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Cuban Government Toughens Internet Restrictions

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the progressive-goal-oriented-worker's-paradise dept.

Censorship 53

edibleplastic writes "The BBC is reporting that the Cuban government is cutting off much of its citizens' access to the internet. 'The move clamps down on the thousands of Cubans who illegally access the internet from their homes. From now on, it will not be possible to dial up the main government server from most domestic phone lines. Only lines which are paid for in dollars will have direct access. These are usually restricted to foreigners. Amnesty International says this is an attempt to shield Cubans from alternative views.'" This is a good time to revisit two earlier stories about Cuba's attitude toward modern communications.

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53 comments

YAY! FP! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8079832)

First Pro-Fidel Castro post!

Go uncle Fidel! My girlfriend's crotch looks just like his face!

FPis 4suX05, SP is TEH SPOKE; (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8079901)

jeez, tell your girlfriend to take the cigar out of there.

(hello everyone except Cuba!)

Communists suck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8079897)

I'm more worried [blogspot.com] about the ones right here in our country than the ones on that island, though.

I just had a massive dump... now I feel great! (-1, Troll)

Mod Me God (686647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080276)

Yesterday (Saturday) was mainly spent watching Startrek episodes I've downloaded by WinMX and Bitorrent, a few Voyager but mainly Enterprise, it is so much better than TOS and TNG. While doing this I consumer a large amount of alchool, around 5 litres of Budweiser (Budvar) in total. I also had an avocado and a pork pie and a scotch egg, which were nice. But around 9pm I wanted something hearty, so popped off down the road to Khans (an Indian restaurant in Queensway of variable quality) and got myself a tandorri chicked, chicken jalfrezi, chicken korma (hey, I fancied some chicken), pilau rice and a naan. Boy was that Jalfrezi hot! Pureed green chillis! No problems until this morning when I had an urge to crap. Went to the toilet, it wasn't too solid, but just like it stung on the way it stung on the way out. The stinging went away after I had wiped my ass and had a shower. Now I feel grrrrrrreat! Like a huge load of... uh.... crap.... has been ejected from me. Just what I needed.

This just in (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8079943)

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RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8079974)

HEY, some journalist put hard work into writing this article, and this issue is important, so the least you could do is read it. It says:

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-1, Troll on U.S.B. (-1, Troll)

leoaugust (665240) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080224)

BBC NEWS | Americas | USB law tightens internet access [bbc.co.uk]

Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Washington
January 24, 2004

The U.S.B. Government is tightening its control over internet access.

A new law coming into force on Saturday makes it impossible for many Americans to dial up the internet from their home telephone lines.

The move has been criticised by the human rights group Amnesty International.

United States of Bush (U.S.B.) says that, given its limited resources and massive deficit, it needs to ensure that the internet is primarily used to prevent terrosist and hostile activity.

Corporate access only

The move clamps down on the thousands of Americal who legally access the internet from their homes.

From now on, it will not be possible to dial up the main government server from most domestic phone lines.

Only lines which are paid for by Corporations who can install pre-emptive software on the servers will have direct access. These are usually restricted to Corporate Officials and Government Officials.

Amnesty International says this is an attempt to shield American from alternative views from the rest of the world.

All news media in U.S.B. is rigorously corporate-controlled and supportive of President Bush's Administration.

'For the common good'

But the U.S.B. government has reacted angrily to suggestions that the change amounts to censorship.

It says it is doing nothing more than preventing insecure internet connections being hijacked by people borrowing, or selling each other chatter and NBCW including WMD information.

The internet should be for the common good, it says, pointing out that it will still be available in goverment monitored areas and workplaces.

Dissident groups have expressed doubt that the authorities here can control the internet as much as they might wish.

It is true that whenever a new law comes into effect here, Americans, esp. the U.S.A - who are famed for their inventiveness - tend to find a way around it.

what's cuba like? (3, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080226)

A friend of mine was in Cuba a few years ago, and he says it's a great place. A brilliant medical system which is government funded, the streets are absolutely safe at night, and the people are friendly and inviting (twice he was invited in for dinner at the houses of two families he met while there).

And then you hear about Cubans trying to get to the US on crappy rafts etc.

Maybe some want to leave because they see American TV shows or movies and they think the whole continent is safe, nice, accepting, etc. Maybe if the Cuban govt. let the population see what the rest of the world is really like, they'd be less enthusiastic to leave Cuba.

