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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 12:09 PM
Original message
Raul Castro: Cubans can have cell phones
Source: AP

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer

HAVANA - President Raul Castro's government said Friday it is allowing cell phones for ordinary Cubans, a luxury previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the communist-run state.

It was the first official announcement of the lifting of a major restriction under the 76-year-old Castro, and marked the kind of small freedom many on the island have been hoping he would embrace since succeeding his older brother Fidel as president last month.

Some Cubans previously ineligible for cell phones had already gotten them by having foreigners sign contracts in their names, but mobile phones are not nearly as common in Cuba as elsewhere in Latin America or the world. Telecommunications monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A., or ETECSA said it would allow the general public to sign prepaid contracts in Cuban Convertible Pesos, which are geared toward tourists and foreigners and worth 24 times the regular pesos Cuban state employees are paid in.

The government controls well over 90 percent of the economy and while the communist system ensures most Cubans have free housing, education and health care and receive ration cards that cover basic food needs, the average monthly state salary is just 408 Cuban pesos, a little less than $20.

A program in Convertible Pesos likely will ensure that cell phone service will be too expensive for many Cubans, but ETECSA's statement said doing so will allow it to improve telecommunication systems using cable technology and eventually expand the services it offers in regular pesos.


Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080328/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/c...



This is not the first sign that Raul Castro will tend to relax the doctrinaire totalitarian state that his brother, Fidel Castro, created. These are hopeful signs, IMO, that Cuba will crawl out of its police state - perhaps gradually, instead of with a revolution.
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Flagg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. That's one step in the right direction.
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Free up communication, and other changes tend to follow.
But China has shown that such adaptation can be very slow indeed.
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GoesTo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hardship
But they didn't say anything about messaging or email. Capitalism wins!
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mahatmakanejeeves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. To be followed by
Cubans using cellphones in the library, and cellphone spam. No good deed goes unpunished.
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StClone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Too Bad :-(
No American Company can sell the wireless systems or support to Cuba. Talk about stupid.
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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. If that's the only problem - there is no problem at all.
Sure, the embargo is stupid. But "missing out" on the opportunity to set up those systems (unlikely, BTW, to be privatized, so that the police state can still snoop on its citizens) is not going to be a major opportunity lost, since the cost of owning a cell phone will be greater than the entire monthly income of the average Cuban.

I don't think it will be a large system, until the economy of Cuba gets out of the stone ages.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. You need to speak with your right-wing hero Bush about that embargo and the idiot freeps who support
it. It has been meant to cripple Cuba all these years and it has.

Any clown who dares to claim anything BUT the embargo is responsible for this devastating economic madness is simply barely able to hang on mentally.

The embargo was envisioned as a weapon against Cuba as far back as 1897, by the Undersecretary of War, who wrote about it in the Breckenridge Memorandum, in which he detailed the idea was to strike and paralyze Cuba economically to the point disease and famine set in, and the people got so desperate they had no choice but to rise up and overthrow their government.

As if that was anyone's business but their own.

Rightwingers are pure filth. There's nothing you can say to defend this. By the way, this embargo started with Dwight D. Eisenhower, not John F. Kennedy. It's right there for you to discover if you manage to research.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. How many Democratic
Presidents since Kennedy have gone to the Congress of the United States with a request to end the embargo?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Here's some early reading: ROBERT F. KENNEDY URGED LIFTING
ROBERT F. KENNEDY URGED LIFTING
TRAVEL BAN TO CUBA IN '63


Attorney General cited inconsistency "with traditional American liberties"
State Department overruled RFK proposal to withdraw prohibitions on travel

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 158

Posted - June 29, 2005


Washington D.C. June 29, 2005 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to lift the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba in December 1963, according to declassified records posted today by the National Security Archive. In a December 12, 1963, memorandum to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Kennedy urged a quick decision "to withdraw the existing regulation prohibiting such trips."

