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Cuba Lifts Ban on Home Computers

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hello-computer dept.

Your Rights Online 290

ianare writes "The first legalized home computers have gone on sale in Cuba, the latest in a series of restrictions on daily life which President Raul Castro has lifted in recent weeks. The desktop computers cost almost $800, in a country where the average wage is under $20 a month, but some Cubans do have access to extra income. Internet access remains restricted to certain workplaces, schools and universities on the island which the government claims is due to low bandwidth availability. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is laying a new cable under the Caribbean, but it remains unclear whether once the connection is completed, the authorities will allow unrestricted access to the internet."

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This is not news... (5, Interesting)

isilrion (814117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283750)

I'm a Cuban. This happened more than a month ago. And we are very happy that someone finally came to his senses about it.

What's new, though, is that [startin soon], they are going to be sold without operating systems... No more windows pre-installed. Or so I've heard. Now we only need tons of Ubuntu disks to give away at the sotre.

Re:This is not news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283774)

This happened more than a month ago.
I guess they haven't worked out the latency issue yet.

Re:This is not news... (2, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283778)

No more windows pre-installed. Or so I've heard. Now we only need tons of Ubuntu disks to give away at the sotre.
Wow, talk about being behind and ahead at the same time! Do they have a ban on the eeepc and other less-than-$800 computers? And any way it doesn't have to be $800 - surely there is a market for importing old hardware?

Re:This is not news... (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283830)

At $800 for a new PC, I think that Cubans are going to resort to doing what they did with cars; taking pre-revolution ones and keeping them going for 40-50 years.

Unfortunately, I think they'll have trouble getting the valves/tubes for those old 1950s models, and they probably won't be of a high enough spec to run the latest malware.

Re:This is not news... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283910)

No, what it's going to happen is that Caritas and other organizations that care about people will be finally able to bring used computers from non-communist, developed countries to Cuba, for little to no price (just to be stolen and sold as soon as they arrive to the country, as happens with every single truck that goes to Africa).

Re:This is not news... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283950)

just to be stolen and sold as soon as they arrive to the country, as happens with every single truck that goes to Africa

Either share your wealth with us, or we'll share our poverty with you.

It applies to more than just 1st vs 3rd world.

Re:This is not news... (2, Insightful)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284034)

You'd be surprised at how resourceful Cuban people are...I am amazed at how they make some of those old cars still work with no parts available...

Re:This is not news... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284102)

You'd be surprised at how resourceful Cuban people are...I am amazed at how they make some of those old cars still work with no parts available...

Engine swaps used to be more common in this country. What happened? Emissions laws.

In terms of keeping the chassis rolling, however, a lot of those older cars used really standard sizes for bearings and whatnot. So once you get the engine out of the equation you have a bunch of stuff that's really easy to interchange and get parts for.

The things that tend to cost the most in a restoration are hard-to-find parts, body/trim, interior, et cetera. Labor is cheap in Cuba, and there's no emphasis on original parts...

Re:This is not news... (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284392)

.I am amazed at how they make some of those old cars still work with no parts available...

Do you realize that is a sign of how far your country has fallen? It was when people said that of your people that your country was great. Now, you rely on exploitative economics and war where once you relied on yourselves, and marvel that a people could take care of themselves.

Re:This is not news... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284248)

$800? $300 for an EeePC. And there are others like OLPC. Sure, you might not see a lot of cubans joining into games of Quake or GTA4 online, but they can still do a lot for less than $800.b

Re:This is not news... (1)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284536)

At $800 for a new PC, I think that Cubans are going to resort to doing what they did with cars; taking pre-revolution ones and keeping them going for 40-50 years.

I think this could also work somewhat for computers. They could get by just fine setting up Linux distros on older systems. It would be interesting to see what they would develop.

Re:This is not news... (5, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283870)

Just because it costs less than 800 dollars in the rest of the world doesn't mean that it will be that cheap inside the country. Any market for importing old hardware is likely to be a black market, so the prices will be steep. It's the right step to allow personal computers in Cuba, but the majority of the people are a long way from it making any difference at all.

Just an idea, since my US government is all about supporting an open and free Cuba, it might not be bad idea to lead some sort of initiative to proliferate computers to the people. I know the government might frown upon something like this, but it would give America the moral high ground, which is something neither side has been worthy of so far.

Re:This is not news... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284122)

America certainly has no morales anyway, their treatment of Cuba over the past 50 years has been disgusting!! War on terror, what the fuck are they doing in Cuba......Scumbags!!
Wake up and stop listening to your bullshit controlled media.

Re:This is not news... (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284166)

Morals are relative.

