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Cuba Turns On Submarine Internet Cable

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the under-the-sea dept.

Networking 132

angry tapir writes "A change in Internet traffic patterns over the past week suggests that Cuba may have turned on a fiber-optic submarine cable that links it to the global Internet via Venezuela. Routing analyst firm Renesys noticed that the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica began routing Internet traffic to Cuba's state telecommunications company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA). The Internet traffic is flowing with significantly lower latencies than before, indicating the connection is not solely using the three satellite providers that Cuba has relied on in the past for connectivity."

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132 comments

VIVA LAS VEGAS !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646031)

Oh, wait !! LAS REVOLUCION !!

Re:VIVA LAS VEGAS !! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646101)

"Las" is plural. I think you meant "La revolución".

Re:VIVA LAS VEGAS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647783)

Woosh.....

Well (3, Funny)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646037)

I guess it's time for a Cuba Libre. Cheers.

Re:Well (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646759)

So you drink to the completion of "Cuba Fibre"?

Capitalism for All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646039)

That will accelerate the infusion of naked capitalism into that little island.

I'm glad for their sailors (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646051)

To finally have internet access on their submarines must be a godsend. I wonder how they avoid getting the cable tangled as the maneuver though.

Re:I'm glad for their sailors (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646761)

To finally have internet access on their submarines must be a godsend. I wonder how they avoid getting the cable tangled as the maneuver though.

They've got a larger one of these: http://www.staples.com/GE-Phone-Cord-Detangler-Black/product_716304 [staples.com]

No no no.... (1)

raehl (609729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648497)

"cable" is figurative here.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a submarine full of tapes.

Sure, the bandwidth of a surface vessel would be even more, but submarine transport is harder to intercept.

Just ask (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646055)

Just ask them if it is active. Don't speculate. They have no reason to hide it, and every reason to boast that their internet connections just got better.

The author seems to have mistaken Cuba for North Korea.

Re:Just ask (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646273)

Just ask them if it is active. Don't speculate

Assuming their Venezuelan peer didn't connect to them via satellite and does now connect via fiber, it should be simple to log into your nearest BGP speaking router and/or check a looking glass web interface for the cuban ISP AS number and see if it now has a path via the fiber instead of / in addition to the path via the existing satellite providers.

That's how you "don't speculate". Is there a BGP path over that fiber or not?

Of course if the path won't change if all that changes is layer 1/layer 2 from satellite to fiber.

This is assuming Cuba has enough traffic to warrant being a "real" ISP with BGP peers and full routes. I suspect they do?

Re:Just ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646549)

They may have valid reasons to hide it. While they may not be North Korea, they are not a shining example of freedom either.

Re:Just ask (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647221)

Give it a few years -- eventually the US will introduce freedom via air strikes and occupation.

Re:Just ask (0)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648827)

There's a bunch of terrorists in Miami who have been waiting for half a century. They want their haciendas back and the almost-slave peones.

Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646057)

Use this as a chance to end the embargo against Cuba. It has been 50 years, let's move on. If we can now trade with Burma and Vietnam, then why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646121)

1)To get votes from the Cuban community from Miami.
2)To protect US corn farmers and corn syrup from imports of cane sugar from Cuba.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646197)

1)To get votes from the Cuban community from Miami.

US politicians are scared of the Miami Cubans. They are more feared than the Mafia at its height. If I was POTUS for a day I would round-up all the Cubans in Miami and deliver them to the Cuban Government with the label 'terrorist'.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646269)

If I was POTUS for a day I would round-up all the Cubans in Miami and deliver them to the Cuban Government with the label 'terrorist'

Good job you're not going to be, you horrendous racist.

Cubans aren't a race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42649153)

You horrendous idiot.

Re:Cubans aren't a race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42649811)

Having checked the OED definitions of racism and race, I believe you are wrong.

Re:Good (2)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646391)

1)To get votes from the Cuban community from Miami.

US politicians are scared of the Miami Cubans. They are more feared than the Mafia at its height. If I was POTUS for a day I would round-up all the Cubans in Miami and deliver them to the Cuban Government with the label 'terrorist'.

Hey, at least send out those that actually are terrorists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Posada_Carriles [wikipedia.org]

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646267)

3) To protect certain TV channels from the influx of good music

Re:Good (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648251)

I've also heard some things about the Hawaiian tourist lobby having some push here too. Does anyone know if that's still true?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646301)

why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

Because they agreed to allow the USSR to put NUCLEAR fucking MISSILES on their island, aimed at us, and it's basically the same government in power today.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646485)

why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

Because they agreed to allow the USSR to put NUCLEAR fucking MISSILES on their island, aimed at us, and it's basically the same government in power today.