Kennedy's memo, written less than a month after his brother's assassination in Dallas, communicated his position that the travel ban imposed by the Kennedy administration was a violation of American freedoms and impractical in terms of law enforcement. Among his "principal arguments" for removing the restrictions on travel to Cuba was that freedom to travel "is more consistent with our views as a free society and would contrast with such things as the Berlin Wall and Communist controls on such travel."

His memo prompted what senior National Security Council officials described as "an in-house fight to permit non-subversive Americans to travel to Cuba." Several State Department officials supported Kennedy's position that "the present travel restrictions are inconsistent with traditional American liberties," and that "it would be extremely difficult to enforce the present prohibitions on travel to Cuba without resorting to mass indictments." But in a December 13, 1963 meeting at the State Department, with no representatives present from the Attorney General's office, Undersecretary of State George Ball ruled out any relaxation of regulations on travel to Cuba.

A principal argument, as national security advisor McGeorge Bundy informed President Johnson in a subsequent memorandum on "Student Travel to Cuba" was that "a relaxation of U.S. restrictions would make it very difficult for us to urge Latin American governments to prevent their nationals from going to Cuba-where many would receive subversive training."

Instead of announcing a legalization of travel to Cuba, as the Attorney General had proposed, in late December the State Department issued a warning stating that "persons who may consider engaging in such travel should be on notice that if they do so, their passports will be withdrawn and they may be subject to criminal prosecution." The ban on travel was maintained until President Jimmy Carter lifted it in 1977; but restrictions were re-imposed during the Reagan administration and have been tightened further under the current administration.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB158/index.htm



Jimmy Carter during his trip to Cuba, during which he made a speech nationally
which was carried on all Cuban radio, television stations live, and transcripts
were published in the Cuban newspapers. He also toured medical research laboratories,
agricultural and industrial sites, and had meetings with Cuban "dissidents." I
hesitated to post these photos because I'm quite sure you are a person who will use
this knowledge you apparently lacked to start accusing Jimmy Carter of being too "soft"
on Cuba now. That's o.k. Most DU'ers are very much more informed on these events, as they
tend to keep up as a matter of principle.


During Bill Clinton's Presidency, travel restrictions were loosened for certain people-to-people programs, and relations were warming until the Cuban reactionary political "Hermanos al Rescate," which had been buzzing Havana, certainly invading Cuban air space, seen personally by the former U.S. Interests Section head, Wayne S. Smith, provoked Cuba to warn the U.S. to keep them out of Cuban air space or they would be shot down. They invaded Cuban air space, even though they lie about it, and they lost some people. At that point everything was tightened up. Otherwise there is no doubt relations with Cuba were headed for a thaw.

Also, there are documents available to the public now covering the time before John F. Kennedy's murder when he was initiating dialogue with both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. I have posted them many times at D.U. already. His aide went to meet with Che Guevara and made a report on their meeting and conversation.

I have to run as I only have a couple of minutes to scan LBN now, will be able to provide more info. since you appear to be completely clueless about US/Cuban history, and have been hoping to trip someone up, to make a winger point, apparently. Oh, by the way, during Bill Clinton's adminstration, the early steps were taken to loosen the embargo enough to allow limited sale of certain agricultural products and some medicine. That was a beginning.

If you had every taken time to get conscious of what happens in Congress at least once a year, you would already know that the House and Senate BOTH have voted time after time to end travel restrictions, and Democrats are perenially trying to get the embargo lifted, but the right-wing asshole block always manages to remove the language in committee, or sabotage it entirely.

The pro-crappy Cuba relations crowd is dying off, as you've lost Jesse Helms, Tom DeLay, and all their fellow maggots. Only a few left to screw things up. That's going to change soon, sane people hope.

