We Finally have Internet and So What!

Gaby Rabassa 

HAVANA TIMES — Can you help me with IMO? A man asks me while I connect up myself. Once I managed to get him talking to his daughter, who he hasn’t seen in over 15 years, his tears made me reflect.

For years now, Cubans have been deprived of the Internet.  We know that millions of Cuban families have been separated and that many of them hadn’t spoken to each other throughout this entire time.

La Rampa (Vedado), El AnfiTeatro (Marianao) and La Vereda (Lisa), to name a few, are some of the places here in Cuba that are designated pafory “WIFI spots”.  These are the only places, except for some workplaces, where people can connect with the world; that is to say, use the internet paying 2 CUC (2.30 USD) per hour.

Therefore, I have to ask:

  • Have you seen these places even when it’s raining, or the sun is cracking stones, or when there aren’t any seats, drinks, food or comfort?

Well I have. And it’s a very depressing sight.

Here, we find desperate people trying to communicate with their family because they can finally do so. They put a small part of their miserable salary aside in order to do just this, trying to communicate, and I say trying, because a lot of the time the connection is so slow that you can lose your hour just trying.

We also find scalpers, who have bought up all of the Nauta cards at the sales points and then resell them for more money (3 CUC = 75 CUP per hour); and the “whizzes” who, trying to make ends meet, are able to connect you up, I don’t know how exactly, for just 1 CUC = 25 CUP per hour.

You see people sitting on the dirty ground, shouting alongside each other so that the person they’re speaking to can hear them a little better. We see relatives in slow motion because of the bad connection. Crying and laughing. And of course, there are thieves, who wait for you to get distracted just for a second to take off with your laptop or phone.

This is the panorama that reflects the Cuban people’s desperation and resignation. It’s a panorama that sells us to the world like desperate whores looking for the best customer. A sad picture.

Yes, we finally have the internet! Years ago, this service was just a utopia. However, we still have a long way to go. Comfort and consideration should be taken into account when “reconstructing our society.”