Re:This is not news... (2, Funny)

krakass (935403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284170)

America certainly has no morales anyway, their treatment of Cuba over the past 50 years has been disgusting!! War on terror, what the fuck are they doing in Cuba......Scumbags!! Wake up and stop listening to your bullshit controlled media.
Well the government is working on immigration reform

Re:This is not news... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284172)

Thank you for your insight, Anonymous. Without the trade embargo, certainly there would have been computers in Cuba before this (most tech companies here have way more than enough money to bribe a Castro or two).

So it's an interesting question whether the embargo is a good idea or ever was.

I do have to wonder, though, what connection you're making between Cuba and the war on terror [sic]. You're referring to Guantanamo? Guantanamo was leased by the United States long before the war on terror turned it into a prison camp, and the prisoners there don't tend to be Hispanic but Arab, Persian, or Afghani.

Re:This is not news... (3, Funny)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284274)

America certainly has no morales anyway
What does the president of Bolivia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales/ [wikipedia.org] have to do with computers in Cuba?

Re:This is not news... (1)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284306)

It's a communist plot! They're trying to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Re:This is not news... (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284626)

It's a communist plot! They're trying to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
Actually, since this is about computers, they are trying to sap and impurify all of our precious source codes. That's why MS Vista sucks. It's not Microsoft's fault. They were infiltrated and subverted by communist conspirators!

Re:This is not news... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284478)

America certainly has no morales anyway, their treatment of Cuba over the past 50 years has been disgusting!! War on terror, what the fuck are they doing in Cuba......Scumbags!!
Wake up and stop listening to your bullshit controlled media.


The US government has treated dictators in quite a variety of ways. Supported some, toppled others, etc. All of these treatments have been labeled disgusting and wrong, usually by the same people. Cuba, since the '60s, has simply been embargoed (and it's hard to see how refusal to trade is "disgusting"). And so, without US influence, Cuba has become a shining beacon for all the world's people, a glorious example of how to run things without the influence of the nasty US government and its evil corporate masters. It has become a paradise for its people, with health care and jobs for all, and people from all over the world (except the US) are knocking at Cuba's door wanting to immigrate.

No? Actually except for the last bit, that is often the impression the bullshit controlled media gives of Cuba. But of course it IS bullshit.

Re:This is not news... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284158)

Even if prices are steep, families could pool their money and buy one PC for an entire neighborhood.

Re:This is not news... (2, Informative)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284526)

Perfect [linuxtoys.org]

Re:This is not news... (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284246)

Just an idea, since my US government is all about supporting an open and free Cuba, it might not be bad idea to lead some sort of initiative to proliferate computers to the people. I know the government might frown upon something like this, but it would give America the moral high ground, which is something neither side has been worthy of so far.
Sorry, but your government is all about supporting a decades old grudge and nothing else - your government deals with and indeed in some cases support regimes far worse than Cuba.

There is no reason any import market has to be a black market, Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world, including Europe, and as such has an open market to exploit.

Re:This is not news... (1)

isilrion (814117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283790)

Gah.

s/startin/starting

s/sotre/store

If I only had an edit button...

Re:This is not news... (0, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284182)

Gah.


If I only had an edit button...
We've been begging cmdrtaco for one for years. The stupid forced preview was his answer.

Re:This is not news... (5, Informative)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284404)

Editing posts in a forum like this is a bad idea. It means you can post something, wait for a response to criticize you, and then alter your original post to make it look like the replier's an idiot. Perhaps having an edit history log available would mitigate that, except it'd be hard for people to mentally keep track of which version of the post existed at a given time, and know what was being replied to.

In practice, it means that the discussion is a *discussion*, so you can see everything everyone said, instead of letting things get changed and redacted later on. All things considered, not being able to edit is a good thing.

Re:This is not news... (1, Troll)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283866)

Now we only need tons of Ubuntu disks to give away at the sotre.
Post your snail mail address and I'll send you a stack of them. Let the island enjoy Ubuntu [what-is-what.com] and maybe Raul's Cuba do what Fidel's couldn't do: really stick it to US corporations such as Microsoft.

Re:This is not news... (0, Troll)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284076)

Yeah kuz Canonical is a real pure communist outfit too. And those evil US corporations have never ever made any contributions to Linux. In fact... has Cuba ever made any contributions to Free Software of note? For that matter, what about Iran and North Korea, they hate America even more.. so why aren't they the world leaders in free software?

Re:This is not news... (3, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284144)

Yeah kuz Canonical is a real pure communist outfit too. And those evil US corporations have never ever made any contributions to Linux. In fact... has Cuba ever made any contributions to Free Software of note? For that matter, what about Iran and North Korea, they hate America even more.. so why aren't they the world leaders in free software?
From Cuba's point of view, their only option of not using a US company for their OS is Linux. It is very much a political, and an independence issue, for Cuba, not for me. I personally have nothing against the US.

