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The Cuban Memory Stick Underground

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the digital-samizdat dept.

Censorship 427

circletimessquare writes "The NyTimes has an aticle describing how students and others in Cuba have taken to passing around media on memory sticks, as this is the only way they can get around state-controlled media. Also driving this phenomenon is the fact that there are so few places to get on the Internet. In Old Havana there is only one Internet cafe; getting online there for an hour costs 1/3 of the average Cuban's monthly wages. Local entrepreneurs get the memory sticks from European friends, since they are scarce to find in Cuba through normal channels, and expensive."

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Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Internet (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666894)

Not bad bandwidth, but the lag time can be a bitch.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22666942)

Sandlenet. The Cuban answer to sneakernet.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22666964)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org] I think this is better and more subtle if they really want the Internet.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (5, Funny)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667198)

are you kidding, with 55% packet loss, and 6165731.1 ms lag over 3 miles... i think the little thumb drive method is way easier. not to mention getting carrier pigeons to cross a couple hundred miles of ocean doesn't work very well either. plus carrier pigeons are really bandwidth restricted, they can at most carry .5 ounces of microfilm which then requires a microfilm reader... thumb drives just work in any usb enabled pc, even ones running linux, and you can get a whole month of blog sites, interesting news etc all in one package with a thumb drive. if they're relatives have the cash they can even send feature length films on thumb drives (i've seen 8 GB modules, in divx/xvid format that's a lot of movie)

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (2, Funny)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667600)

Insert Monty Python and the Holy Grail coconut-laden swallow jokes HERE.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (5, Funny)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667826)

..so would a hawk or eagle in the mix qualify as a BITM (Bird In The Middle) attack, or DoP (Denial of Pigeon) attack?

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667036)

Wow, and I thought back when I was playing Quake MY lag was bad!

At least in cuba you don't get slashdotted...

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (4, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667120)

Wow, and I thought back when I was playing Quake MY lag was bad!
Actually, I believe that there was an attempt to port Quake [wikipedia.org] so that it's playable via Sneakernet.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667768)

Actually, I believe that there was an attempt to port Quake [wikipedia.org] so that it's playable via Sneakernet.
Maybe for a short-range, medium-latency sneakernet. For the networking stats of this sneakernet, you might need a different variant [wikipedia.org] .

Still, this brings up an interesting idea for a project: construct a network where multiple packets are carried in bursts on physically delivered storage media (such as a USB drive) where you can only retrieve those packets addressed to you when it arrives and not monitor the others. Obviously encryption would be required, but design it for reasonable packaging and retrieval from the thumb drive. Anyone could add packets to the media after retrieving their own. Basically, formalize a community sneakernet. Best if it can be made compatible with a private LAN of, say, an apartment building that has no direct connection to the Internet.

You have 26 days left to get the RFC in by April 1.

Not to say that I think it is entirely a joke. This could be useful when we discover we cannot trust the common carriers any more.

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (3, Funny)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667722)

in soviet cuba they slashdot YOU!

no?

Re:Handing off thumb drives - The new Cuban Intern (4, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667914)

I'm impressed. I would expect them to be handing off 8" floppies.

-jcr

I see... (5, Funny)

Aegis Runestone (1248876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666914)

I see that your memory stick is as big as mine.

sneakernet (3, Informative)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666928)

Great example of the sneakernet in action. Quick RIAA, ban shoes! :-)

This is really smart. Maybe the college kids here in the US could learn a thing or two from this. Why provoke the beast when nobody has to know about your trading?

(I'm not advocating copyright infringement, just pointing out how silly attacks on internet users are)

Re:sneakernet (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667018)

Sounds like an opportunity for propagandizing. Take a few thousand cheap USB keys, fill them with american media, put them in a water tight enclosure and drop them off outside cuban waters.

Re:sneakernet (2, Funny)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667108)

American media? With the garbage we produce here, this would likely end up backfiring.

