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Fidel Castro, Internet News Junkie

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-does-he-play-farmville dept.

The Internet 241

pickens writes "The LA Times reports that 84-year-old Cuban ex-President Fidel Castro consumes 200 to 300 news items a day on the World Wide Web. In a recent interview he called Web communication 'the most powerful weapon that has existed' and extolled its power to break a stranglehold on the media by 'the empire' and 'ambitious private groups that have abused it' adding that the Internet 'has put an end to secrets.... We are seeing a high level of investigative journalism, as the New York Times calls it, that is within reach of the whole world.' Well, not the whole world. Cuba has the lowest level of Internet penetration in the Western Hemisphere (lower than Haiti), plus severe government restrictions and censorship affecting those who do have access. In addition Cuban law bans using the Internet to spread information that is against what the government considers to be the social interest, norms of good behavior, the integrity of the people or national security."

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241 comments

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482576)

I doubt he can string that many words together.

There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482592)

There are few things more annoying than finding something impressive or good about someone I dislike and consider responsible for a lot of people suffering. I'd love to hear about how Castro hates the internet and considers it to be a series of tubes filled with lies. But using it to keep track of the news in detail across the globe? That's something that many people his age simply cannot or will not do. Stupid facts messing with my preconceptions again...

Re:There are few things more annoying (1, Flamebait)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482630)

Maybe he just reads Alex Jones and Glenn Beck all day... probably a 911 truther too.

Re:There are few things more annoying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482878)

Speaking of Cuba, what is so special about Cuban cigars? Not that I have ever tried them, but why are they special?

Re:There are few things more annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482946)

Not that I have ever tried them, but why are they special?

They're fobidden. In the US anyway. Outside the US I don't think they are special.

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

gtomorrow (996670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483172)

You'd be wrong. Think of the difference between Hershey's Special Dark chocolate and Lindt 72% (or higher) chocolate.

Re:There are few things more annoying (0, Offtopic)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483570)

The worst thing about Hershey's is the texture. The flavour is pretty uninspiring too.

I mean, FFS, Americans go nuts when they visit Britain and taste Dairy Milk... it's only 22% cocoa solids. It's our basic level cheapie mass-produced chocolate. But it's sooo much better than Hershey's.

Wasn't Hershey's formulated so that it wouldn't spoil in WWII combat zones? It would explain a lot if the first priority was durability....

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483072)

Not a damn thing other than the fact you aren't supposed to have them. A classic case in the effects of prohibition of any item. (And yes I've had quite a few)

Re:There are few things more annoying (3, Insightful)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483388)

Cubans used to grow very strong tobacco, and a great deal of their cigar rollers regarded themselves as artisans-- since they took a great deal of pride in their work, they produced very well-rolled cigars. Combine that with good tobacco with an unusually high nicotine content, and you get a cigar which is widely regarded as being among the best.

It is my understanding, however, that Cuban tobacco is not as strong, now. Also, a great deal of Cuba's foremost cigar-producing families fled Cuba, when Castro took over.

Re:There are few things more annoying (2, Informative)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483506)

Read Castro's writings [granma.cu] before you mod this comment down... Much of his ramblings sound like run of the mill Prison Planet paranoia.

Re:There are few things more annoying (0, Troll)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482638)

I think the utter hypocrisy of his words is the point. Sure, Fidel gets to surf the internet and read worldwide news, raving about how great it is...while most people in his country aren't allowed to do so because it would threaten his power. I hardly find that good. I find that disgustingly hypocritical of him.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482806)

Uh, first of all he is ex-president. What threats of his powers are you talking about? Secondly, the cuban laws are about spreading (ie. writing) information that harms the social norms or national security. Ah, national security. Isn't that why US also wants to take down Wikileaks?

Being a non-american and having lived in many different countries, it's sometimes really weird how US people so often think every other country is the root of evil and only US is good. You know, it's of course impossible that US government might want to paint a worse picture of their enemies than what they actually are! It's not even only Cuba.. It's China, Russia, North Korea, whatever country with different views, culture and society.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482844)

Being a non-american and having lived in many different countries, it's sometimes really weird how US people so often think every other country is the root of evil and only US is good. You know, it's of course impossible that US government might want to paint a worse picture of their enemies than what they actually are! It's not even only Cuba.. It's China, Russia, North Korea, whatever country with different views, culture and society.