Re:This is not news... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284168)

For that matter, what about Iran and North Korea, they hate America even more.. so why aren't they the world leaders in free software?
It's not about free software. It's about not funding a US company. That would be sort of ironic, don't you think, after the past 40 years of US embargo on Cuba. If there were a Russian proprietary OS that would serve pretty much the same purpose for Cuba.

Re:This is not news... (0)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284080)

Hey. Ease up with the slurs against the US. MS is not a US corporation any more than it is a European, African, East Asian or Indian. Though one could make a case for each based on how much taxes are dodged [indiatimes.com] in each region [taxresearch.org.uk] . But if you want to split hairs about what MS is, you can see that it is more about power and isolation than about profit. Notice how many divisions are failing to run a profit. You can can also look at the behavior of its employees and large numbers of minions and come quickly to the conclusion that it is more of a cult [groklaw.net] .

Also look at how much damage MS has caused [taxresearch.org.uk] not just the IT sector, and not just the private sector, but also the public sector. Notice as desktop usage OS X and Linux, among others, increase the overall cost goes down.

As far as the Kubuntu CDs go, that's a great idea. Just be sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

Re:This is not news... (3, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284128)

Ease up with the slurs against the US.
I didn't mean it that way. I meant that from Cuba's point of view, they will not be dependent on a US corporation.

Re:This is not news... (4, Informative)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284350)

MS is not a US corporation any more than it is a European, African, East Asian or Indian.

Microsoft is absolutely a U.S. corporation. I don't know where you're getting your information from.

Microsoft is a Washington corporation[1], incorporated under Washington law[2]. Its registered office, pursuant to Washington state law[3], is at 920 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, Washington[4].

While Microsoft may have subsidiary and/or partner corporations in other countries, there is no doubt whatsoever that the "real Microsoft" is an American corporation, based in America, run by a board of American businessmen and an American Chief Executive officer, responsible to a largely American base of stockholders. Any contention otherwise is surely a joke.

[1] Washington Secretary of State, Corporations: Registration Data Search: Microsoft Corporation, http://www.secstate.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=600413485 [wa.gov] .
[2] Wash. Stat. s 23B.01.010 et seq., available at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?Cite=23B [wa.gov] .
[3] Wash. Stat. s 23B.05.010(1), available at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=23B.05.010 [wa.gov] (requiring that "[e]ach corporation [under this Title] must continuously maintain in this state ... [a] registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business").
[4] Microsoft, Articles of Incorporation, available at http://www.microsoft.com/about/companyinformation/corporategovernance/articlesincorp.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:This is not news... (4, Informative)

chakmol (88099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283868)

I'm a Cuban. This happened more than a month ago. And we are very happy that someone finally came to his senses about it.
What's new, though, is that [startin soon], they are going to be sold without operating systems... No more windows pre-installed. Or so I've heard. Now we only need tons of Ubuntu disks to give away at the sotre.


I was over there in 2005, and visited a few folks who already had computers at home, but good to hear it's now legal. In a couple of net cafes I visited in Havana, all the computers had the KDE desktop, but I didn't get a chance to see what was running under it.

Many Cubans access e-mail and net at the post office, Correos de Cuba, and the lines were usually long.

These were just some observations while there.

Defend Cuba, China, North Korea and Vietnam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283754)

For unconditional defense of the deformed workers states! For new October revolutions to sweep away capitalist barbarism and slavery! For a new Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution! Defeat the imperialist counterrevolutionary threat against Cuba!

Re:Defend Cuba, China, North Korea and Vietnam! (1)

BattleCat (244240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283828)

True, comrade, so very true ! It's so great to see someone still honouring our restless leaders Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin ! For the <s>Freedom of Earth !</s> win of communism !

Censorship or bandwidth problem? (3, Interesting)

stm2 (141831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283784)

According to Cuban supporters, there is no restriction to visit websites, the real problem is that the whole country have a very limited bandwidth so most pages doesn't load at all. And this limitation is thanks to the US who put a ban on export of goods and services to Cuba.
The main problem I see is that they are using mostly unlicensed copy of windows, since Windows licenses can't be acquired in Cuba.

Re:Censorship or bandwidth problem? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283806)

and how hard will it be the set a wireless link from Cuba to the USA.

Re:Censorship or bandwidth problem? (2, Informative)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283898)

From a quick look on Google maps, it would seem that the distance between Cuba and nearest American soil (Key West) is slightly under 200km.

It would be possible to string up a wireless link, indeed the current record is 238 miles (383km - link [blogspot.com] ), so it is possible.