Re:sneakernet (2, Informative)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667814)

Sounds like an opportunity for propagandizing. Take a few thousand cheap USB keys, fill them with american media, put them in a water tight enclosure and drop them off outside cuban waters.
Actually, toss them in the Windward Passage off the northwest tip of Haiti. Current there tends to loop clockwise around Cuba. Cylindrical containers might be more likely to be urged to the inside of the loop.

RIAA just goes after lowest common demoninator (1)

adam (1231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667148)

Maybe the college kids here in the US could learn a thing or two from this. Why provoke the beast when nobody has to know about your trading?
Who says this isn't already widely taking place? Private DC [wikipedia.org] hubs come to mind. Additionally, I can assure you there are many private FTP servers, sitting on fat pipes, maintained and expanded (content-wise) by groups of like-minded individuals. I am speaking from past experience in this case, and knowing human nature.. if some of my nerd friends did this in college, then many others are doing the same currently. The RIAA just goes after the lowest common demoninator, which in many cases means people sitting on common P2P apps, sharing the latest crappy music/films.

It's sort of like any other enforcement.. the coke dealer on the corner is easy to bust, but the guy who is moving kilos of product to the hedgefund managers in the downtown highrise? Well, he's a lot more under the radar.

Re:RIAA just goes after lowest common demoninator (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667264)

But why not just copy hard drives? With 500 GB for $100, that's a heck of a lot of music. Even movies if you're willing to go MP4. And the transfer speed once going is pretty darned fast.

Re:RIAA just goes after lowest common demoninator (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667400)

But why not just copy hard drives? With 500 GB for $100, that's a heck of a lot of music.
That's what we did back in college. 5 or 6 of us that were all active in collecting large sets of large files would each bring a couple of drives to one of our houses, set up a couple of boxes for copying, and share 100's of GB of data in a matter of hours. Of course, that was before DVD-burners and thumb drives were accessible to college students so who knows what the popular methods are these days...

Hey wait - Anyone know what the popular methods are these days? I've been out of the loop for a while.

Re:RIAA just goes after lowest common demoninator (2, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667420)

1) they are harder to hide(bigger)
2) that's 100$ in the US, not how much it is in Cuba

Re:RIAA just goes after lowest common demoninator (1)

Smackheid (1217632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667510)

But why not just copy hard drives

Most of the big private trading groups do it this way, although burned DVDs are cheaper and easier to mail. Mind you, this was an mp3 trading group I was part of. For movies, HDs might make more sense.

Re:sneakernet (1)

lhaeh (463179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667290)

Personally, I've always been a fan of mesh networking to distribute files anonymously. It's nice and fast, capacity is as big as the drives on the network, and all you need is a spare wi-fi card with the right software. The problem with it these days is that people simply don't have them set up. It looks as if they will become popular in portable devices first, with some limited functionality already here. If I could get new songs, which I had previously picked out, automatically added to my PMP just by going for a ride in the subway, then that would be pretty cool.

Re:sneakernet (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667336)

I'm only in my early 20s and we had people doing that at University anyway, but with HDDs. They'd give a HDD to one guy, who'd give it to another, who'd give it to another, who'd give it back and then each of the guys in the group could share their music/movies without the hassle of downloading them (which was ridiculously fast on the Uni network anyway).

(I'm also not advocating copyright infringement, just pointing out a method that friends of mine were using a whole half decade ago for mass transfer)

Image in my head (1)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666932)

I have an image in my head of the stereotypical people who pass around guitars and sell them with cocaine hidden within the instruments. I wonder if the gov will start cracking down on them like they do with drug dealers...

Re:Image in my head (5, Funny)

swb311 (1165753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666962)

Who cares, I'm going to go home and look inside all of my old guitars.

Re:Image in my head (1)

74nova (737399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666984)

bit-sniffing dogs?

Re:Image in my head (4, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667972)

Dude, those bits are medicinal.

Interesting (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666972)

I had read about stuff like this before, but never really seen anything in the mainstream about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakernet [wikipedia.org]

Re:Interesting (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667106)

I had read about stuff like this before, but never really seen anything in the mainstream about it.
Isn't that the point?

Re:Interesting (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667240)

Well, it was very common some years ago to run around with floppy disks instead of networking. was kinda scary. we also used gloomy beepy sounds to get into the internet.