I'm not suggesting that Cuba is heaven, but from only looking at TV it would be easy for Cubans to have a romantic grass-is-much-greener vision of what the US is like.

Re:what's cuba like? (2, Insightful)

FePe (720693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080250)

Maybe some want to leave because they see American TV shows or movies and they think the whole continent is safe, nice, accepting, etc. Maybe if the Cuban govt. let the population see what the rest of the world is really like, they'd be less enthusiastic to leave Cuba.
I agree. But the Internet is available in schools and workplaces, from the article:
The internet should be for the common good, it says, pointing out that it will still be available in schools and workplaces.
Then all surfing, downloading etc. will be done in the school? Or do they also keep a constant eye on the students and workers there? Restriction may be a good thing, but they are not thinking realisticly about how much the media is influencing other non-american countries.

Re:what's cuba like? (3, Interesting)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080424)

Cuba is a great place IMO. I spent two weeks there on vacation, and had a blast. The thing I liked about Cuba over, say.. Mexico (a similar experience), is that I was exposed to and absorbed a lot more of the culture and country. It was really great just to walk around a city and see people go about their daily lives. Just soak up the place.
The funny thing is though, the general vibe I got from the two weeks I spent there was that people really just didn't care. They didn't care about America, they didn't care what Castro was doing. Not that they're apathetic... I mean, it was all very relaxed. Sure, their country was communist. Who cares? They get free healthcare, free education, free food (limited, of course). Yay Castro! Yeah, he's a control freak. Big deal. They get everything they need, so whats the problem? The Cubans pretty much just live their lives, regardless of politics. I really liked that. Its kind of humbling to see when you're used to reading about a new lawsuit every three days. Honestly, we could learn a lot from their attitudes and lifestyle. :)

Re:what's cuba like? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080521)

They get free healthcare, free education, free food (limited, of course). Yay Castro! Yeah, he's a control freak. Big deal. They get everything they need, so whats the problem? The Cubans pretty much just live their lives, regardless of politics.

It may be good that people are able to get basic living necessities for free, but why does a tremendously oppressive society have to go along with it? In Cuba there is no freedom of speech or the press, no freedom to move within and leave the country, no freedom of religion, no voice in government.

These are some of the most basic human rights. It doesn't matter whether people care to exercise their rights or not. They are rights, not privileges, so the option to use them should not be taken away. A government which restricts these rights is oppressive.

Re:what's cuba like? (3, Insightful)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080705)

>> The funny thing is though, the general vibe I got from the two weeks I spent there was that people really just didn't care.

That's what I would say describes the majority of Americans. Americans don't want to be bothered. The typical says I don't care about ozone, children in sweatshops making my disney t-shirts, special interest bombs going off in cities where I can't pronounce the names. Bush is cool. He wants to stop baseball players from using steroids. And I like MARS--let's go to MARS!

So, arguably, the average American, Cuban, whoever, may equally not care as their rights are taken away. I guess what marks Americans is that Americans feel they have to impose their values on others... and they have a long history of doing so. Manefist Destiny spirit.

I mean, if Fidel were to suddenly wage an all out war against a country who didn't attack Cuba because Fidel wanted better control of its resources and was afraid, wetting his pants with fear... would Cubans care then? Would they?

Re:what's cuba like? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080799)

So, arguably, the average American, Cuban, whoever, may equally not care as their rights are taken away. I guess what marks Americans is that Americans feel they have to impose their values on others... and they have a long history of doing so

No, what marks is Americans is that Americans feel that the people should have their own values. This is part of why the U.S. is so anti-imperialist. Cuba to this day lives under a Soviet colonial system that was imposed by the now-departed USSR. The Cubans are not allowed to have their own values.

I mean, if Fidel were to suddenly wage an all out war against a country who didn't attack Cuba because Fidel wanted better control of its resources and was afraid, wetting his pants with fear... would Cubans care then? Would they?

Castro did this several times. Angola was fighting for independence, but Castro sent troops to put them down. He also engaged war against Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Re:what's cuba like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098429)

You're completely clueless, man. Angola was not "fighting for independence". It was an already independent country. The legitimate Angolan government asked for Cuban help to fight the terrorists from UNITA, which were suported by the USA. The war in Angola stopped about 2 years ago, when the government killed UNITA's leader, Jonas Savimbi, a typical terrorist leader, who had been devastating Angola for 30 years.
Now Angola, one of the richest countries in the World in natural resources, is completely devastated and its people starving.lo

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 10 years ago | (#8110666)

Angola wasnt fiogjting for any kind of independance. It was alredy an independant socialist country fighting US backed UNITA thugs. It was only logical for Cubans to help their comrades.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081290)

I mean, if Fidel were to suddenly wage an all out war against a country who didn't attack Cuba because Fidel wanted better control of its resources and was afraid, wetting his pants with fear... would Cubans care then? Would they?