I think the bigger issue is the legality of doing this. The embargo on Cuba does not only apply to the governments, but to citizens of both countries. You setting up a wifi link is a violation of that embargo, and could get you in serious trouble.

It's called a satellite uplink (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284256)

It would be possible to string up a wireless link, indeed the current record is 238 miles (383km - link [blogspot.com] ), so it is possible.
Maybe for 802.11*. But people routinely bounce signals off a radio repeater placed 35,000 km off the ground [wikipedia.org] .

I think the bigger issue is the legality of doing this. The embargo on Cuba does not only apply to the governments, but to citizens of both countries. You setting up a wifi link is a violation of that embargo, and could get you in serious trouble.
Is the United States of America the only country in the western hemisphere with satellites? Might some Spanish- or even Portuguese-speaking country be more willing to help out

Re:It's called a satellite uplink (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284564)

Maybe for 802.11*. But people routinely bounce signals off a radio repeater placed 35,000 km off the ground [wikipedia.org] .
They already do, that is how they get internet access at the moment, from TFA:

All online connections today are via satellite which has limited bandwidth and is expensive to use.
I agree that a 802.11* setup would not exactly solve the entire issue, but then it was more a theoretical idea, that individuals or a group of people could do it on a reasonable budget with off the shelf/hacked hardware. Also, bouncing things 70,000 km (35,000 km to the satellite, and 35,000 km back) will instill quite a bit of latency, much higher than an 802.11* link that is ~200km.

Is the United States of America the only country in the western hemisphere with satellites? Might some Spanish- or even Portuguese-speaking country be more willing to help out
I presume that is why Hugo Chavez is laying cable under the Caribbean to Cuba (says in TFA). But until then, they have satellite. The cable, once (if) done, will provide with a lot of bandwidth and low latency, so its the best bet, just needs to be finished.

Bandwidth and freedom (4, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283872)

The main problem I see is that they are using mostly unlicensed copy of windows, since Windows licenses can't be acquired in Cuba.

Hey, how come Cubans can order PCs and not have to pay for Windows? Heck, they are already once step ahead of us.

If the US was smart, strike and agreement with Cuba, given them decent pipe access via Florida so long as they put 1 million uncensored PCs on it in say 2-3 years. That will reach 1 in 11 Cubans. Free flow of information is a true friend of democracy.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283960)

The US embargo has never been about fostering democracy in Cuba.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284398)

Hence the "if the US was smart..."

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283962)

Keeping Cuba locked down is critical to our ideological bullshit. Maintaining the embargo encourages others to do so, which depresses Cuba and causes them to be less successful, which we get to blame on ideology and use as a reason why we must go on a holy war to spread Democracy throughout the world (perhaps we should start here first, eh?) We don't actually want Democracy in Cuba, or we WOULD HAVE opened up to them. The real issue is that our government fears free speech. Cubans can actually get health care...

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (0)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284136)

Keeping Cuba locked down is critical to our ideological bullshit.
Would that ideological bullshit include free speech? Cuba isn't "critical" to anything anymore. It's a vestige of the cold war. The last time they were critical was in the 60's when Kruschev tried to deploy nukes there.

Maintaining the embargo encourages others to do so,
Natch. That's the point.

which depresses Cuba and causes them to be less successful, which we get to blame on ideology and use as a reason why we must go on a holy war to spread Democracy throughout the world (perhaps we should start here first, eh?)
You want a change? Vote.

We don't actually want Democracy in Cuba, or we WOULD HAVE opened up to them.
Actually, we wanted to stop giving support to a double-crossing, backstabbing dictator. I wish we would do that with some of our other "friends" around the globe.

The real issue is that our government fears free speech.
Riiigght ... which is why you have the freedom to air your opinion here without fear of retribution in the form of jackbooted government thugs kicking in your door and hauling you away for publishing "subversive propaganda".

Cubans can actually get health care...
Riiigght ... that must be why so many Americans die every year trying to cross over to Cuba in overloaded, leaky boats.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284252)

Would that ideological bullshit include free speech? Cuba isn't "critical" to anything anymore. It's a vestige of the cold war. The last time they were critical was in the 60's when Kruschev tried to deploy nukes there.

Cuba is not militarily strategically critical, it is ideologically strategically critical. I thought I had made that clear, but perhaps I should have said it three times so it would sink in.

You want a change? Vote.

Uh, perhaps you didn't notice, but Bush actually never got enough votes to be president. There were more than enough uncounted votes in each case which, if tradition would be borne out, would have decided both elections (well, there would never have been a second one) for Gore. Voting is about as effective as jerking off - it can be fun, and it can make you feel good, but it's no kind of solution to your problems.