Seriously: What we now find like a living fossil, was also pretty common in the east-block of europe until the very late 80's, they were carrying disks around between C64 computers - since access to newer hardware was hard, and expensive for most companies.
so basically "ethernet" was a guy in the basement.

it all changed with the fall of communism. well not in cuba.
i dont think it's because of communism itself, it could have been different, if there would have been computer development in the russian influenced countries, too. in a way "internet" is also a very good tool for propaganda...

gladly, we are free of this. okay, but now i have to go, my deathclock is running, my date of death coming nearer and nearer, and i haven't found all my classmates yet...

Re:Interesting (2, Funny)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667708)

Don't copy that floppy.

Bandwidth (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666986)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a pre-revolutionary automobile loaded with thumb drives!

Buttload of bandwidth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667940)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a pre-revolutionary automobile loaded with thumb drives!

Ummm, you do know how they smuggle thumb drives into Cuba, don't you.
Ewwwwww, that's right. Else they'd be easily found and confiscated at customs.

Is that a cigar in your pocket (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22666988)

or did you just get a new batch of porn?

think about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667006)

a/s/l kind of chat over this network. so romantic..

Want to bring down the Cuban government? (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667010)

Then the US should drop their trade sanctions, and station ships off the Cuban coast, or possibly blimps flying over Cuba, with *huge* wireless network systems on. Basically, turn a ship into one giant floating wireless AP, with a satellite connection to the Internet. Then give all the people USB wireless adaptors.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667138)

> blimps flying over Cuba

A new life awaits you in the off-shore colonies. A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667344)

I love that movie...just watched the Final Cut version last night.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667140)

Um, stationing ships off of a country's coast without their permission is generally considered a hostile act. I'm not sure how that got modded as interesting. "Then give all the people wireless USB adapters." All of them? Really? Where to even begin explaining the idiocy of that idea... So in your mind free internet isn't just an American right, but a basic human right?

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667724)

Um, stationing ships off of a country's coast without their permission is generally considered a hostile act.

And placing a trade embargo on a country for nearly 50 years means they want to be friends?

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667926)

*shrug* they did it during the cuban missile crisis and nothing happened - there was the means for Cuba to take retaliatory action then as well.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667218)

What good is free Internet if you don't have a computer? I heard somewhere that it would take an average Cuban about 5 months' worth of salary to afford a $100 OLPC

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667462)

What good is free Internet if you don't have a computer? I heard somewhere that it would take an average Cuban about 5 months' worth of salary to afford a $100 OLPC

Or even a little more. TFA says that "the state-owned cafe charges a third of the average Cuban's monthly salary -- about $5 -- to use a computer for an hour", so that puts you at over 6 months salary to have $100.

The average Cuban is very poor. I doubt that there are a lot of computers in individual households, and that's not gonna change soon. They need basics like food and shoes long before they're going to start wanting computers. When you drive around, you can see a lot of evidence of poverty and inability to maintain buildings and the like.

But, despite their living conditions, many Cubans are happy with their country and don't want to embrace American style capitalism either. They'd like some enhanced personal freedoms and a better standard of living, but they're not clamoring to remake their country in the image of the USA.

Of course, that's what I was told by Cubans, so they may have self-censored a little for us. But, they were also honest about some of the rougher edges around their society and the pitfalls of the current system. I think most of them still largely believe in the ideals of Casto and Guevara.

Cheers

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667988)

But, despite their living conditions, many Cubans are happy with their country and don't want to embrace American style capitalism either.

Sure, there's a lot of apparatchiks in Cuba, just like there are in any totalitarian regime.

I think most of them still largely believe in the ideals of Casto and Guevara.

It's amazing what propaganda can accomplish when any dissenters can be tossed in Jail. Lots of north koreans worship that repugnant little elvis impersonator who rules their country.