Even the USSR was trading with just about anyone in Western-Europe, despite either their own or US Nukes aimed at them from there. And even Turkey didn't get the Cold War shoulder, despite the stationing of US nukes there that was the reason for stationing nukes in Cuba in the first place (which BTW where "coincidently" removed just a few months after the end of the Cuba crisis).

Not to mention that the embargo started before the nukes and was the actual reason that Cuba became depended on the USSR in the first place.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Max_W (812974) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646597)

It was widely noticed in Europe that as soon as goods and tourists stop crossing boarders - tanks and soldiers start to cross instead.

It is simple - one does not shoot his/her customers.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646523)

So the USSR is on the trade-embargoes list too? (Er... no... it's not).

The US itself put nuclear weapons in the EU in case of the USSR attacking, and although they are an "ally" to the EU, I don't see any of the former Russian states initiating embargoes with the EU countries or the US, now or in the past?

And where embargoes exist, or have existed since the Cold War, they are usually aimed purely at the thing you want to embargo (i.e. nuclear weapons, like the UK embargoed India). A blanket trade embargo is someone throwing their toys out of the pram, not a sensible real-world solution, and is usually only temporary until a government settles into power.

And the US-Cuba embargo was started in 1960. Most of the legislators who decided on the embargo aren't even around any more. My entire life was lived in that time, with nearly two decades to spare. Wars were fought and won.

The US is a playground bully that embargoes countries that don't play by its terms. It has little or no real-world relevance to their security, or anything else.

Cuba are about as much a threat to the US as Argentina is to UK. And, hell, technically we went to war with Argentina for an invasion of UK-owned islands in the intervening decades, fought it, declared peace and several decades later are being cautious about a potential re-occurrence. But we still don't even trade-embargo them.

And, technically, the embargo has NEVER been about that. It was about human rights, trade debts, and the nationalisation of US citizens' property in the country. The Missile Crisis came years later, and was resolved within days.

Let's punish countries for things they did up to 60+ years ago with their own allies that actually hurt no-one, and punish them even when the problem goes away. Because there'd be an AWFUL lot of countries up shit creek if we did that.

And, the thing is, nobody has ANY idea whose has missiles and where they could be aimed at nowadays. Nobody. Hell, that was the whole "WMD" farce in a nutshell - a false positive. And most modern weapons could take out anyone, anywhere, without warning. By the standards applied, the US should either a) invade Cuba or b) trade-embargo every country in the world. The threat was always the USSR, never Cuba itself.

Notice that no other countries embargo Cuba. Not even the US allies. That says a lot. And no country in the world has had an embargo in place for as long.

Re:Good (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646653)

the USSR is gone, and we just unrestricted trade relations with Russia, and there are no restritctions with most other countries they gave missles too that where pointed at us.

Re:Good (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646973)

Well, when the USSR revives itself from the grave, or the Cubans come up with nuclear missiles themselves, I'll consider that cause for concern. For much the same reason, I don't see much point in having US troops standing ready to bravely defend West Germany from Soviet expansionism.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42650443)

Because they agreed to allow the USSR to put NUCLEAR fucking MISSILES on their island, aimed at us, and it's basically the same government in power today.

This is 2013. The cold war is over. Hawaii is a magnet for Japanese tourists and nobody hates the Germans. Grow up.

Re:Good (0)

Ateocinico (32734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646399)

It's a funny embargo. Cuba buys the USA food whenever they have some cash. An the Americans sell them eagerly whatever they can... By the way, the rest of the world have normal commercial relations with Cuba. But the Cuban regime speaks as if they where under a blockade like in the missiles crisis, because it's good propaganda. Specially with those ignorant campus leftist.

Re:Good (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646663)

this.....

they can trade with canada, and especially mexico next door, along with china, russia, and europe.

Re:Good (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648921)

Actually no, they can't. Because of the Helms/Burton act any company that trades with Cuba cannot trade with the Untied States. Any Mexican or Canadian company which sells to Cuba is prohibited access to the US market. Which market are they going to go after, do you think?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646435)

Use this as a chance to end the embargo against Cuba.

http://wh.gov/PeRE [wh.gov]

Re:Good (0)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646831)

Because they still haven't compensated the Americans whose property they stole through nationalization?