Actually, we wanted to stop giving support to a double-crossing, backstabbing dictator. I wish we would do that with some of our other "friends" around the globe.

First, we'd have to start with our own administration(s).

Riiigght ... which is why you have the freedom to air your opinion here without fear of retribution in the form of jackbooted government thugs kicking in your door and hauling you away for publishing "subversive propaganda".

Please explain what the big new empty prison in Alaska is for.

Prescott Bush was a major contributor to the SS, today we are preparing for the new Third Reich to spring forth from America. The concentration camps are already being constructed all over the nation.

Just cover your eyes, ears, and mouth all at once!

Cubans can actually get health care...
Riiigght ... that must be why so many Americans die every year trying to cross over to Cuba in overloaded, leaky boats.

I didn't suggest that everything was rosy in Cuba, although I am suggesting that things would be better there than they are here if we weren't crapping them up.

American culture is entirely dependent on people who either do not know or do not care at all about what they are doing to the rest of the world. Our culture is entirely dysfunctional and is falling apart at all the seams. Mental illness is on the rise and it's not just because head shrinkers are nutballs who think everyone is as crazy as they are; things are getting crazier all the time.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284356)

> Prescott Bush was a major contributor to the SS, today we are preparing for the new Third Reich to spring forth from America. The concentration camps are already being constructed all over the nation.

Details please.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (1)

asterion (173256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284400)

No substance, just paranoid, bitter ranting, with goofy moral inversions and willful ignorance. Cuba is a PRISON - there's no free speech, free thought, free expression. But they're the GOOD GUYS, in your view.

Clearly, it is you, drinkypoo, who are coming apart at the seams. I call bullshit on YOUR idealogy.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (0)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284286)

The real issue is that our government fears free speech. Cubans can actually get health care...

Someone gave you insightful, they should have given you troll.

First, Cubans are not educated about democracy, and I bet by American standards you would not want their health care. If they have a MRI, it is probably booked up for the elite. Do you think some farmer is getting top of the line treatment?

Second issue, wages. Do you want Cuban wages? It is part of the package. Government excise taxes on exports prohibit paying you more.

Lets look at Canada, higher taxes across the board. Only one service provider and if you don't like the waiting lines and the local health boards decisions, too bad. Waiting line in Milwaukee, 1 hour. Same process in Canada might be 12 hours or if it isn't immediately life threatening, 15 months. add $1.50 per US gallon to fuel, triple sin taxes, add a 5 to 18% tax on everything. Add less competition for labor and lower paying jobs with higher income taxes.

Yes, I have lived under both systems. The American system only has two flaws and many benefits. It isn't universal and the paperwork. But for the level of care, it is a bargain. Our rich American relatives make twice as much, pay less taxes and complain because they have to kick $700 a month in health care! Do the math, and they are better off. Hell, their tax savings more than doubly cover their health care.

Lets just hope if the USA does this, they do it better than Cuba or Canada.

All governments hate free speech.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284292)

Cubans can actually get health care...
Have you actually gone through the health care system in Cuba?

You're like all the other idiots that think America is backwards and Europe of whatever is so great. Yes it sucks in America and is too expensive (mostly due to waste in the system, like the government) but none of these people have real experience in countries with government health care. It sucks because people use the system even when they don't need it so the whole thing is one big congested nightmare.

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284442)

sucks because people use the system even when they don't need it so the whole thing is one big congested nightmare.

You must be from the UK, (thinking that your NHS sucks and whatnot). Actually, the UK's NHS system is really good.

To think that you can go to a Gastroenterologist, then get a Sigmuidoscopy, some time later get a radioscopy, some blood tests and several visits to your GP between all those. COMPLETELY FREE.

Zilch cost nothing to worry about (no need to hide X or Y to anyone for fear that your "health insurance" might not pay for the bills).

The system is incredible. And I say that from personal experience. All those things would have costed an arm and leg in the USA or in Mexico (or wait one year to use the IMSS).

And, what better thing to hear from your GP saying "we will continue doing whatever tests you need until YOU are completely satisfied and sure it is IBS (although the doctor already told you it is IBS but you want to be 200% sure)". And of course, not having to pay for any of the test (even if it is a complete colonoscopy, or an x-ray or whatever else).

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284546)

You nailed it. And for anyone who thinks the embargo has nothing to do with saving American face, why is it that the USA trades freely and openly with China (which is communist and has a much worse record of human rights abuses), but not Cuba?

Re:Bandwidth and freedom (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284552)

Don't feed the trolls - when an AC^h^h drinkypoo says something stupid, let it slide
There, fixed that sig for ya.