And being an American, it is sometimes really weird how non-Americans have this strange view of Americans that makes us into a monolithic hive mind with views that actual Americans generally don't have. Yes, most Americans probably consider the North Korean government to be evil. That's a government which systematically abuses and starves its residents. Most Europeans probably have similar attitudes about North Korea. And I'm pretty sure that most Americans don't see Russia or China as at all in the same category as North Korea. And the notion that Americans think that there's something deeply wrong with "whatever country with different views, culture and society." I doubt that Americans think that about most European countries or Japan or India or Brazil or many other places.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483202)

And the notion that Americans think that there's something deeply wrong with "whatever country with different views, culture and society." I doubt that Americans think that about most European countries or Japan or India or Brazil or many other places.

Cultural uniqueness is not an excuse for all behavior. If your culture has unique customs and traditions - please let me study them. If it has unique foods - please share some with me (I enjoy regional food even more). But if your culture is wrapped up in behavior that I find detestable, even within my own country, then I'm going to have a problem with it. And I'm entirely unapologetic for that.

I find one of Cuba's most influential political figures talking about how open the Internet is while having set up a system that limits access to that freedom to his own people entirely hypocritical. I have the same problem with that attitude in the US. A spade is a spade. But I didn't buy in to the "freedom fries" thing when France refused to help deal with Iraq - in fact, I was rather bemused by a lady at a local grocery store who noted that I shouldn't be buying French brei during the time (whether the French were motivated by a desire for peace or fear of losing their investment in arming Iraq is another conversation). If that makes me an Ugly American, then so be it. Although I would consider myself a different breed than those who would, say, demonize Japan because of their sushi or because they don't (as a nation) worship the right god.

Re:There are few things more annoying (-1, Offtopic)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483524)

I got a troll mod. I'm curious whether this is because I called Fidel Castro a hypocrite (a parent post got the same mod for doing so) or because I noted that some cultures are worthy of criticism? Or maybe I wasn't critical of the right culture?

Re:There are few things more annoying (0, Troll)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482846)

Threats? What do you think would happen to him if the government were overthrown? I think it might involve a rope and a tree.

And gee, in your fervor to slam the US, did you miss the part about how Cuba has the least internet access of any country? Here, let me point it out to you:

In addition Cuban law bans using the Internet to spread information that is against what the government considers to be the social interest, norms of good behavior, the integrity of the people or national security.

Now let's think for a second, shall we? In the US, you can post about how Obama is a socialist Muslim terrorist and you won't get arrested for it. Do you honestly think that Cuba wouldn't care if a citizen slammed their government? Come on now, think in a historical context. Cuba isn't exactly nice to people who openly speak out against the government.

Just because the US can be asshats doesn't mean that the people who don't like the US can't be even bigger asshats.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482976)

Rope and tree? Hard to say. Maybe if the government is overthrown by Cuban expats living in the US, but not surprisingly these are the most extreme critics of Castro. Cuban residing in Cuba might be sick of the regime, but it is unlikely they hate it as much as US expats do. The proportion of people who have a positive view of Castro is bound to be higher in Cuba than in US, which is a haven for the regime's most bitter enemies.

In any case, you have to look at the specific nature of the overthrow. If it were a military coup, Castro's fate would depend on what is most useful to the junta: co-opting Castro or castigating him. If the government were to fall apart under popular unrest, chances are Castro would spend the balance of his retirement in Venezuela.

Re:There are few things more annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483000)

Yep, "national security".is why the government is trying to shut down wikileaks... and we HATE them for it!

So, IMO, that's pretty consistent with hating the Cuban government for blocking anything against " what the government considers to be the social interest, norms of good behavior, the integrity of the people, or national security" -- note all the extra categories that our government isn't even going to try locking down on the internet (although, alas, "norms of good behavior" does have some pull with the FCC on broadcast systems), and the fact that we see two governments, ours, and someone else's, doing the same thing in type (if varying in degree), and we hate them both.

Assuming that the citizens of a country in general, and the ones you're conversing with in particular, share the views of their government or endorse its actions is either some classic trollery, or just plain being an assbag douchehat, Either way, STFU, you're making the internet stupid.

He's a Dictator, not President (1, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483062)

first of all he is ex-president. What threats of his powers are you talking about?

Formal titles do not mean that much in Communist countries. Leonid Brezhnev, for instance, was "General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union", while Nikolai Podgorny was "Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR" until 1977, when a power struggle removed him from office.

What really matters is how much power each one holds. Fidel lost a lot of that power when he fell sick, but since he has been recovering some of his health his power seems to be increasing.

US government might want to paint a worse picture of their enemies than what they actually are! It's not even only Cuba.. It's China, Russia, North Korea, whatever country with different views, culture and society.