He did. As a Soviet client, Cuba provided large numbers of mercenaries to conflicts in southern Africa, mostly Angola. It was a very, very unpopular project with the Cuban public.

Cuba vs Angola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8083340)

Don't forget that the Angola struggle was one of Africa's last fights for independence against a European colonial empire. Castro enslaved his people to go fight and kill Africans who were fighting for independence.

Re:Cuba vs Angola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8111114)

This is bullshit. By the time Cuban soldiers went to Angola, it was already an independent country. The Angolan government asked Castro for help against the UNITA terrorists who devastated the whole country (with USA support, by the way).

Learn some history, people!

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081321)

My slaves get free everything, too, but they keep singing those sly songs about freedom while they're working in the fields. Let my people go, phht! Well, Moses ain't gonna give them the Internet, and neither am I!

(I will now be modded down by communists - and slavery will still exist on this planet)

Give me a fucking break (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8083624)

You think Cuba's a great place. Of course, you can leave it anytime you want.

They can't.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Cruxus (657818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8085286)

The socialist aspects of the Cuban state are a definite plus, but the Cuban government overall is extraordinarily anti-liberal: There is no reason why a democratic society can't have a better social welfare system as exists in Western Europe.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080722)

And then you hear about Cubans trying to get to the US on crappy rafts etc.

Maybe some want to leave because they see American TV shows or movies and they think the whole continent is safe, nice, accepting, etc. Maybe if the Cuban govt. let the population see what the rest of the world is really like, they'd be less enthusiastic to leave Cuba.

You know, there's a hell of a lot of Cuban refugees living in America, why don't you ask them for their opinion?

Cuba = Fascist Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080839)

You could ask the Cubans. Oh wait. They'll get killed or imprisoned for speaking your mind.

Castro is very well loved there: it is the law.

Re:what's cuba like? (3, Insightful)

Pave Low (566880) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080935)

A friend of mine was in Cuba a few years ago, and he says it's a great place.

Of course foreigners are treated great there; that's their meal ticket. Tourism and prostitution are the only real growth industries in Cuba.

A brilliant medical system which is government funded, the streets are absolutely safe at night,

This sounds exactly like the old "Mussolini made the trains run on time" excuse. This sure must make up for the lack of political and economic freedoms.

Maybe if the Cuban govt. let the population see what the rest of the world is really like they'd be less enthusiastic to leave Cuba.

Or maybe if they did, more people would demand change in Cuba and threaten Castro's 50 year iron-fisted rule.

Cuba? US? Not so different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8108762)

Eh, "growth" is a capitalist concept. In a command economy like Cuba's, there's really no purpose in capitalistic "growth" (which is sort of a placebo if you objectively analyze free market economies featuring capitalistic power relations).

Cuba's economy is stagnant mostly because there's no self-management of workers and the real incentives the economies provides are mostly in terms of managers maintaining their positions. Interestingly, the US economy also suffers from such problems.

Suffice to say, you find issues in terms of actual progess, yes, (meaning, any number of things, but including: efficacy in allocation and distribution, diversity of outcomes, pleasant attitudes towards work, remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, and so on) but such issues also plague the United States.

The US simply masks these issues because of the feedback mechanism (the overaching "motivator" IOW) is this thing called "wealth accrual." Since, wealth is still accruing ;) things seem OK... but this has little tangible or progessive effect on the day to day lives of average lower to middle class workers (who are, of course, the vast, vast majority of American citizens and landed immigrants).

Anyway, as you can see, there's really only a minute substantive difference between the malaise-inducing stagnation of the US vs. that of Cuba, economically speaking.

The real solutions inevitably involve of promoting classlessness, solidarity, efficiency and self-management on democratic, participatory terms. Sad to say, Mr. Conservative News & Views, this is unlikely to include something resembling laissez-faire free-market capitalism ;) (It's also sad to point out to Castro, since it's not likely to emerge in a Soviet-inspired economy, either).