Re:Good (2)

bjourne (1034822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647325)

They did offer compensation. The previous owners refused to accept it because of duress from Uncle Sam.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647495)

You make me lulz. Are you also a proponent of reparations for slaves and giving the native Americans their land back, haha

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42648299)

You must be talking of those famous, successful American free entrepreneurs from the Legitimate Bussinessmen's Social Club such as Meyer Lansky [wikipedia.org] and Lucky Luciano [wikipedia.org] .

Did you know that part of that Godfather film [wikipedia.org] was based on a true story?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulgencio_Batista#Relationship_with_organized_crime [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Good (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649443)

Because they still haven't compensated the Americans whose property they stole through nationalization?

You may be a shitbag imperialistic apologist for colonialism, but at least you're a funny one.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647161)

Because a couple of rich families well connected to the U.S. government and financial institutions lost quite a bit on their investments in that country (tobacco, sugar, casino & resort property) after the Cuban Revolution occured. (Turns out the multimillionaires and billionaires with the lobbying clout can be some rather vindictive assholes.) No love for Castro, but he did kick them to the curb for seeing them for what they are, and this is where the issues began.

Then of course there are the Cuban refugees in Miami. Used for making the claims against Cuba on their behalf, but not really that important in the big scheme of things. (It's also likely they'd have more influence on their home country if we had better connections economically and otherwise. Which is kind of funny when you look at what the U.S. is actually doing.)

What, you thought us regular folks had much say in this?

Re:Good (1)

Diamon (13013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647445)

Yep, drop the embargo, pull back the curtain on the Great & Powerful Oz. Take away the Cuban government's ability to blame poverty on the US, make them deal with their problems or face the repercussions. If we haven't gotten things straightened out when it's time for Raúl Castro's presidency to come to a close, we set ourselves up for another potential 50+ years of unfriendly relations with our closest neighbor.

Re:Good (1)

Diamon (13013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647493)

Yeah, I meant *one of our* closest, not closest. Obviously Mexico and Canada are closer.

Re:Embargo is Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42648079)

Use this as a chance to end the embargo against Cuba. It has been 50 years, let's move on. If we can now trade with Burma and Vietnam, then why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

End the Embargo?

It will only end when a Castro (Fidel or his brother Raul) is no longer the dictator of Cuba. Fidel took over Cuba in 1959.

And what's the deal with socialist family dynasty dictatorships?

- Cuba - Catros
- North Korea - Kims
- Syria - Assad

Re:Embargo is Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42649201)

What about the US ones?

Bush & Kennedy

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42648431)

We're still fucking with Cuba because they're communists. America has a long history of mucking about in countries that have leaders that actually try to help their citizens and aren't corporate lackeys.

If you want to know more, I suggest reading some of Noam Chomsky's work. There's a nice little Wikipedia article on American imperialism, although not much information in there. For those that think that's all in the past, a quick web search comes up with http://www.zompist.com/latam.html, a timeline of our mucking about.

I hate to sound like a conspiracy nut, but it really does look like the USA hates actual democracy and views real actual socialism as a threat.

Re:Good (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648877)

Cuba doesn't have any appreciable amount of oil, like Burma does, and won't operate sweatshops like Vietnam does.

Turn on? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646067)

You don't 'turn on' a cable. How about 'start using'?

Not sure that this is either news for geeks, or news that matters, unless you live in Cuba.

Re:Turn on? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646097)

You don't turn on a TV, you just supply electrical potential to certain components. And you don't start a car, you just start using certain electrical pathways that start using certain valves and motors to supply fuel, oxygen, and a periodic ignition source.

'Turn on' is a valid way to describe going online. From a systems and communications point of view, it isn't that much different from turning on a lightbulb (it just has a lot more components).

Re:Turn on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646179)

Your pedantism is turning me on.

Re:Turn on? (3, Funny)

InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646099)

You don't 'turn on' a cable.

you've never had your cable turned on?

Re:Turn on? (1)

n6kuy (172098) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648271)

No, he's right.

While a cable certainly can carry porn, it not really capable of getting excited by it.

Re:Turn on? (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646361)

You don't 'turn on' a cable. How about 'start using'?

Try harder

Layer 1 - plug the damn thing in, "interface wtf0 enter no shut enter". Remove the testing loopback plugs, hopefully from each end. Unplug the OTDR and plug in the GBIC. Whatever.

Layer 2 - is kinda implementation dependent.