I have never seen the US government trying to paint a bad picture of any truly democratic country, meaning a country with freedom of expression, multiple party political system, and regularly scheduled elections with different parties alternating in power. However, when a country starts slipping from democracy, like Venezuela which is steadily drifting away from those three principles, then the US government starts having reservations about that country.

Disclaimer: I'm not an American but, as you mention that some of the countries the US government demonizes may not be as bad as they say, in the same way the US may not be as bad as you think.

Re:He's a Dictator, not President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483348)

I have never seen the US government trying to paint a bad picture of any truly democratic country, meaning a country with freedom of expression, multiple party political system, and regularly scheduled elections with different parties alternating in power. However, when a country starts slipping from democracy, like Venezuela which is steadily drifting away from those three principles, then the US government starts having reservations about that country.

That's not a principal of democracy. It is up to the people to choose their leadership. And if they are happy with their leadership, they are free to choose it again.

It's easy to be suspicious of the leadership in such a situation. But don't forget that Venezuela chooses Chavez with U.N. sanctioned elections by a wide margin.

Re:He's a Dictator, not President (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483478)

different parties alternating in power

That's not a principal of democracy. It is up to the people to choose their leadership. And if they are happy with their leadership, they are free to choose it again.

When someone [wikipedia.org] tried that in the US they changed the Constitution [usconstitution.net] to prohibit it.

An incumbent president has too much power and it's too easy for him to hold to the office indefinitely.

Re:He's a Dictator, not President (5, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483468)

I have never seen the US government trying to paint a bad picture of any truly democratic country, meaning a country with freedom of expression, multiple party political system, and regularly scheduled elections with different parties alternating in power.

Do a little research on the US CIA backed military overthrow of democratically elected Allende in Chile (1973). Not only did the US "paint a bad picture" but they instigated (CIA) the overthrow of the government and installed a military dictatorship. This was not the first of the last time this happened but it is a good representative example.

Re:He's a Dictator, not President (4, Interesting)

jbssm (961115) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483536)

Has they did in Iran. Most Americans don't know, but the fact that Iran has this shitty regimen now is that USA and UK overthrown an democratic elected secular government in 1953 because the prime minister of Iran at the time nationalized the oil industry of the country.

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483090)

Uh, first of all he is ex-president. What threats of his powers are you talking about?

That doesn't always matter. Stalin was only General Secretary of the Party [mltranslations.org] . On paper, he had no power at all. In reality...

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483224)

So when you were surfing the 'Net in the United States, you went to "America Is Evil And the American Government Should Be Violently Overthrown" -dot-com, and you got a 404 error? Or are you equivocating here?

(I guess you *did* get a 404 error, that's a ridiculously long URL.)

Re:There are few things more annoying (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483364)

You know, it's of course impossible that US government might want to paint a worse picture of their enemies than what they actually are! It's not even only Cuba.. It's China, Russia, North Korea, whatever country with different views, culture and society.

Seriously? I'll tell you what. As soon as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and any other country that the US wants to make look evil allows relatively unfettered access to a country and its population, I'll read the report and consider it to be the truth. Until then, I only have the stories from those starving individuals who risk their lives to escape such regimes.

Re:There are few things more annoying (5, Interesting)

isilrion (814117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482934)

while most people in his country aren't allowed to do so because it would threaten his power

Actually, the "official" reason is that the US limits who can we get bandwidth from (by owning or threatening those who own the fiber around the island), so we can only get it at ridiculously high prices. I think the total bandwidth for the whole country is about 230Mb/sec download, 100 upload.

I don't believe that is the only reason (clearly, censorship is a big one - I had to censor many things in the name of "lack of bandwithd" even after I proved that it would have a negligible effect). But the "official" reason, by itself, is enough to restrict nearly as much as Cuba does. It's also disgustingly hypocritical that the US gives the Cuban government such a perfect justification for their censorship.

Who knows, maybe with the cable to Venezuela the Cuban government will show the world (and the Cubans) that the US was the only responsible for the lack of internet access in Cuba. I would be very surprised if they did - but I doubt they'll be intelligent enough to see how it would benefit them.

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483390)

Interesting. I'd think that the US would want Cuba to have plenty of bandwidth as it might help foster a revolt against the government. I guess some folks in the US are still hellbent on the whole embargo thing. However, even with a cable to Venezuela, I seriously doubt the Cuban government is going to make everything free and open. That just isn't in their nature. There will be more internet to go around, but it's still going to be the internet that the Party wants them to see.

Re:There are few things more annoying (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483552)

Correct.