-jcr

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667508)

I heard somewhere that it would take an average Cuban about 5 months' worth of salary to afford a $100 OLPC
FTA, 1-hour of internet access costs $5 - About 1/3 of the average Cuban's monthly salary. I'm starting to think that Cuba may not be the paradise that Michael Moore made it out [imdb.com] to be... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (2, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667236)

Riiight... because Cuba can't defend its own sovereignty [cnn.com] . If it was that easy, don't you think that the Americans would have invaded by now [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667436)

Riiight... because Cuba can't defend its own sovereignty.
I don't think you are suggesting that Cuba's defenses are capable of defending the island against invasion by the US... if you are, that would be silly. The Bay of Pigs was not a US invasion, though it did have financial support from the US. Had there been some kind of active military support, they might have stood a chance.

In any event, they haven't even tried to kick the Americans out of Gitmo.

If it was that easy, don't you think that the Americans would have invaded by now?
No, because part of the deal ending the Cuban Missile Crisis was a promise to the Soviets not to invade.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1, Troll)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667714)

Had they not been screwed over by JFK and actually had a decent landing area, operational security, good intelligence, air cover, and everything else needed for a good invasion, it would have worked. NOTHING was done right on the Bay of Pigs invasion. NOTHING.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667500)

Fomer mayor Frank Rizzo once claimed that the Philadelphia police department could invade Cuba and win.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667244)

Nice idea except that the US has been transmitting news and entertainment to Cuba for the last 40 years. The Cuban jam it. If the US tried to put blimps or ships with wifi anywhere near Cuba the Cubans would shoot them down. Hey if the brave Cuban air force will attack a Cessna Skymaster in international waters with just two Mig 29s what makes you think they wouldn't attack a blimp.
Also what makes you think that those people have there own PCs?

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667518)

Also what makes you think that those people have there own PCs?

Where do you think they use their memory sticks?

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667960)

School, Office, Libraries.... Since a half an hour at an Internet Cafe costs two weeks wages I would bet that a PC is probably a bit more.

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (1)

rasman1978 (1158339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667506)

Ha! Sounds like my solution to Iraq [erik-rasmussen.com] .

Re:Want to bring down the Cuban government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667682)

a massive open wireless network? the cubans won't even need to shoot it down.

But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society w/ (4, Insightful)

nedburns (1238162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667020)

But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society with perfect free healthcare that the rest of the world should aspire to emulate!? ( see movies by fat slobs who don't know what they're talking about [imdb.com] )

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667076)

Well it is perfect unless you have to live there.
Elect Obama or Clinton and we'll be right behind them.. Why liberals want to elect these nanny-stateist leaders I'll never know.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (5, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667132)

They have first rate low tech preventative and pre/post natal health care. Which gives them a lower infant mortality rate than the US and a life expectancy just a bit lower that the US.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (5, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667230)

And a choice of presidential candidates just one behind the US as well.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (2, Interesting)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667374)

Do those life expectancy figures include people dying from acute lead poisoning?

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667498)

Do those life expectancy figures include people dying from acute lead poisoning?

Wait, are those the Cubans, or American kids with toys made in China? I'm confused.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (2, Informative)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667464)

Totally false. They don't count a child as "born" in Cuba until it has lived for a week. Since a significant portion of infants die during that time, it should not be a surprise their statistics indicate a lower infant mortality rate.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667578)

Citation Please....

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667688)

How about this, why don't you find me infant mortality statistics in Cuba that were NOT reported by the repressive, communist government that rules over that land?

Oh, you can't. Why? Because anyone else who tries to survey doctors will be arrested and imprisoned.

The UN does not do any research on the matter, it merely reports what the dictator tells them.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667844)

CIA Factbook - Govenment of the United States Infant mortality rate Cuba 6.04 United States 6.37 figures from 2007 Will this do?

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (2, Informative)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667474)

And all they've given up is their inalienable rights as human beings. Yay!

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (-1, Troll)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667620)

And all they've given up is their inalienable rights as human beings. Yay!
Like all the US citizens! Yay!

nonsense (5, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667800)

This bullshit urban legend about the "low" infant mortality rate in the US has got to stop.