Re:Censorship or bandwidth problem? (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283882)

The main problem I see is that they are using mostly unlicensed copy of windows, since Windows licenses can't be acquired in Cuba.
How's that a problem? Cuba's a classic example of the kind of place where Microsoft would far rather people pirate Windows than use Ubuntu legitimately - get 'em hooked then tighten the anti-piracy screws later.

Re:Censorship or bandwidth problem? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283900)

The main problem I see is that they are using mostly unlicensed copy of windows
That's a problem from whose point of view? Not Cuba's, so they likely wouldn't care.

Any targeted security risks from using a closed-source unaudited OS like Windows (via US-government-endorsed backdoors) would likely apply whether it was paid for or not. Ditto lock-in issues, etc etc

Re:Censorship or bandwidth problem? (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284160)

So let me get this straight: the reason Cuba can't get computer components is because of the US ban on exporting goods to Cuba? How does this prevent Japan or China from sending their stuff to Cuba? Is the fact that Cuba can't get a Gateway computer necessarily a bad thing? :-)

You'd think that if there was an unfulfilled market, some business would fill it. China makes unlicensed EVERYTHING! from Motorcycles to Microsoft Windows :-)

Cuban here... Censorship? (4, Interesting)

isilrion (814117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284298)

I would say, both parts are true. Cuban bandwdith is severely limited, thus, it is obviuous that certain key areas are prioritized (oddly enough, universities aren't - we have a 1mbs for 10 thousand users at mine).

On the other hand, that doesn't explain why don't we have conectivity even within our countries (it is faster to download Debian from the internet that it is to download it from the cuban mirrors [softwarelibre.cu] ). There is even one law to address this issue [mic.gov.cu] , that has been largely ignored except on the part of giving monopoly-like powers to our phone company. And it even seem they find cheaper to use satellite to connect two places within the city, than to lay a couple hundred metters of fiber to the nearest hub.

With that, though, I'm willing to call (the ministry of informatics and communications, the phone company, whatever), ignorant rather than evil. I do accept that the reason for that is technical (that we are forbidden to hook to the fiber optics that go around my country). But, there is censorship. Over time, I've collected a set of domains that seem to be banned. No one never confirms it, and the banning works as if the remote server was not working, but routing the request through a proxy server, you find out that it is indeed working. And more recently, we got this other law [mic.gov.cu] , that was publicly mentioned by this guy [vivirlatino.com] , and forbids chats, formus and mailing lists.

So, we have everything. We have serious technical difficulties caused by the US (internet access). We have serious technical difficulties caused by who-knows-who (intranet access). And, we have censorship. I have high hopes that if the first one is solved, the rest will follow. However, for the sake of my country and our socialism... I do wish that the last two are solved first.

They Can Have Vista! (2, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284378)

I'd be happy to send them every copy of Vista that I own, but that might scare them back into severe isolation.

Ironic that B. Hussein Obama (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283788)

It's ironic that B. Hussein Obama has proposed more net censorship just as Cuba is starting to lift some of its socialist restrictions. Some ultra liberal socialists like B. Hussein Obama just never learn.

Re:Ironic that B. Hussein Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283816)

It's Hillary who is pro-censorship, dumbass.

Re:Ironic that B. Hussein Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284244)

It's the far left and far right that are pro censorship dumbass.

$20 per month??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283862)

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba [wikipedia.org] , Cuban GDP per capita is $4,500; that is $375/month.
Seems much more realistic than $20.

Re:$20 per month??? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283908)

Maybe the food/essentials prices are so high it only buys $20 worth of equivalent goods. Just a guess.

Re:$20 per month??? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284090)

I doubt that's it, on 20$ equivalent you couldn't survive. However 20$ unadjusted will probably work in quite a few countries.

Re:$20 per month??? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284108)

Yeah, they don't really specify if that is the mean or the mode. I am pretty sure that isn't the median, but I could be wrong

Re:$20 per month??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284132)

The summary talks about average wage, not per capita GDP.

Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283934)

Maybe a 10GBit undersea fiber run from Florida would be a good start. Getting their educational and medical infrastructure wired would help open up their community.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (3, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283964)

You of course are aware that Cuba has way better medical care for its citizens than the US does?

Think they'll like to pass on getting US style medical.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284046)

They don't have better care. Somewhat ironically, they have more democratic care, but that's about average availability, not level of quality.

The US probably even delivers more care per person on average, it just gets concentrated more.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (1, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284126)

I hope you aren't basing this off of that Michael Moore movie. Cuba actually has two tiers of medical service, because they engage in a recent market called "medical tourism". Their facilities and services for foreigners is among the best in the world, however their service for civilians has no better system than Canada but far worse service due to only having a fraction of the resources other places have.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284490)

WHO Health Care Rankings by Nation:

Canada #30

USA #37

Cuba #39

Source [photius.com]

Because I like sauce with my whine and cheese.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284448)

Not only that, but education in Cuba is really really good. You would be amazed.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284454)

That's a bald faced lie. Access and quality are two different things. They cite universal health care in Cuba as some great thing but the quality of care is questionable.