Cuba is cut-off from the Internet thanks to the US embargo. They cannot lay down fiber from Florida to Cuba. Currently only Satellite internet is available on the island. Internet is unavailable thanks to the bandwidth limits (hence unaffordable), not because "Cuba is evil". Cell phones were also banned in the past because there were not enough cell towers to provide coverage. Now, more cell towers built, cell prone available.

Anyway, high speed undersea fiber connection from Venezuela is in the works. Yeah, that's another "pinky regime". Funny how it takes socialists/communists to spread information while US can only transmit their propaganda via Radio Free America. Personally, I would have hoped that US would drop the embargo and allow companies to provide fiber internet access from Florida to Cuba. At least then Cuba would no longer be able to hide behind "it's US's fault via embargo" tag line.

Maybe US is still butt-hurt about Bay of Pigs fiasco and some rich dudes losing their playground with Batista. All the embargo is doing is strengthening Cuban resolve against US. But then what do I know.

Re:There are few things more annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482644)

Just makes him a hypocrite that's all

Re:There are few things more annoying (2, Funny)

j35ter (895427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482680)

Yeah, but this guy *reads*! Compare that to the last pres. the US had! Makes him kinda less evil :)

Re:There are few things more annoying (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482808)

Castro is not an idiot or an ideologue. He is the classic opportunist - and an intelligent one, at that. Seeing the opportunity for power in a top-town socialist regime, he seized it.

Now, he sees the power that 'new media' presents - and refuses it to the residents of his country. Seeing the open horizon of new media and denying it from others are not incompatible for a mega-maniacal dictator.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483054)

Can we be honest about something here?

Here's something I'd like to see some statistics on.

  1. How many deaths is Fidel Castro responsible for?
  2. How many deaths is George Bush responsible for? Or even, your average US president?

I have a feeling you're not going to like the answer. Why is it always that when some "other" guy (maybe someone who pissed off powerful American businessmen in the late 1950s) is a tyrant, a violent thug, and when we do it, we're heroes?

Re:There are few things more annoying (1)

TheDarkNose (1613701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483222)

Don't forget 1. How large is Cuba and how big is its population? 2. How large is the US and how big is its population? Oh yeah, and 3. How many ways can the US ruin lives compared to Cuba?

Re:There are few things more annoying (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483484)

You might be surprised and depressed if you actually answer those questions...

Certainly, the US can ruin lives in more ways than Cuba.

Cuba's population is a little over 11 million. The US Population is a little over 300M. So the US is about 30 times bigger, by population.

The death rate in Cuba is 7.22/1000. It's 8.036/1000 in the US.

How many foreign deaths is Cuba responsible for? Zero in the last 10 years, as far as is known. The US is responsible for somewhere between 500,000 and one million, during the Iraq Invasion alone.

How many internal deaths is the US responsible for?

Re:There are few things more annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483520)

"The death rate in Cuba is 7.22/1000. It's 8.036/1000 in the US."

I really have no idea why this is in your comment.

Doesn't this say more about demographics than anything else? More old people means more deaths. Was there a baby boomer period for Cuba? What was the death rate in Cuba 50 years ago? 40 years ago? Fidel likely already got rid of everyone he needed to get rid of.

The death rate in each country will be 1000/1000.

Re:There are few things more annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483428)

Wow, you're incredibly ignorant. People similar to Fidel are more responsible than Bush or other US presidents for the deaths that occur in these wars.

Sure, you could argue and perhaps even win an argument that we should not have gone into Iraq. But who do you blame? The dictator who committed mass murder and countless crimes against humanity, or the guy who was perhaps a bit too trigger happy? I go with the former, simply because if for no other reason, the crimes against humanity are a dang good reason to oust a dictator. You can ignore everything else, and that justifies the whole thing. Will the end justify the means? I don't know, and most people these days will say no, but to say that Bush is the only one responsible for these deaths is just ignorant.

Re:There are few things more annoying (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483380)

I'd love to hear about how Castro hates the internet and considers it to be a series of tubes filled with lies. But using it to keep track of the news in detail across the globe? That's something that many people his age simply cannot or will not do. Stupid facts messing with my preconceptions again...

If Castro was stupid or unable to adapt he'd never been able to take power, much less keep it against constant attempts of the US to oust him. Most people his age are not former victorious guerillas.

Your problem is confusing ability and character.

Posting for Team Stupid (3, Funny)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482600)

Is it possible that Fidel is simply not aware of the state of the country he used to run? Is it possible this has been the case for a long time - possibly even longer than he has been publicly seen to be an invalid?