Layer 3 - "router bgp wtf enter neighbor wtf remote-as wtf" or if its already up, change your AS path regexes or route-maps to actually allow traffic to flow. Or change your prepending so instead of prepending your AS 50 times to force all traffic off the fiber, prepend 50 times to force all traffic off the satellite unless the fiber is down. 50 is a wee bit excessive of course.

I'm sure there's some collection of "humorous stupid networking tricks" out there, like if in a fit of insanity you're redistributing RIPv1 into BGP you could have some random internal machine start announcing your networks, or you could "down" a AS by intentionally flapping the interface using some automated process and then getting it route dampened and then activating the link means stopping the automated screwing it up process. It'll probably take more stupid networking tricks to get a +5 funny mod but I'm trying...

No in the biz I don't think "turn on" or "start using" was common terminology.

Re:Turn on? (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646547)

"You don't 'turn on' a cable"

No, but you can trip over it
I have done that many times, I must tidy up my office.

BTW the rest of the world welcomes Cuba to the 20th century

Re:Turn on? (4, Insightful)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646719)

Oddly enough, a lot of ISP's in North America actually monitor the traffic flowing to/from embargoed or troubled nations. Not necessarily deep inspection, but they do count the source/destination IP addresses and record the daily volumes.
Now, we need to consider traffic flowing out of Venezuela as another route to Cuba. It's fairly important if you peer with Telefonica directly, or if your job is to monitor this stuff.

Re:Turn on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647107)

And there i thought Venezuela's traffic was already monitored every since the Rodeo Clown introduced the Patriot Act...

Stuxnet Target (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646081)

The US enabled it so we can get our Stuxnet on

Venezuela's Internet (1)

Skatox (1109939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646131)

And the sh177y thing of this situation is that Venezuela's Internet sucks! the average of connection is under 1Mbps

Re:Venezuela's Internet (2)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646211)

Fair enough; still a LOT better than what you typically experience in Cuba.

Anchor damage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646165)

Who is running the betting pool on how long it will be before it is "accidentally" cut by some ship's anchor dragging across it?

Traffic analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646175)

Bitcoin and silkroad/tor for cigars

Re:Traffic analysis (2)

Sam Andreas (894779) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646231)

Or get them from Canada. Or Mexico. Or any of your neighbours who don't have a ridiculous embargo against Cuba. :)

Re:Traffic analysis (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648305)

Or get a Dominican, Honduran, or Nicaraguan cigar that is just as good. Aficionado's can argue this point. I smoke about 5 a year...I can't tell the difference and most other people probably can't either.

Re:Traffic analysis (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649495)

My only point of reference is that the stench from some of them is more foul than others. Apparently those are the cheap ones. My understanding is that if a non-smoker were to actually eat a cigar there is sufficient nicotine in one to kill them, that's always been reason enough for me to steer clear.

Cable Only Being Used For Downstream Traffic (5, Informative)

cheese-cube (910830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646207)

The most interesting thing which the summary skipped over is from the Renesys article which states that apparently Cuba is only using the new fibre cable for downstream traffic and that upstream traffic is still going out via their satellite links.

Re:Cable Only Being Used For Downstream Traffic (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647913)

Well duh. For that you'd need two tubes^H^H^H^H^Hcables.

Re:Cable Only Being Used For Downstream Traffic (1)

funkboy (71672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647917)

probably because they haven't installed DPI boxes to monitor the new link, and they'd likely need bigger ones given the bandwidth.

But they likely only want to see the messages going out anyway...

Will Cuba Ever Learn?! (3, Funny)

mooboy (191903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646251)

First they turn on their capitalist landowners and now they have turned on their Submarine Internet Cable! Don't you know what's good for you, Cuba?

Re:Will Cuba Ever Learn?! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646749)

That was my first impression of the phrase "turned on", in this context. I was like.. Did Cuba start "attacking" their Internet?

Interesting Enigma (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646263)

I'm not sure what or how much difference this cable will make for the immediate future.

Cuba is a really interesting enigma. The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement. But, the reality is that ALL of Cuba's woes are the failure of the Cuban government.

Sure, the U.S. and some of its allies own't (aren't allowed) to trade with Cuba, but the vast majority of the world can and will trade with Cuba. A few actually do trade. Countries like Canada, the E.U., Japan, Australia, Russia, India, China, most Latin American countries... They all willingly trade with Cuba. But, they require Cuba to pay them for goods and that is where Cuba suffers. Due to mismanagement by the Cuban government and their ideology, they have never had a strong enough economy nor enough money to buy the things that they need or should have as a modern country.

