protect it. This is why those who sell weekly show packages downloaded from the Internet make a point of including a note in their promotional flyers which reads: “No pornographic or subversive materials included.”

A few weeks after these events, which proved traumatic for investors and customers alike, the Cuban press ran an article promoting a “national DOTA (strategy game) tournament” which was to be held at computer clubs in the country.

This was a rather surprising bit of news. I have never seen a State locale with more than six computers connected to a Local Area Network. Computers at these clubs aren’t well maintained and I’ve seen that the Microsoft Power Point courses offered there use extremely old software. I doubt DOTA 2 will run in any of these computers, not even with the graphics set to the minimum resolution.

The news is even more surprising if we recall that the police have been known to cut the cables that many people use to set up a neighborhood network (having no wireless network they can use) in order to play this same game.

Curiously enough, some weeks later, a news article showered 3D cinema with praise, calling the experience it affords “intense.” The article commented on each and every one of the magnificent features of this virtual world while trying to avoid sounding like capitalist advertising.

As way of a conclusion, it announced that 3D theaters managed by the Cuban Film Art and Industry Institute (ICAIC) were already operational.

They shut down game and 3D theatre locales to protect young people from vice and then organized a national DOTA tournament. Are they saying that the same game, when played with State authorization, doesn’t lead to frivolity and addiction?

Are 3D films harmful when shown by the self-employed and intense and beneficial when screened by the State?

It’s clear they don’t want Cubans to be financially independent, but, at the very least, they should use less ridiculous arguments.

One thought on “The Cuban State: Protecting the Youth or Protecting its Interests?

  • The Cuban National Assembly recently debated for hours over the failings of kitchen appliances in Cuba and now this post describes the government intervening in the 3D theater business. Who can take this tinpot dictatorship seriously? While the US is advancing artificial intelligence technology in the use of third-generation robotics and collecting and (mis)managing trillions of bytes of data daily , the Castros are worried about DOTA? OMG, are you serious? Obama should only negotiate with grown-ups, infantile and small-minded despots need not apply.

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