As for an iron-fisted rule, well... yes, probably. This is the result of established heirarchies. From that perspective, the US has also been under the iron fisted rule of a few powerful property owners, as well. I mean, in Cuba, if you don't work or get AIDS, well... they jail or maybe execute you, if they don't like you. In the US, well, you starve to death or can't pay your HMO, so, it's pretty much jail in low-income project housing or de facto execution anyway.

It's really just a pot kettle black situation... maybe a bit worse on the American side, because, at least in Cuba there's the evil dictator you can topple. In America, these things are just the side-effects of an automated machine that hums along of its own volition.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

gustgr (695173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080972)

A friend of mine was in Cuba a few years ago, and he says it's a great place.

Cuba really is a great place but we have to remember that there are two Cuba's: one for the people and one for the tourists.

Cuba indeed have the best medical system and assistance in the world and an astonishing education system as well, of course there are restrictions and some citizens don't like to live with those restrictions, but I see the benefits as the 'payment' for those restrictions. Don't we (who live in the fully capitalist world) have restrictions too in the name of our safety and of that we think worth ?

Cuban hell-care system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8083374)

Cuba indeed have the best medical system and assistance in the world and an astonishing education system as well

The education system is pretty bad, actually: there is much censorship of ideas, and you only learn what the government wants you to. Literacy is high, yes: but it was high before the Soviet conquest. In fact, it has gone down a little since Cuban independence ended in the early 1960s.

The health care system is also Stalinist. All a government-controlled monopoly. HIV patients are treated as criminals. If you have the wrong political views, you are denied care. Health care is too important to leave to government. Remember, the Castro government actually proposed putting gays in death camps.

Don't we (who live in the fully capitalist world) have restrictions too in the name of our safety and of that we think worth ?

In the free world, we just have a lot less restrictions, overall, than in the (former) Soviet bloc. Another important point is that the Cuban people have never had a say in this: the Castro regime was forced on them by the USSR, and Castro has executed many thousands of Cubans for the problem of daring to speak out. Add onto this the death tolls of his Sandininsta and FMLN wars, and you have someone who has executed a couple hundred thousand civilians in his reign of terror and invasions.

Remember, also, that there is no "fully capitalist world". Even such places as the United States have parts of the economy where the elites control matters (socialism). While the people control most of the economy (i.e. capitalism) it is not ALL of the economy.

Re:what's cuba like? (2, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081225)

Cuba IS a great place ... to visit.

The weather's perfect. The environment's gorgeous. The fact that buildings are ready to collapse all around you is simply a frisson that makes life in Cuba more dramatic.

The people are friendly and inviting. The women are beautiful and, well, inviting.

But there's a reason they're inviting - the average salary is 200 pesos a month, which is about US$20. About half of this goes to a ration book of basic supplies. The other half can buy, well, about what $10 would bring in the US.

The housing is beautiful. It is also in disasterous shape. About 100 buildings in Central Havana collapse every year. My web page, The Fabulous Ruins of Cuba [amazing.com] shows the heartbreaking details. All the buildings you see there are within a block or two of the ocean. They would be worth millions here in California; they're not even worth routine maintenance in Cuba.

The health service is rationed - it works well if you have connections, badly if you don't.

Cuba has enough money to buy shiny new $100,000 busses for tourists. But the busses Cubans ride are crude creations, packed to the gills with people. Cubans are not allowed in the tourist hotels, they are not allowed on the shiny tour busses, the Cuban government does its best to make sure Cubans and tourists don't mix.

Which is too bad, because the best thing about Cuba is the wonderful people who live there. I made good friends in Cuba. I thought it was a fantastic place.

But don't think the Communist government is some mildly extreme version of Canada. Policia were everywhere, and my Cuban girl was clearly scared of them. She was scared of being heard by the waiters in any resturant I visited. But she was lovely and charming and made my trip magical.

She could have gotten a three year sentence for endangering my morals, such as they were. There are accounts of tourists who get close to Cuban women and the Cuban women are then sent to jail. Nothing you can do about it.

However, to address the parent poster's point directly, Cubans are definitely influenced by American TV, specifically Univision. A few people have satellite TV, and you can see the awe in people's eyes at all the strange stuff available over on the other side. Cars! Paper towels! And Univision soap operas ... let's just say they don't reflect American reality unless you are A Jerrold Perenchio, billionnaire founder of Univision.

I thought of taking my Cuban girl back to the US eventually. But as her eyes popped open while seeing Univision, I realized she wouldn't be able to stand my relatively humble home and ancient Mercedes. She wanted it all. Maybe someday she'll get it ...