We are always shown the crumbling buildings and the 1950s era cars on the streets of Havana. But, there are a fair few brand new Peugots, Renaults, Toyotas and more driving around on Cuba's roads. But, they are all being driven by the extremely wealthy, government officials or tourists. There are fabulous opulent and modern resorts in Cuba. There are citizens with expensive yachts around Havana. The media never shows this and the Cuban government keeps it on the DL so that the local population doesn't get upset about it, but its all there.

Recently, there have been reports of food shortages in Cuba. Why? Cuba is a Caribbean island that is extremely fertile. They could, and in the past have been able to feed themselves. Once upon a time Cuba exported food, as well as other resources. Sure, the U.S. market isn't open to them, but all the rest of the world is. Yet they fail so miserably that they are now struggling to feed the populace? That's gross mismanagement. That's Fidel's fault. Raul may or may not be turning to a better course, but for the past 50 years, the management has been the cause of Cuba's problems.

All of Cuba's woes are caused by their government's poor management and failed ideology.

Re:Interesting Enigma (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646299)

I've been there and it didnt look very woeful to me.

A lot of the ancient 1950s gas guzzlers have been replaced. People everwhere on the island were wearing new clothes. New roads were under construction. Pretty much like any 3rd world country that is modernising.

There didnt seem to be any food shortage that I could see.

Although I didnt see it first hand, the health care is legendary.

Re:Interesting Enigma (3, Interesting)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646871)

It's funny; everyone says their health care is legendary, but no one has actually seen it. Oh yes, some foreigners have seen the facilities made available to them-- but these aren't the ones used by Cuban citizens.

If Cuban health care is so great, why do humanitarian organizations and relatives have to send in medicines from the USA all the time?

Re:Interesting Enigma (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647205)

My mother made several trips there in the 1990's, spending most of her time well outside of Havana, in private homes, and was not surrounded by government minders or anything like that.

There was a significant crisis after the collapse of the USSR, because before 1989 the Cuban economy had relied on trading sugar to the USSR in exchange for almost everything else including food. There were some food shortages - nothing like, say, Ethiopia's famines, but people were sometimes going hungry. The Cuban government responded to this by converting more of their farming towards food and loosening the restrictions on private sales of food (prior to that, the only legal way to get food was to buy it from the government-run stores). It still hasn't fully recovered, but it's definitely gotten better in the food department. Raul Castro is also significantly more pragmatic about such things than Fidel Castro was - Fidel was focused on pure ideological communism, Raul seems fine with limited market economies so long as nobody is getting overly rich or poor.

Health care was definitely readily available and quite innovative. Their model starts with the neighborhood doctor, who is not only the primary care physician but also acts as a public health advocate for residents. Doctors also were growing herb gardens and using them for natural remedies when the pills weren't available (e.g. camomile instead of sleeping pills). On the flip side, when pills were available, she noticed that people would frequently take very large doses, far more than an American would, all at once. Because of the difficulty in treating illness, Cuban medicine has always been focused on preventative care, and it seems to mostly work. The people she encountered were generally of sound health.

And as a sibling poster points out, your average Haitian or Dominican would see Cuba as a paradise by comparison. You would probably also be a lot happier living in Cuba than living in the worst part of Detroit.

Re:Interesting Enigma (3, Interesting)

PhilJC (928205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648001)

Having spent three weeks in Cuba, one week in a 5* hotel for my brothers’ wedding and the other two weeks trekking round the island on my own I thought I'd add some comments from my experiences there:

Yes it is a poor country but as far as quality of life goes I have to say I’ve seen a lot worse (India, Thailand, even rural Mexico to name but a few... Don’t even get me started on Africa). The people I met were friendly and largely happy with what they had.. I say largely because I did hear complaints but these were mostly along the lines of “I want a better TV.. my car needs new parts.. etc. Nothing you wouldn’t hear from a more wealthy first worlder.

Whilst travelling I tripped and cut my leg in Cauto Cristo. This is not a tourist destination and I have to say the medical attention I received was excellent and, best of all, free.

I didn’t see any food shortages – in fact people were continuously inviting me round for dinner (and only once was I asked to contribute and it was only for the price of ingredients rather than an attempt to con the foreign devil)

With regard to the “opulent” resorts mentioned by a previous poster I have to say they were great. But hardly “opulent” when compared to a Las Vegas hotel. Tourism is a major source of income for the country so why wouldn’t they spend money making it a place people want to visit? These resorts are hardly hidden from the populace either and instead offer job opportunities that everyone I spoke with were pleased to have.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649209)

It must be really hard form someone from a first world country, who has to stump up for private medical insurance, to believe that a third-world country, who offers medical services for free, has better healthcare.