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482654)

Considering that Fidel was the one who implemented many iron-fisted policies, I find that to be incredibly unlikely. He's mentally well enough to crawl news articles all day and understand them, so I think he's mentally well enough to understand that Cuba doesn't get the same privileges that he does.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482710)

Are you stupid? Of course he's aware of the state of the country he used to run. He's a fucking dictator. Do you think he actually gives a shit about the country he runs? Once a dictator gets into power he does and says what he needs to to stay in power. Period. Part of that is pretending he gives a shit about his citizens so that useful idiots in other countries will drink his KoolAid and support his "revolutionary ideals" even when all he's really doing is oppressing his own people and lining his pockets and those of his cronies with as much cash as possible.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (5, Interesting)

reeley (1894270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482848)

just a slight question. Have you actually been to Cuba, if so, did you go out of the tourist areas and talk to the locals? From your comment, I suspect that you did not. Yes, the country is quite closed and controlled, but it is no where near as bad for the people as outsiders like to make out. There are a great many have nots in the UK where the divide between what you have and what they don't is a great deal greater than it is in cuba. Not saying that everything they do is right, I am just commenting that not everything they do is wrong. Just as a small matter of historical interest, perhaps you could read up on the history of their revolution and how 10 American Billionaires managed 99.8% of the total GDP of cuba, and how the locals starved pre the revolution to line the bank rolls of those 10 Americans. Do you still want to drink Bacardi now?

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482938)

1. I don't drink Bacardi, not because of any Cuban politics, but because I'm not a 16-year-old chav girl in a miniskirt.

2. I know Batistas Cuba wasn't wonderful

3. No I have never been to Cuba.

I am willing to entertain the possibility that Castro might be right about the embargo making Internet access hard to come by in Cuba, and also appreciate that its easy for a regime to start assuming every anti-government blogger is on the CIA payroll when they've had so many genuine covert attacsk from the US government - that doesn't make this kind of social control right.

Who knows, maybe Raul will be able to set that right without giving away any of the gains of the revolution. I'm not holding my breath though; most likely outcome is that Cuba will just end up as the next Haiti.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483288)

Have you actually been to Cuba, if so, did you go out of the tourist areas and talk to the locals?

I have never been to Cuba, but I know that getting out of the tourist areas and talking to the locals is not as easy as you think.

A tourist agent once tried to sell me a trip to Cuba. Among several matters we discussed was transportation. He told me tourists are not allowed to drive cars in Cuba, the only way to rent a car is getting one with a Cuban driver.

There are a great many have nots in the UK where the divide between what you have and what they don't is a great deal greater than it is in Cuba

Citation needed, please. One big problem every time someone tries to paint that rosy picture of a nation with excellent education and health care system and excellent distribution of income is that all those statistics come from the Cuban government itself.

When a politician in the US starts bragging about how good the public schools in his district are, journalists are free to visit those schools and report their findings. That kind of criticism is impossible in a country where all the newspapers are published by the government [pressreference.com] .

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483480)

He told me tourists are not allowed to drive cars in Cuba, the only way to rent a car is getting one with a Cuban driver.

Then he informed you wrong. You have to be 25 to rent a car in Cuba, but there's certainly no problem for a tourist to rent one. It's likely advisable to get a local to drive for you though - it'll keep you from being responsible for traffic violations / accidents / etc... There was a Canadian who was recently in an accident in Cuba and was kept from leaving the country until the investigation was finished up.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483502)

There was a Canadian who was recently in an accident in Cuba and was kept from leaving the country until the investigation was finished up.

<tinfoil hat>Maybe he was talking to the people, the accident was caused by a government agent, the investigation was about how much he had talked to whom.</tinfoil hat>

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (0, Troll)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482922)

Yeah right, I'll bet you anything he's like the stereotypical Fox News viewer, who only looks at and agrees with what he wants to see (and in the name of political impartiality, if you are one of those Fox idiots, yes, there are counterparts to your idiocy on the left). I'll bet he is reading Communist Times Online or other periodicals that reveal the "ugly truths of capitalism" with their investigative journalism. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear old Castro ranting one of these days about the Bilderbergs, or the Illuminati....the secret capitalist organizations that rule the world. Or maybe how AIDS is the fault of the US: I've heard that one from a latino-communist. Oh, look, Fidel has a blog [granma.cu] , I'll look through it and report back if I find any treasures.

He kind of mocks the New York Times for their 'investigative reporting' but really investigative reporting is when the New York Times really shines. There are lots of things to not like about that paper, and it is really going down hill, but it's investigative reporting is top notch when they do it.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482984)

Nah, he just plays starcraft 2 on battle.net all day. I've seen him online as a matter of fact. He ragequit on me the other day when I medivac dropped his base and said 'lol bay of pigs gg'

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483144)

Oh yeah, jackpot, and it's golden [granma.cu] . From the personal blog of Fidel Castro (here it is in the original Spanish [granma.cu] ). Not only is he talking about the Bilderbergs, he's explaining that The Beatles were a Bilderberg plot, used for social control. In fact, all of rock and roll is a plot for social control. It all started with the Nazis. No, I am not joking, he brings up the Nazis.