The reason the infant "mortality" rate in the US is low is because the US is one of the very few countries that tries to save the life of severely premature babies and babies with severe birth defects. Not surprisingly, quite a lot of these sad cases die, up to 80% in the case of severely premature babies. By contrast, most other countries don't even try to save those infants, and simply record them as late miscarriages or stillbirths. Since they're never "born" they can't "die," so they don't count in infant mortality statistics. Hey presto! A lower infant mortality rate than the US! Congratulatory headlines in any random self-hating US media outlet...

Here's a related fun fact: university hospitals often have higher death rates than community hospitals for grave disease, e.g. heart attacks, strokes. Is this because they're less competent? Some strange corruption where the richer and more prestigious hospital is screwing up because of its callous disregard for humanity, i.e. the kind of "logic" used to criticize the US infant mortality rate? Nope. It's just because the most serious cases prefer to go to university hospitals, or get transferred there from community hospitals, and because university hospitals often admit people for experimental therapies that usually don't work, whereas less sophisticated hospitals just send folks to hospice or home to die.

Whenever you compare statistics, it really needs to be apples to apples, and when the statistic is so politically-charged as a quality of life versus type of government measurement, you really need to ask some hard and detailed questions about the methodology. It's amazingly easy to lie with statistics.

The consumer way of looking at the world (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667160)

If you can get 15 different types of ketchup in the store then clearly you have a great society.

All societies have pros and cons. Personally, even though I'm a geek, I'd say having a reasonable healthcare for all should be prioority ofver bandwidth for all.

Re:The consumer way of looking at the world (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667664)

There is a fatal flaw in the "healthcare for all" idea. Because most people who are for this universal healthcare thinks they will be able to get universally great healthcare for free. It's not free and we likely will not be able to afford to give everyone some "platinum plan" healthcare. Instead of a robotic arm with realistic flesh you'd get a plastic one with a choice of 3 different skin tones. Instead of braces for your kid's teeth they might have to wear headgear. Instead of designer glasses frames you might get a choice of 3 styles.

Either the universal healthcare will have limits or it will be a bankrupt institution. Personally I prefer the healthcare that I pay for, I don't even like the plans my employer offers. Obviously I wish medical costs weren't rising due to litigation and pharmaceutical patents, then maybe my insurance would be a bit cheaper.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (0)

doshell (757915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667224)

But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society with perfect free healthcare that the rest of the world should aspire to emulate!?

And healthcare has exactly what to do with memory sticks and Internet access?

Who modded this insightful?

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1, Insightful)

thesolo (131008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667260)

Nowhere in "Sicko" did Moore imply that Cuba was a utopian society. If anything, the exterior shots in Cuba should show how their clinging to communism (not to mention the US embargoes) have caused extreme poverty among most Cubans.

With that said, it's hard to deny that Cuba is doing some things right in regards to their healthcare system. For example, according to both the UN & the CIA world factbook, Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the United States does. (See list of countries by infant mortality rate on Wikipedia for a full list.) That, despite the extreme discrepancies in GDP, per capita income, etc., between the two countries.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (1)

fondacio (835785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667272)

Is it that inconceivable that a country can have excellent healthcare but at the same time severely limit its people's political freedoms?

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (3, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667322)

The real problem I had with Moore's citing of Cuba is that we have no idea how good their official statistics are. Also, if anyone is getting shafted by their medical system, was there any real chance of Moore -- or any outsider, for that matter -- finding out about it?

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667598)

Micheal Moore only spoke about their health care system, not the other social problems.

Mind you, with decent free health care, they have something fundamentally good that Americans don't, and the way things are going, never will have.

How many people in the US can't change jobs because of losing health insurance if they do?

I have known a few myself, doesn't seem either fair or pleasant.

Re:But.. but.. I thought Cuba is a utopian society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667788)

Michael Moore plays fast and loose with the facts--I don't question this. But I believe the point of comparing Cuba's health care system to ours is to show that even an ass backwards, opressive communist dictatorship puts a higher priority on the health of its people then the free "ownership society" we like to think we are. It's amazing to me how many people are willing to parrot the spin of people that say anyone who points out any flaws in our system automatically "hates America."