Yet all the statistics and all the first hand reports show that it does.

If Cuban health care is so great, why do humanitarian organizations and relatives have to send in medicines from the USA all the time?

Cuba BUYS it's medicines from the USA. They received aid after the odd hurricane, but equally they give aid to other countries that have been hit by humanitarian disasters - they were the first to aid Haiti for example. And offered medical aid to the USA during Hurricane Katrina - 1500 doctors - though I think the USA was too proud to accept it.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42650429)

I think the word is 'arrogant', rather than 'proud'. If we were proud of our health care system we would have sent 1500 doctors ourselves, as well as food, water, medical supplies, fuel, equipment and engineers. Instead the National Guard formed a cordon around New Orleans and kept out supplies that were were not routed through Halliburton first. A friend's husband drove down a tanker of diesel fuel he was going to donate to one of the hospitals to keep their generators going, but was turned back. He was distressed because the hospital eventually ran out of fuel and he felt that people probably died because of it.

Re:Interesting Enigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647219)

I'm glad to hear that you had a good time while you were in Cuba and that things looked pretty good. If you re-read my post, you will see where I stated that modern products and conveniences were present for the wealthy few and the tourists, like you.

The fact that YOU didn't see any food shortages doesn't really mean anything at all, does it? There have been numerous food shortages over the past few years. Perhaps, you should read a newspaper once in a while, or do some research of your own. [lmgtfy.com] Just because your tour guide didn't show it to you doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

The healthcare is indeed legendary. [merriam-webster.com] However, I remain unconvinced that this single attribute makes up for fifty years of poverty and oppression for the populace.

The most interesting thing about Cuba is that presently, the vast majority of the population has known nothing else but Castro rule. Everyone 50 years old or younger has never known anything but Castro rule. Almost everyone is fiercely nationalistic, naturally. But, they are also completely indoctrinated into the Castro/Cuban way. Yet, if you get them aside and get them to open up, individuals will pine about change, travel and "escape". They don't want to leave the only home that they have ever known, but they know that they are severely lacking. Of course, it is easy to blame the U.S. and the "blockade" when that is the only reason for all that's bad that you've heard since birth.

Viva Fidel! /s

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

PhilJC (928205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648133)

I don't blame Americans for Cuba's woes. Its just a shame that vocal minority have coloured the perception of Cuba to such an extent that the USA cannot (politically) relax their position and assist with Cubas development. Its true there is trade between other countries and Cuba but the problem is proximity - they're too poor to import goods across the atlantic but I'm sure costs would be a lot lower if they only had to hop across with supplies from Florida.

For a predominantly Christian country you would have thought that America would have heard of "Love thy neighbour".

Re:Interesting Enigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42648249)

You've been brainwashed by the American system and are now spreading their propaganda for them.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42650117)

Talk to pre-Fidel Cubanos for long and you'll hear **WHY** they're not pining about returning to the "good old days" of the dictators and haciendas. Their children and grandchildren have heard what life was like for the vast majority of people in those days, and it differs slightly from Gloria Estefan's comment that "before Castro everyone could afford a car".

Of course they want to "escape", they hear on Radio Marti that everyone who comes to the US is guaranteed a high-paying job, a nice apartment and a car. Really, that's the kind of propaganda we broadcast which has caused thousands of people to die attempting to cross the straits.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647685)

Although I didnt see it first hand, the health care is legendary.

One of the reasons for this is that Cuba has for years told everybody how "great" their health care is. It's just human nature that if you keep telling everyone who will listen over and over again that you are really good at something, they will eventually believe it. I'm sure that Cuban doctors do get good quality training, but I don't read about them being in the forefront of any new techniques and I do know that the US embargo has a big impact on their medical supplies. I think they do have competent doctors who make the best of the situation they're in, but I've also read about how various doctors have started driving taxis because they could make more money that way. Cuba treats their doctors just the same as the old Soviet Union did - they are respected members of their society, but they don't have a particularly good standard of living.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647809)

So you don't believe the statistics that their life expectancy [wikipedia.org] exceeds ours? Because I think that's a pretty good bottom-line measure. (Although our embargo against allowing Hardee's to operate there must help quite a bit too).