The year after my trip, Castro cracked down on dissidents and sentenced them to jail terms ranging from 18 to 28 years. I loved Cuba and really wanted to return to see my Cuban friends. But I didn't want to support Castro, so I decided, with more than a couple of tears in my eyes, not to return.

For now.

D

PS Concerning the point of the actual article, I never saw anyone with Internet (or even a computer) at home. All the Internet access I saw was Internet cafes. The government runs one in the Capitolio that I visited that Cubans can use (most of them are in tourist hotels where Cubans are not allowed). I found service friendly, but Internet access sluggish. My girl did not find the Internet easy to use, probably because she had never seen a computer before.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081660)

In all honesty... would you rather trust yourself to the "brilliant" Cuban medical system or to the United States medical system? I guess it would depend on the kind of work being done.

The one thing that sticks with me about government-funded medical systems is in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games (I think) where Cathy Ryan complains that in the UK (yeah, good old modern UK) two doctors went out for lunch while leaving a patient anesthezised. (That wasn't spelled right, was it?) Now, this may be fiction, but I believe it has some basis in fact, and while all medical systems probably have their dirty little secrets, I think I'd rather trust American for-profit ones:
They'll at least cure you, even if they start playing insurance games and charging you an arm and a leg for services...

Re:what's cuba like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8081831)

two doctors went out for lunch while leaving a patient anesthezised

I'm not a doctor, let alone an anesthesiologist, but I know one thing. Almost all general anesthesia is lethal unless administered in carefully controlled doses. It doesn't take much beyond "asleep" to get to "heart stops". So, ignoring the fact that the surgeon(s) doing this would be risking their careers and would have to be morally bankrupt, they'd also have to convince the anesthesiologist to go along with it. And this would almost certainly require that fellow to sit around for that hour monitoring the patient. Call me strange, but that sesms to stretch belief beyond reason. Of course, this is Tom Clancy, so we've already left the bounds of believability long ago.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

node3667 (301695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8083074)

Wooohooo............ man, you should talk more with cuban people... yes, they have free education, free medical system, and they push sport a lot over there. that's the good news. the bad news is : they don't earn enough money to do anything. like eating, like moving around, owning a car, buying some clothes, having your own appartement... people over there earn little money. (10 to 30 US$/month) i knew a .net programmer which earns 10$US/month. any restaurant is 5$/person. any cloth is 4$. say 6$ for pants. (2 weeks salary !). food is not cheap. transportation is not cheap. there is no new appartemennts, every body leave under the same roof. from your granma (;-) to your kids, to your SO. major pita. oh, and public transportation is horrible. like, you have to get up 1 hour earlier to be sure to be at work on time. and of course every day, you're cramed into some extra-old bus. you don't own anything in your life. housing is owned by the state, cars are for rich people.

Re:what's cuba like? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 10 years ago | (#8110703)

Ths all very nice but do you think overthrowing Castro will improve their standard of living? I think not, they just loose wgatever good things they do have and end up like other pro us carribean regimes. Better to live in Cuba than in Haiti. I think Casto is a wise man and a true patriot and cann see what happened to former Soviet republics that embraced US values and followed with IMF advice.

Why they need dollars (3, Interesting)

Mod Me God (686647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080293)

They have to connect to the internetional telecoms network, and need to pay for that. The Cuban Peso is not a freely exchnged currency, telcos won't take it as payment, they need dollars, so Cuba has to get them from somewhere. The internet is not very restricted if they pay in USD. I am sure this is not the only reason, but it is a major one, perhaps Amnesty International could get off the soap box and offer to subsidise bandwidth costs if they feel so strongly... the fact is most citizens of developing countries do not have access to the internet. The Soviet Union broke up without its citizens using the internet, China has embraced capitalism not due to the internet, the Berlin Wall fell in no part due to the internet. Infact as the internet has become so wide spread it has had little value-added effect other communication didn't already have in developing countries.

Re:Why they need dollars (2, Informative)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081072)

The Soviet Union broke up without its citizens using the internet, China has embraced capitalism not due to the internet, the Berlin Wall fell in no part due to the internet. Infact as the internet has become so wide spread it has had little value-added effect other communication didn't already have in developing countries.