It's not surprising that Castro believes this stuff, because it's stuff he would do if he were capable. And in fact does do.

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (1)

TheDarkNose (1613701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483442)

So he invented the Beatles. I always wondered...

Re:Posting for Team Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482964)

Is it possible that Fidel is simply not aware of the state of the country he used to run? Is it possible this has been the case for a long time - possibly even longer than he has been publicly seen to be an invalid?

Why because you dont like him or because he is old? Both of those arguments are boring and bring nothing to the conversation other than your preconceived notion of him. I too do not like his views however, I am not stupid enough to think that because he has them he is stupid.

He is right however in that the internet can be used as a weapon. *MANY* tools can. To think otherwise would be to ignore what goes on in the internet. Hell stupid mad up crap flies across the internet. What about 'real' news... People who used to be able to say something to a few dozen people can now say it to millions and find a large audience. People can spread whatever propaganda that comes into their heads. Some of the propaganda on the internet is even self fulfilling.

If there was any group that knew how to use propaganda to say what they wanted and shout down the other group it was a 50's era communist. Castro is of that group. He learned from a freeking jedi master propaganda machine the USSR. In their eyes newspapers and TV were weapons against 'the west'. It is why he sees the internet as another weapon. The idea is control the flow of information and you can get any group to do anything. It does work for awhile. But eventually real information leaks in or someone else puts in another story.

Not surprising (3, Interesting)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482602)

Considering that he maintained power for years by strangling information, that he is a student of this kind of open information is not at all surprising. Know your enemy! He wants others to have it so it might destabilize them, but in Cuba. not so much

5...4...3... (2, Insightful)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482612)

Countdown to another little nudge from Raul on the steps...

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482614)

The sheer irony and wit in this summary is almost unbearable. He advocates the internet and yet is responsible for one of the worst internet policies in the world? OMG LOL.

Just proving out the reality of Communism (4, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482688)

All people are equal, just some are more equal than others!

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482726)

Only "communism"?

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483482)

Only "communism"?

Capitalism makes no pretense about the equality of results, unlike Communism.

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (1)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482768)

That goes for every political system.

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482928)

No it doesn't. Some systems don't even bother to pretend.

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483022)

"Not pretending" is honest at least.

Re:Just proving out the reality of Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483152)

A quote I liked: under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism the opposite happens.

I'm surprised... (1, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482694)

I'm totally surprised that they brought up the oppression of the people of Cuba in this article. Pleasantly so. If they'd have brought up the deaths and forced emigration that have been going on for even longer than Castro has been in power, then they'd really have something.

Regardless, Castro is a scumbag murderer. The sooner he and his family exit power, the better.

Re:I'm surprised... (0, Troll)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482818)

Indeed; despite the unpleasantness of the facts, the reporting is a pleasant surprise than the every-other-word-is-praises reporting on Cuba we've seen for the past decade+. "Free healthcare" my ass; that's somewhat meaningless if most people can't feed their families.

Re:I'm surprised... (5, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482954)

Cuba has many problems but malnutrition doesn't seem to be one of them. According the CIAs own statistics (in their world factbook) Cubans have a similar life expectancy to Americans; this couldn't possibly be true in a nation with system-wide poor nutrition.

Re:I'm surprised... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483344)

They actually have a longer life expectancy than Americans or Canadians now, and similar infant mortality rates to Canada (much lower than the US). They're also tied with Iceland as the only two countries in the world with a 100% literacy rate. While you're at it, check out Cuba's environmental record, which is stellar.

Cuba is an example of a revolution that went right. The only people who lost were Batista and his murderous thugs (who incidentally seized power in a coup in 1952, sparking MANY popular uprisings, including Castro's July 26 Movement) -- They fled the country with as much of the state's coffers as they could carry just before Che took Santa Clara. The only way that Cuba could have done better would have been if the Americans hadn't instituted a 50 year blockade.

Re:I'm surprised... (2, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483522)

The only way that Cuba could have done better would have been if the Americans hadn't instituted a 50 year blockade.

Or if the Soviet Union hadn't collapsed. For ideological reasons the USSR bought sugar from Cuba at well above the market price, and its fall had serious effects on the economy.

Re:I'm surprised... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482956)

At least they're better off now than they were before communism, and no worse than most of their neighboring countries.