Must be evil capitalist counterrevolutionaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667026)

The Cuban government cares too much about its poor people to oppress them more than Batista.

At least that's what the commie apologists said in the the last Cuban posting on Slashdot.

Re:Must be evil capitalist counterrevolutionaries (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667168)

Because there are no capitalist counter-revolutionaries in Cuba of course.

What always amuses me is that people decry the reactionary left-wing government of Cuba without seeing it in the wider context of the history of Latin America and the Caribbean in the 20th century, during which the US made a point of launching vicious attacks on every progressive left-wing government in the hemisphere by organising strikes, spreading propaganda, sponsoring coups and terrorists, and occasionally direct military force. The repression of the Cuban regime is a result of a Darwinian process that has weeded out every left-wing government in the region that didn't shoot or imprison anyone and everyone who even might be on the CIA payroll.

Yeah, the Castro brothers aren't exactly nice to those who disagree with them - but thanks to the actions of America there is literally no way their social programmes could've been implemented if they were not prepared to run the country as a dictatorship. Western democracies such as Britain have reacted in a similar way when faced with extreme outside threats.

Re:Must be evil capitalist counterrevolutionaries (4, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667394)

Yeah, the Castro brothers aren't exactly nice to those who disagree with them
But they are still an improvement over the dictator they replaced [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Must be evil capitalist counterrevolutionaries (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667532)

Because the ends justifies the means.

People like you are the scariest of all.

Okay, perhaps you're not one of "those" people (Michael Moore, you are!). However, from your apology for the regime in Cuba, and the socialist policies (programs) you seem to embrace, I'll make that assumption.

What you don't realize is that the greatest force of all, which you seem to embrace, is the force of the herd mentality (Tyranny of the Majority). The moment you force someone into your viewpoint, you've become a tyrant.

this is an attitude i can't fathom (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667536)

the cuban government is clearly more authoritarian than the us government, on most every measure, according to most any observer (try the great neocon fortresses of human rights watch and amnesty international), by a large order of magnitude

but then you have some people such as yourself, due to hating the usa's tactics in fighting cuba, or in thinking the idea to defeat cuba is not to fight it, or with a laundry list of cold war and colonial era grievances... that it all somehow means that the point here is to prosecute the usa, rather than the clearly worse government: cuba

how does this convoluted kind of thinking present itself? on the subject matter of the evils cuba does, we should... drum roll please... prosecute the usa. the clear enemy of cuba!

(smacks forehead)

how does this work in some people's minds? that the usa gets prosecuted for what its bitter enemies do?

various internet ideologues: fine. you win. the usa sucks. fuck the usa. rah rah rah! the usa is evil! blah blah blah. whatever! i don't care: be my guest, hate the usa, you go on with your bad selves

but in your effort to hate and prosecute the usa, how do you get anywhere in that passion of yours by forgiving regimes which, right now, in the PRESENT TIME, are doing clearly worse than the usa, ON THE SUBJECT MATTER YOU SAY IS IMPORTANT, such as freedom of expression?

i can never understand this kind of thinking

again, someone please explain to me: how on the subject matter of the bad things the usa's bitter enemies do, does the usa gets all the hate?

it just blows my mind how that is possible in someone's mind. you present them with evidence of usa's enemies doing truly vile things, and their reply is to hate the usa

it blows my mind how this kind of thinking works

Re:this is an attitude i can't fathom (2, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667996)

I don't hate the ideals that the USA originally aspired to, especially the idea that we can govern ourselves as a group and still maintain a cohesive society. What I hate is what we've done as a country, consistently, to other countries. We interfere with their development, we ignore their soverignty, and we have even stolen land from them. Yes, it's been a while since we've invaded a country and taken land from them, but it's happened.

I love the ideals that we aspire to, but as a country there is a pattern of antisocial behavior which I find to be disturbing.

Re:Must be evil capitalist counterrevolutionaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667668)

Moral of the story... oppressive censorship, iron-handed dictatorship, and state sanctioned murder/torture are okay as long as the United States disagrees with your ideology.