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42650279)

Cuba **EXPORTS** doctors. A neighbor's daughter in Peru studied medicine in Cuba because all her parents had to do was to scrape up plane fare and her hosing, food and studies were free. For her end of the bargain she committed to work a certain number of years (five, I think) in a poor area in her home country where there was little or no existing health care. For that matter, YOUR kids could do the same, except the AMA refuses to accept accreditation from Cuba. (They will accept accreditation from the American University of Granada though, a diploma mill for rich kids who prefer to surf rather than study.) A couple thousand Venezuelans have graduated from Cuban medical schools and are providing health care in regions that have never seen a nurse before, much less a doctor.

Are you sure? Re:Interesting Enigma (2)

Stone316 (629009) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649617)

I went to a resort in Cayo Coco last year. The resort was nice and modern. Took a day trip into Ciego de Avila and it was a different story. The center of the city looks fine but you go a few blocks out of the way and it goes downhill pretty fast. In general everything looked pretty run down, especially on the drive in.

I didn't see as many 1950's cars as I thought I would. I saw plenty of small motor bikes, horses, bikes, etc. Saw newer cars at the resort but don't recall seeing many in the city. I'm sure it would have stood out.

In general it appeared that the vast majority of people lived in or close to poverty. That was reinforced by the many talks we had with Hotel staff and our tour guides. But who knows,they could have been playing us for tips. ;) They generally seem to be a very happy bunch of people tho.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646491)

The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement.

I don't think its as simple as "become a lapdog of the USA and you'll be rich". Look at their neighbor Haiti.

Also I have long been interested in visiting Cuba, mostly because I live in a non-free country that won't allow me to visit (and whats forbidden is always really good, right?). Anyway a gross and inaccurate summary of Cuban Ag, post 1990s, is they make a hell of a lot more money exporting tobacco and citrus and cassava while spending a small amount of export money importing some rice. I mean they could via central control force all the tobacco / grapefruit / cassava farmers to grow rice instead, and then they'd quite easily "feed themselves", although they'd be much poorer overall. So why not do the world trade thing and get rich? Its kinda like how both MN and FL are better off when MN grows wheat and imports oranges as long as FL grows oranges and imports wheat. If you really want to see a place that is screwed with nearly 100% food imports, think Vegas.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646579)

If you really want to see a place that is screwed with nearly 100% food imports, think Vegas.

Funny you mention Vegas, being the other Mafia controlled city besides "free" Havana.

Re:Interesting Enigma (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647529)

I don't think its as simple as "become a lapdog of the USA and you'll be rich". Look at their neighbor Haiti.

I never even remotely suggested that this was the case.

I stated that the difficulties experienced by the nation and the people of Cuba are all brought about by the Castro regime's mismanagement. Cuba's current state has nothing to do with the U.S. Cuba can easily trade with the rest of the world, but they can barely afford to do so because of Castro mismanagement and failed ideology.

Cuba could be a highly prosperous and successful nation without ever dealing with the U.S., but that scenario would require excellent management and a different government ideology. Cuba's failure is entirely Cuba's own doing despite some U.S. politicians desire to claim credit for it.

Haiti is an excellent example supporting my assertion. One island separate only by language and politics. One side, The Dominican Republic, is doing quite well. The other side, Haiti, is one of the poorest cesspools of humanity on the planet, an abysmal failure that freely trades with the U.S. Most of their problems, like Cuba's, are self-inflicted and have nothing to do with U.S. trade.

Boring Ignoramus (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649361)

The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement. But, the reality is that ALL of Cuba's woes are the failure of the Cuban government.

The stupid, it hurts. Ask anyone from any country that's been under an economic boycott or embargo about it's effects on the economy and the goods available. Palestinians who can't even get wheelchairs in Gaza, parents who lost kids in Iraq due to the lack of medicine, which is now being done a second time in Iran. For an example outside of southwest Asia, try asking someone from South Africa when that country was being boycotted for Apartheid.

The rest of your post is similar first world arrogance. As if there isn't hunger and mismanagement in the United States.

You Choose To Be Ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42649613)

The stupid, it hurts. Ask anyone from any country that's been under an economic boycott or embargo about it's effects on the economy and the goods available. Palestinians who can't even get wheelchairs in Gaza, parents who lost kids in Iraq due to the lack of medicine, which is now being done a second time in Iran.

The examples that you cite are countries or regions that are under United Nations sanctions (large blocs of nations) or physical blockades. Cuba is under neither circumstance. In fact the U.N. has repeatedly denounced the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Cuba faces only an economic embargo by the United States. Few if any other countries honor the embargo. Cuba can freely trade with most of the world at large including the numerous major nations that were cited by the OP as trading partners with Cuba.