Re:I'm surprised... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482836)

Yeah, I can't wait until we get another U.S.-approved dictator in power in Cuba. About the same percentage of the population will be oppressed, but we'll be able to vacation there and people will stop bitching about Castro.

Re:I'm surprised... (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482960)

Yup. People will be as free, wealthy and happy in Cuba as they now are in Haiti. Good times.

Missing tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482720)

"Irony" tag is missing, please correct.

He might want to be more careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482740)

Friending Lindsay Lohan won't help his credibility.

I call shenanigans (1, Troll)

Pomslo (1865906) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482744)

Well, even if he has somehow "healthy" internet habits he is still the old fart that causes suffering in the name of a decades ofd revolution.That, while alive in the poeple mind's is the complete opposite of the current situation.

He is the same old fart that, while praising the freedom that the flow of information the internet allows, keeps the citizens from that very same information with tight censorship and throwing anyone that slightly disagrees with his (self delusional) ways to prison.

He is the same old dictator that wilingly keeps his country adn citizens in a state of poverty by strict regulations,that while suposedly intetnded to bring communism, do instead fatten the pockets of a very select few.

So ,honestly, a retired ,(nearly senile?) dictator, who checks on nearly every way of opression you can put your people through, praising the freedom of the net?

I Call Bullshit

Wait until he gets his hands on WoW.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482766)

Wait until he gets his hands on WoW....

Re:Wait until he gets his hands on WoW.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482910)

No, rumor has it that he's been posting to their forums calling their policies oppressive and dictatorial. In fact, after they announced plans to reveal true identities, a user named Fidel469 posted the comment "NO! THIS SI RIDICULOUS!!! WHAT IS THIS? COMMUNIST CUBA??????"

So... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482796)

how exactly do one "consume" news?

Re:So... (2)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482876)

I would assume that its similar to... how you consumer food when you are hungry,
when you are hungry for knowledge you consume books
when you are hungry for information you could consume the news ?
just a way of saying it in British English, I suppose

Re:So... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482918)

Through osmosis. I've had this power for years, all my professors said I was the best they'd ever seen at this system.

He should get back to the core cigar compentcies (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482798)

Fidel Castro consumes 200 to 300 news items a day on the World Wide Web.

He was much cooler, when he was consuming 200 to 300 cigars a day.

The next report will be that he is living in his mom's basement . . .

meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (5, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482822)

In addition Cuban law bans using the Internet to spread information that is against what the government considers to be the social interest,

Swastikas.

norms of good behavior,

Porn.

the integrity of the people

Terrorism Act 2006.

or national security."

Assange.

Being rich in America is like being rich in Cuba: life's cool. Meanwhile, being poor in America is like being poor in Cuba: life sucks. In the latter case, what differs is the handout you get and who you can get away criticising sufficiently loudly.

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (5, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482882)

Being rich in America is like being rich in Cuba: life's cool. Meanwhile, being poor in America is like being poor in Cuba: life sucks. In the latter case, what differs is the handout you get and who you can get away criticising sufficiently loudly.

Go to work, send your kids to school.
Follow fashion, act normal.
Walk on the pavements, watch T.V.
Save for your old age, obey the law.

Repeat after me: I am free.

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1)

Xarvh (1244438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483116)

Uhm, no.
Being poor in Cuba you get healthcare.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Cuba [wikipedia.org]

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483146)

Yes, which brings to mind what you are actually getting in terms of quality when you go in for, say...a CAT scan.

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1, Troll)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483240)

Ohh, that looks fun! Let me try:

Swastikas

Bunnies.

Porn.

Rainbows!

Terrorism Act 2006.

Lollipops,

Assange.

Richard Simmons!

Wheee!

Just one question: other than the sheer fun of it, why are throwing around random words?

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483318)

Sometimes when you flick a switch near a door, the room gets brighter. What's up with that? Life's full of weird associations, I guess, and sometimes you have to think hard to work out what's going down.

Although my memory's fairly terrible, it's good enough to recall that you've made lots of authoritarian posts implying an affectionate-to-the-point-of-intercourse relationship with your country's government+military+all that stuff people like when they're scared to stand on their own two feet, so I'm going to guess that you're actually being sarcastic rather than dense. But you brought nothing new to the table.

Feel free to try again. Second submissions will have mark scaled to 90%, so you could still achieve a respectable pass. Second fail and you'll be seeing me after class, bring your own cane, you know you like discipline, etc. ;-)

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483366)

The difference is in America, and any true Democracy, if you don't like the government, any of the stuff that you listed, there are ways to change it without a violent revolution. In Cuba, there's no choice.