High Tech (1)

Russell2566 (1205416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667032)

I love Sneaker-Net [wikipedia.org]

European friends (1, Troll)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667086)

I suppose European friends are the way to go, but in general non-USA friends. I am not sure which would be worse for a USA citizen, being discovered that you are subverting state censorship or being discovered by your government that you have been to Cuba.

I can hear it already... (1)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667092)

I can hear it already:

    Yo está apesadumbrado, podría usted descargar el Internet sobre esto?

And for once, it'll actually make sense!

(If the translation sucks, blame babelfish. ;) )

Another Venture to Look into... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667152)

How much do you think you get for a 4GB thumbdrive filled to the gills with Porn, Music and Software in Cuba??? How about a SEAL incursion via Guantanamo Navy Base to deliver wireless laptops, OLPC, to the citizens of Cuba with instructions on how to access a wireless access point on the base. Oooo, the ideas are running rampant. Money to be made, Oh, I'm just a drooling.

Well at least (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667172)

Sony's proprietary format is popular some place!

Re:Well at least (2, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667456)

Memory stick: generic term for portable flash media, usually USB drives
Memory Stick: name for Sony's flash media format

The capitalization is important

Donate old memory sticks (5, Insightful)

andyfrommk (1021405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667182)

We should donate our old memory sticks to them, I've got a 128mb mp3 player which is worthless to westerners but could be of use to people in the third world to dissemenate information.

Security concerns in an offline network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667234)

Plug in a usb drive someone gives you on the street in havana... and you wake up in a bathtub of ice with a kidney missing.

If most people don't have the internet, I'm willing to bet they're not up to date on virus def's and patching.
Seems dangerous, esp. if "someone" is actively trying to keep tabs on you. (*in this case, a group of someones)

Aside- What is an effective way to be safe from usb attack vectors besides sandboxing? Is there a low-level tool for usb h/w?
Something, not a pc, (handheld?) that you could plug a usb drive into and it would be scanned for nastiware or compromised bios?
Does this exist?

The Blue Pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667248)

Perhaps the real truth behind why Americans are not allowed to travel or have any contact with Cuba is that, if they did, they'd realize Americans were actually the ones being suppressed by their government.

Sleep.

Working so well (2, Funny)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667274)

Jeez, I finally get it! And here I thought the whole strategy of destroying a country through decades of economic sanctions based on political ideology two generations out of date was one of the great disasters of US foreign policy. But it's actually a clever strategy to turn a whole nation into a think tank and foster innovation the old fashioned way: by creating necessity! It's so simple!

"Life will always find a way..." --Jurassic Park (1)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667296)

This sort of reminds me of the line in Jurassic Park, 'Life will always find a way,' in reference to the scientists creating only female clones so they can't breed. How well did that work out for them?

Passing laws banning something only makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens. Prohibition didn't work. How's the war on drugs going here in the US? Not only do you fail at your original goal in something like this, your shoot the value of whatever you're trying to stop through the roof!

Cuba now, US tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667330)

Forget Cuba, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" America Deceived (book) [iuniverse.com] from Amazon and Wikipedia, and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings

Re:Cuba now, US tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667922)

The US Govt and their corporate friends seem to be doing a really good job of "banning" that book. Their mind control rays make it REALLY hard for me to find the big blue BUY IT NOW button.

For potential visitors (1)

fondacio (835785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667334)

Now here's a thought for people who want to visit Cuba, but still feel a bit guilty because of its repression. Take a bunch of USB sticks with you - they can be empty if you don't want to take any risks. Or maybe some flash memory, so you can claim it's for your camera, and a card reader. Hand them out to people there. And maybe you've made a small contribution to improving the human rights situation there...

Not new. I used to do that. (5, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667426)

About 16 years ago, in a time of floppy disks, 486s and joysticks, I also was a part of such a network. Media such as the anarchist cookbook and all kinds of software were passed around by hand through packs of floppy disks from one person to another, spreading through everyone.

Mind you, that took place in a western european country, a free country with freedom of expression as best as the world could muster. Yet, that network, which TFA tries to label as a sign of subversive actions against a government went ahead anyway. How could that be?