Simply because every Cuban can get a band-aid and aspirin for free doesn't mean they have better care.

I don't see European's traveling to Cuba to get the best cancer treatment in the world. They come to America.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (4, Informative)

cybrchld (229583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284538)

You are sadly misinformed. i have relatives in Cuba an the medical care there is very bad. yes the doctors and free but there is no medicine or supply's to help the public, my nice had a baby just recently and we had to actually provide all the sutures and thread to close her c section, not to mention when your taken to a hospital you need to bring your own sheets towels Etc. the only ones that get quality and cheap treatment are foreigners which pay. By far the worst care here is 10x better than what they have there.

Stop believing the Lies a few socialist nut jobs are perpetrating.

Re:Offer them free I2/NLR connectivity! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284006)

There is already fiber from the US - but they won't allow it to be activated because of the trade embargo. Sounds like that would be a better start.

Their "claim" is correct (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283956)

Cuba has multiple satellite uplinks which are capable of internet traffic, though it's *very* expensive, and as anyone whos ever tried to use satellite connections knows, it can be slow as hell. Couple with that the single T-3 (probably still channelized---demuxers are evidently "sensitive" equipment), and yeah, there are some major bandwidth issues. So settle down and lose the McCarthy bullshit, thanks.

The Sound Of Cuba (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23283968)

Hooray for Cuba:
Furious Masturbation
Goatse Surprise
Google Joygasm
GNAA Penis Rocket To The Moon

Let's hope . . . (1, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23283992)

. . . that they don't follow in Nigeria's footsteps. The last thing we need is for some Cuban to start emailing our grandparents asking for help to get some hidden money off of the island into an American bank!

DEAR AMERICANO - I HAVE BEEN LIVING CUBA SINCE 1951. MY FATHER HAS STASHED AWAY 500 MILLION BILION CUBAN PESSOS IN BASEMENT HERE IN HABANNNNA. HE ALSO HAS LARGE SUPPLY OF CUBBAN CIGARILLOS THAT HE BEEN QUIETLY TAKING ONE PER DAY SINCE 1962 FROM CIGAR FACTORY. HE NEEEDS HELP GETTING THEM OFF OF THE ISLAND INTO AMERIKA. PLEASE SEND YOUR BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION AND WE SPLIT THIS, GIVE YOU 10% OF PROFITTS. GRACIAS!

Cuban Connection (0)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284018)

This is all purely a well-thought out ploy to find out who is screwing the state. They did the same with hotels. They opened up the hotels and of the 26 people I know that booked in, at least 16 have now been arrested to determine where they got the money to go to a hotel from...

You don't get money in Cuba outside the few CUC per month legally, unless it is being sent from outside. You can bet your bottom dollar that the buyers of these computers will be put under investigation.

Karem

American business/citizens to get in trouble? (2, Funny)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284022)

I imagine that there will be copies of Microsoft windows on pc's, and the dvd's will have a fee paid to hollywood licensing body at the mpiaa. Will Steve Balmer find himself in American prison for selling to Cuba ? Since no doubt some of this money comes from outside Cuba, are not the citizens of America helping propping up Fidel and his cronies. Will the bank records be used to hunt down these people. The US Treasury should be vigilant and like it did with the cuban inspired domain names enforce the laws to stop trade with Cuba (and covered here on Slashdot). Theres also the patent aspects, somebody in Cuba must be in breach of some us pto patents.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284054)

If you sold me a loaf of bread and I sold it to Cuba, would you be culpable?

Why would you think that software would be any different? If Microsoft was involved in setting up intermediaries to deliver software to Cuba and it happened at the board level Balmer might get some heat for it, but he can't do a whole lot to stop a distributor in Mexico from shipping stuff to Cuba.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284110)

"This product is licensed, not sold." I don't think the licensing happens between the distributor and the user...

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284284)

And yet there isn't a whole lot Microsoft can do to stop a distributor in Mexico from shipping the boxes to Cuba. If Microsoft honored the license they would be in violation of the law, but I don't see how the mere presence of the software in Cuba is automagically their responsibility.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284482)

STFU, we are trying to someway blame Microsoft through this slashdot story.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284498)

MS doesn't stop them, but the US census bureau (who you file your trade docs with) will fine the shit out of MS and possibly revoke there export license as they DO care who the end-user is.
Now sure your distributer in Mexico could falsify the end-user and say its for consumption in their country, but trade infractions are a pricey one to make at between 10K - 100K PER mistake (intentional or not) on an SED (Shipper Export Declaration)

I work in export, specifically to latin america.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284154)

So the law does not apply to Americans, only europeans who register 'cuban' like domain names. Interesting.