Just because certain events occurred without certain "amenities" in the past does not mean that those "amenities" would not have helped.
Just because some people cannot find a better use for the interned than looking at pr0n does not mean that others cannot use the internet to better their societies. While some people spend their time on Slashdot posting about what other people could live without, greater people are using the internet to attempt to bring about social change, and are getting arrested for it [rsf.org]. If oppressive governments fear that the Internet could weaken their grip on their population enough that they are taking steps to restrict, who are you to say differently. Sure, social change can occur without the Internet, but it can occur much faster and better with it.
By the way, China has far from "embraced" capitalism.

Re:Why they need dollars (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8081469)

You are nothing more than a Silicon Valley idealist 'the internet can solve it' fanboy. Real hard work, not electronic masturbation is what will help the world.

Re:Why they need dollars (1)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8081345)

The Soviet Union broke up in part because of the power of fax machines to break through and allow people nationwide to communicate. It's wrong to assume technology didn't have a leading role in overthrowing the tyrrany there.

Hey Mod Me God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8083384)

Reply as a coward and you have the opinion of a coward.

Reply as a god, and you have the opinion of someone with delusions of grandeur.

Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080478)

Stop and consider the discussion, debate, and even trolling that happens just on this site would be considered dangerous in Cuba. Your free speach is a rare and unique thing in the world.

Not only has Cuba banned Internet access to individuals, but the story say it's $260 dollars a month for an internet subscription. Annual saleries average $240 dollars. It sounds to me like the Cuban dictatorship has been unsuccessful in it's filtering of "enemy" web content. So they just make it too expensive to read.

There's a reason people are willing to float to the US on unsafe boats and rafts. Life sucks in Cuba. People disappear every day never to be seen again. The standard of living is terrible. School is nothing more than communist indoctrination.

The world will be a better place once Castro kicks off.

Janet Reno was a damn fool. I can't imagine the Cuban exile community in southern Florida ever forgivive Reno for deporting Elian Gonzolas.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080500)

Cuba has a better health service and under 18 education system than the US. Cuban communist doctrine is far less than American capitalist doctrine is in the US (what's up with making kids swear against the flag??? nothing other than rampant nationalism), and even in Cuba. People flee on boats because they _don't_ know what life is like in the US, the US drip feeds the world TV shows like Firends, Will and Grace, life looks so cozy. The reality for Hispanic immigrants is life on the poverty line in a dangerous slum.

I worked in Cuba for 2 years, people are poor, but life does not suck, quality of life is good, better than most Latin American countries and certainly better than poor immigrants can expect in the US.

It's a lot worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080820)

It is not better than most Latin American countries. In fact, Cuba is the worst one.

Cuba has a better health service and under 18 education system than the US.

It has worse health care. The health care is controlled by the dictator, and the people have no say. Having HIV is a criminal offense. People flee Cuba because it is a prison. They know where they are coming from, and they know exactly where they are going.

Re:Sad. (0)

paiute (550198) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087282)

On the other hand, the return of Elian made it easier for Cornelia Streeter to get her two children back from Cuba.

the path to Freedom (3, Insightful)

jmlyle (512574) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080710)

There are two ways to free the Cuban people.

1) Declare that they have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Invade. Cause massive damage and destruction and death. Set up a puppet government. Leave. Watch as the government fails within 50 years, just like every single time we do this.

2) Stop the trade restrictions. Let captitalism eat them away from the inside. Maybe fund a show on the WB about a wacky Cuban group of friends.

Re:the path to Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080749)

1) Declare that they have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Invade. Cause massive damage and destruction and death. Set up a puppet government. Leave. Watch as the government fails within 50 years, just like every single time we do this.

Does not happen, typically. Look at Germany and Japan. WW2 has been over for 50 years.

By the way, the WMD reference to Iraq is wrong, as the U.S. stopped Saddam's massive damage/destruction/death, and the country has started to rebuild.

Keep trade restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080777)

2) Stop the trade restrictions. Let captitalism eat them away from the inside

The Cuban government is a fascist, totalitarian system where poverty is mandated by law. Anything more that is earned, the government takes away. Any increased prosperity ends up in Castro's hands (look at the hotel workers who pay 93% of their money in taxes to Castro). Then he goes and kills people, like when he invaded Africa to prop up the Angolan colonial regime in the 1980s, and when his Sandinista war against Nicaragua killed tens of thousands.

There can't be prosperity in Cuba until it abandons socialism.

Re:Keep trade restrictions (1)

Narchie Troll (581273) | more than 10 years ago | (#8085777)

"and when his Sandinista war against Nicaragua killed tens of thousands."

And capitalist America had nothing to do with this war, right?
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