The thing is, that has absolutely nothing to do with dissent or trying to overthrow any government. People form data sharing networks because they want to share data. With the internet we belong to multiple P2P networks. Before that we had FTPs. Before that we had BBS. If there is no electronic network available then that doesn't stop anyone. Instead of a computer network, people networks are formed. Nowadays, instead of floppy disks or even CD-RWs we have USB mass storage devices such as flash drives.

So quite simply the article is nothing more than yet another piece of anti-Cuba propaganda. Just because there are people in Cuba sharing media around does that mean that they do it with subversive intentions in mind? If you fire up your FTP client does it mean that you are also trying to overthrow your country's government? What about your USB drive? And what about SD cards? What a rebellion.

Communism (1)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667700)

Why does the summary mention the average Cuban wages? Sounds like an extraneous calculation.

In red China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22667766)

People use DVDs.

I wish China or some nation would just send to (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22667908)

Cuba a few tons of clones Cisco gear, some slew of Linux servers, a fat pipe into the Internet, and pay off the Cuban government to open up.

But, do it in some diplomatic Asian way that might gain inroads into Cuba. Apparently, the US/Western ways must suck pretty bad. SOME government SOMEwhere needs to overtly defy the US. Externally oppressing Cuban citizens and denying US citizens visitation of Cuba is plain evil and heinous. It's just a matter of time before Cuba opens up. i just think their elite don't want history to show that the *USA* forced them to open.

China, are you LISTENING? Maybe Medvedev (and Putin) might take lead on this. Surely, the rest of the world has balls to stand up against this. Would be ironic, though, to see some combination of China and Russia convincing Cuba (through aid packages) to just knock off the current situation and in a few years be where they ought to be as if no embargoes ever happened.

i mean, REALLY, what threat has Cuba herSELF been to the US? None. She's been an active symbol of rejection of the US (to a great extent), survived coup plans orchestrated by the US, and other than refugees, has yet to launch some military attack upon the US. Drugs and other things might be issues, but it's not as if Cuba has a physical border to the US.

i'd like to see some world or NGO body once and for all defy the US and just SETTLE this matter without coups, assassinations, economic oppression or destabilization...

This is just insulting political BULLSHIT, and it's embarrassing and it just one more reason to make 'merkuns question whether travel with a US passport it the wisest or safest thing to do. After all, i've met in Japan people from various countries who had US passports AND multiple others, apparently valid, because they were from countries that permitted dual/multiple citizenship. Their countries aren't so arrogant or stupid as to assume that forcing someone to swear allegiance to ONE country makes them less likely to turn on their "new" country. Some of these people were from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and places in Europe. This was in 2004. i don't know what has happened between then and now. Of course, i'd be remiss to suggest that these people use their passports solely to not be fingered AS american citizens. Some do it to skirt around visa time frames.

Why? Well, as a non-US citizen or by entering Japan with a NON-US passport (and not being on a list of terrorist nations, unfriendly nations, or nations that might swamp Japan with foreigners looking to squat there), a visitor from the "right nations" can enter Japan on a Visitor Visa for not 90 days (as from the US) but for 180 days. Not only THAT, such visitors can WORK part time to subsidize their tourism/stay. From the US? Forget it. You can visit for 90 days, but are NOT legally permitted to work in Japan unless some company or individual puts up a bond or sponsorship and prepares the entry paperwork for obtaining a visa stamp.

Anyway, criminalizing a US citizen visit to Cuba is just obsequious, stupid, asinine, and vindictive. Someone should try again to fast-track (non-violently) Cuba's state status and maybe embargo the US for embargoing Cuba -- unless Cuba and the US are technically in a state of war. The US normalized with Vietnam, has trade status with China (a nation vastly superior to Cuba and a nation which the US is constantly measuring defense budgets against, but not against Cuba -- not on THAT scale...), and other nations from which the US incurred civilian and military deaths vastly greater than anything Cuba could have done to the US. Besides, is CUBA conducting technology-based infrastructure warfare upon the US? USA, grow up.
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