Perhaps you could see a Cuban doctor for relief from your pain causing stupid. I doubt that arrogant first-worlders will be willing to help willfully ignorant, butt hurt, blowhards such as yourself.

"Submarine cable"? (1)

beef3k (551086) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646371)

Interesting concept. Or maybe it's just a subsea cable.

Re:"Submarine cable"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42646945)

I guess if it is under the water it is sub-marine, but I doubt anyone in the US would term it as such.

Re:"Submarine cable"? (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646981)

The industry term for cable laid on the sea floor really is "Submarine Cable."

Re:"Submarine cable"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42647697)

Or perhaps using the word submarine [etymonline.com] as a noun is the interesting concept.

submarine (adj.)
        1640s, from sub- + marine (adj.). The noun meaning "submarine boat" is from 1899. The short form sub is first recorded 1917. Submarine sandwich (1955) so called from the shape of the roll.

Irony (2)

Alioth (221270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646509)

Apropos of nothing, but I always find it a bit ironic that supposedly free US citizens are barred by their own government from travelling to Cuba and can get into a lot of trouble for doing so.

Re:Irony (2)

Nexus7 (2919) | about a year and a half ago | (#42646595)

Especially when they can visit North Korea/Missile-Mart (Eric Schmidt and Bill Richardson).

Venezuela (5, Interesting)

Gocho (16619) | about a year and a half ago | (#42647303)

To all of you who think Cuba is "modernizing" on its own, I remind you that Venezuela is sending over 100,000 barrels of oil on a daily basis which the Castros sell to other countries at current market prices. Venezuela became, for Cuba, what the USSR used to be. This is why many venezuelans think that their (our) country is being controlled politically by the Castros in Chavez' absence so that Cuba never loses that lifeline that, if it were to be gone tomorrow, it will send their country to another "periodo especial"

Re:Venezuela (2)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649267)

This is why many venezuelans think that their (our) country is being controlled politically by the Castros in Chavez

Right, in the same way the United States is "controlled" by miniscule foreign aid donations that make up a percentage of a fraction of a sliver of it's GDP. You know.....paranoid right wing Alex Jones bullshit.

Re:Venezuela (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42649539)

It's not a gift. It's not aid. It's called trade.

In return for Venezuelan oil, Cuba is sending approximately 30,000 to 50,000 technical personnel to Venezuela, including physicians, sport coaches, teachers, and arts instructors who offer social services, often in poverty-stricken regions. Under the programme Convenio de AtenciÃn a Pacientes implemented in 2000, Venezuela send patients and their relatives for medical treatment in Cuba where the Government of Venezuela pays the transportation costs, and Cuba bears all other expenses.[6]
In April 2005, the two countries signed an agreement to increase the number of healthcare workers in Venezuela to 30,000 and initiated health programs which included establishment of 1,000 free medical centers, training of 50,000 medical personnel, and surgical treatment for approximately 100,000 Venezuelans in Cuba. Cuba also offered to train an additional 40,000 Venezuelan physicians. Meanwhile the oil shipment to Cuba is increased to 90,000 barrels (14,000 m3) per day.[17] In 2005 alone, 50,000 Venezuelans went to Cuba for free eye treatment.[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba [wikipedia.org] â"Venezuela_relations

Chavez himself is being treated in Cuba for his Cancer, just as so many other Venezuelans are.

Re:Venezuela (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42650317)

I'd like to see the source for the supposed reselling. If you say 'Univision' you'll get laughed off the Internet.

DATA in the DEEPS, an artistic interlude (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42648717)

Cue the music.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaqTVVq-vZ4 [youtube.com]

[pause for music to begin]
OK, here we go.

The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar---
Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep,
Or the great grey level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.

Here in the womb of the world---here on the tie-ribs of earth
Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat---
Warning, sorrow and gain, salutation and mirth---
For a Power troubles the Still that has neither voice nor feet.

They have wakened the timeless Things; they have killed their father Time
Joining hands in the gloom, a league from the last of the sun.
Hush! Men talk to-day o'er the waste of the ultimate slime,
And a new Word runs between: whispering, 'Let us be one!'

~Runyard Kipling, 'Deep Sea Cables'

This artistic interlude brought to you by Interwoven Socks. We now rejoin your jolly Slashdot discussion about Cuba and stuff, already in progress.

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