Re:American business/citizens to get in trouble? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284476)

What if Google or Yahoo profit from services provided to Cuba? (i.e., advertising, I could pay Cuban kids 1 peso for each ad they clicked in my page).

Shure, USA Gov. does not have any trouble with Yahoo/Google bending to China, but what about Cuba?

Cheap computers (1)

zmjjmz (1264856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284036)

I think it's too bad that all the cheap computers such as the Everex ones seem to be US based, so that they can't get $200 computers. Can Asus sell them EeePC's?

No! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284044)

Thousands of Slashfag's just realized Internet access in their dreamland (a socialist nation) can be heavily regulated and shook their heads in disbelief. How, in a utopian socialist society such as Cuba, could this be? Socialism = slavery. Deal with it you communist scum bags.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284314)

But... the US!

"Home" computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284116)

Don't you need a home first? Cubans live in run down, leaky holes for the most part. Havana looked like a clapped out, WWII-era bombed ruin when I visited. Hey Castro, you dirty old paranoid dictator fuck, why don't you build a fucking country first? And then kill yourself, you bearded, cigar-smoking egomaniac monster?

Re:"Home" computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284194)

sp00ky

I'd rather have health care and live in poverty than a steak on my penis in a middle class country where a health issue leads me to the streets

Re:"Home" computer? (2, Insightful)

BattleCat (244240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284268)

Uh huh. Calm down and realize it's USofA who's largely responsible for current situation - lift embargo, and _then_ blame Castro.

now step 2... (1)

boguslinks (1117203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284224)

Now if Cuba would just lift the ban on Cubans earning money then people will be able to afford the computers that they are now allowed to have.

who cares about computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284342)

they have free health care!

how this works for the Empire (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284346)

Basically, the American restrictions on Cuba are total bullshit, and the rest of the world knows it. however, due to longstanding imperialist policies (like the Monroe doctrine) Cuba falls under the geographic hegemony of the USA. This was challenged by the CCCP from 1959 - 1991. When the Russians collapsed, Cuba had some "special times", like super special shitty times, that the draconian and retarded embargo by the USA only enhanced.

So, now Venezuela has come to Cuba's assistance by helping with data cable. This is very good news for the American Empire, as this has their enemies paying for the cable they can waltz in and appropriate when they topple Raul Castro (or whoever succeeds him). Assuming the Democrats sweep in November, the posture towards Cuba will shift a bit, but only insofar as it benefits the USA. Expect a President McCain to invade Cuba, a President Clinton to encircle and crush Cuba's regime, and a president Obama to subvert and destroy it. Once that has happened, they will then set about dismantling the entire gov't system with the same "shock therapy" that worked so well in Russia. See Naomi Kleins book on the subject.

So, expect the USA to turn a big blind eye to this kind of infrastructural investment, as it will save them money later when they take the place over.

Contrary to some of the above comments, Cuba is VERY strategic to USA interests - it will become the jump off point for dominating South America, as global hegemonic forces (EU, USA, Russia, China) retreat into regional power centers under a doctrine of multipolar competition. This condition will be forced upon these empires due to the collapse of oil production and competition over the remaining sources. For more on that, I would recommend "Resource Wars" by Klare and "The Prize" by Yergin.

RS

Re:how this works for the Empire (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284504)

Basically, the American restrictions on Cuba are total bullshit, and the rest of the world knows it. however, due to longstanding imperialist policies (like the Monroe doctrine) Cuba falls under the geographic hegemony of the USA. This was challenged by the CCCP from 1959 - 1991. When the Russians collapsed, Cuba had some "special times", like super special shitty times, that the draconian and retarded embargo by the USA only enhanced.


There are no American restrictions on Cubans. The American restrictions are on Americans (with a few even more bullshit extensions attempting to extend the embargo to non-American companies who deal with Americans; even Canada won't put up with that shit) . And calling an embargo "imperialist" is pretty rich... what would you call it if the US had normal relations with Cuba and there was a Starbucks and a McDonalds on every corner in Havana? Oh, right... you'd call it "cultural imperialism" or something similar.

Are we being ripped off ? (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284412)

(...) a country where the average wage is under $20 a month

I spend more than $20 a day just on food, Cuba will have to import a lot of stuff over sea and they can live for $20 a MONTH ? Sure, cubans won't have the quality and quantity available to us, but I still get the feeling we are being ripped off.
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