In Cuba you will get arrested for complaining about what the government does. If you can't see a difference in the personal freedoms of western democracies and Cuba, then you are blind.

Re:meanwhile, in the free capitalist Europe/USA (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483464)

The difference is in America, and any true Democracy,

America's intentionally and overtly not a "true Democracy". This may not be a bad thing.

if you don't like the government, any of the stuff that you listed, there are ways to change it without a violent revolution.

I see. Which ways? Assume that I consider the Republican and Democratic governments to be effectively the same, and try not to give an answer which comes down to, "Persuade over 100,000,000 people."

In Cuba you will get arrested for complaining about what the government does.

Idle complaining is of no benefit, and Americans essentially get the privilege of time-wasting. Well, they do today, what with the lack of HUAC.

To make a difference, you need substance and medium to your complaints to get people to listen. The warrant for your arrest will be your reward.

Here are some links (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482892)

He's already [wikipedia.org] on [wikipedia.org] the [wikipedia.org] Internet [wikipedia.org] .

severe government restrictions and censorship? (1)

Dr.Altaica (200819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482900)

> In addition Cuban law bans using the Internet to
> spread information that is against what the
> government considers to be the social interest,

You mean "public health"?

> norms of good behavior,

You mean "public morals"?

> the integrity of the people

You mean "public order" (ordre public)?

> or national security."

WTF "National security"?

Wait I think I heard that befor...

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
PART III Article 12 Paragraph 3.
The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

Re:severe government restrictions and censorship? (2, Funny)

Gerald (9696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483026)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
PART III Article 12 Paragraph 3.
The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

If you don't like your HOA then don't buy in that neighborhood.

Fidel Castro consumes 200 to 300 news items a day (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483064)

I've always thought there should be more real news. So that's where it's going.

2600 on Cuba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483112)

It's from 2006, so it's somewhat old, but it's an interesting read nonetheless: http://www.2600.com/cuba/2006-05-06.html
The only website they found blocked was of a propaganda radio station owned by the US (Radio Marti). Still, the internet is/was too costly for most of the population to use.

In Soviet Cuba, Internet owns you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483134)

Couldn't resist - yes, I am a tard.

Free WiFi at Havanna University. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483162)

I find it kind of strange that so many claim not to have Internet Access in Cuba.

Last time I was there, I had my laptop with me. I sat outside the physics building at the University of Havanna, and used the free Wifi. No problems connecting to the internet. Tad annoying that everything had to go through proxy-servers, but with the extremely limited bandwidth, not very strange that they want caching.

Didn't find a single censored website. https worked wonderfully well too.

So that means... (4, Funny)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483184)

He's probably reading this?
Hi from Canada!
Send some cigars!

Re:So that means... (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483320)

Hola amigo! Que tal?

Espero usted surfe(?) todos articulos con RSS feeds, senor.

/spanglish

Anonymous Coward (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483262)

Fidel. Is that you?

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483360)

Don't mock me, american pig-dog! Just go buy another ipod and listen to your rock and roll.

Internet penetration and the embargo (5, Insightful)

ciguanabo (763734) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483358)

I was always critical of the cuban government because of their internet censorship and regulation. However, in a recent interview [jornada.unam.mx] Fidel Castro gives an explanation about why the restrictions are necessary. Basically, because of the US embargo, Cuba cannot buy the materials required for a broadband connection (any company that sells hardware to Cuba would be fined). The internet that is available at the moment has to go through a satellite instead of through a fibre optic backbone. This makes the connection much more expensive and slower. According to Castro, it is due to this technical restrictions that the government has to prioritise who can access the internet and who cannot.

I am not entirely convinced by this explanation, although maybe someone who knows more about the costs and speed of these types of connections can say whether it makes sense. Ideally, any connection that is available should be accessible to anyone at, for example, libraries. I'm not sure whether this is possible in Cuba right now (anyone that can describe the current situation in Cuba?).

The article also mentions that Cuba is building a submarine connection through Venezuela, which is aimed at solving the "internet shortage".

He does have a point, let's not ad-hominem it... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483376)

Internet distribution *does* help punch through the dominant media organizations' control (whether news media or recorded-music media)

El Generalismo responds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483596)

Greetings /.ers, this is Generalismo Fidel Castro responding.

Yes, I read many news articles every day, including "Slastdict", News for Dictators.
In Soviet Cuba, news reads you. Ha ha, a little revolutionary humor.

In People's Glorious Cuba everything is perfect. Please send food. And medicine. And more Baywatch reruns.

your pal,
Fidel

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