Did you think it's the PRESIDENT who moves alone to change the embargo itself? You really need to do your homework.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. You are just too funny.
Edited on Fri Mar-28-08 05:36 PM by Mika
robcon --> "But "missing out" on the opportunity to set up those systems (unlikely, BTW, to be privatized, so that the police state can still snoop on its citizens).. "

:rofl:

Sure. Just like in the US. The government would NEVER spy on citizens using the privatized communications systems here. :eyes: :crazy:

Stop spreading your RW propaganda, and join your classmate..





If the Cuban gov was so bent on spying and wanted to spy on people even more efficiently, then they would set up a campaign system like the US. That way politicians would be beholden to telcos for cushy regulatory oversight, and (the gov) politicians could call-in chits to get telcos to just use a line splitter so all communications could be routed to government spy agencies without even a warrant.

If the Cuban government wanted to upgrade their capabilities for spying, then they could learn a lot from the US.


-
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
31. Perhaps a larger problem is that most Cubans don't make enough money to afford one
:shrug:
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. Too bad

The Cuban people don't need those things, neither do we. Just a techno-bauble.

Meanwhile, murder, mayhem and ape extermination continue in the Congo Basin, unabated.
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RantinRavin Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. well then
why don't you hop right over there and put a stop to it.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Cuba doesn't have a Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy for Americans, like the US has for Cubans.
That's how Cubans with criminal records get around the legal immigration process that the VAST majority of Cuban immigrants have used to come to the US.

-


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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
20. While I agree no one really NEEDS a cell
It certainly is a nice thing to have have. We tecnically don't NEED TV's either, or DVD's, video games, internet service, etc. :) Not trying to start anything, but I think it's a good thing, and the Cuban people will hopefully enjoy the opportunity to own cells.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. You might consider this:
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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 12:13 PM
Original message
What does that have to do with my reply? :)
N/T
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
26. It means that cell phones suck

You might read the article, connect the dots.

There's an awful lot of ugliness involved with this superfluous "convenience"
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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. The artical was TLDR
They have their flaws, but they also have their uses. I personally wouldn't want to live without one, but that's my choice. If you don't want one, I can respect that.
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totodeinhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #8
34. So you are going to be presumptuous enough to tell the Cuban people...
what they need and what they don't need?
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
12. How can this be? I thought everything was peachy-keen there before?
Nice of the government to allow people to have cell phones though.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Yeah. They should have prioritized cell phones over universal health care & ed.
Edited on Fri Mar-28-08 06:29 PM by Mika

Like here.

:+


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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Why Would You Think That?

I can't recall any supporter of the Cuban revolution writing that everything is just perfect and "peach-keen" in Cuba.

On the contrary, they have usually pointed out many of the economic difficulties due to the blockade and collapse of the USSR.

But, things are now improving a lot according to all objective reporters.

Why don't you visit Cuba and gives us an objective report on your findings?

Oh .... I almost forgot, the "democratic" government in the U.S. forbids you to go!
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Nice of your own government to have had a crushing embargo on the for decades,
making their daily lives a holy hell, and many material things well beyond their reach.

Do some reading, if you get the time.
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unkachuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
16. very good....
"..ETECSA's statement said doing so will allow it to improve telecommunication systems using cable technology and eventually expand the services it offers in regular pesos."

....and it stands to reason, that when ETECSA expands services paid for in regular pesos, the service will be significantly cheaper and better than anything a US company would offer....
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Codedonkey Donating Member (153 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. Fidel is still alive, right?
Edited on Fri Mar-28-08 10:42 PM by Codedonkey
Or did I miss something? Assuming I didn't, how does Fidel feel about these changes his bro is making? Right or wrong, I'm assuming Fidel felt he had good reason for it, no?
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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
21. So it is 1984 in Cuba, literally!
:rofl:
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Maybe you could elaborate for those of us who aren't psychic. n/t
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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Well, 1984 is around the time cell phones came out commercially
And 1984 is slang for a totalitarian country (lately it's also slang for a commie country). So, I made a joke. I thought it was funny, sorry if you didn't get it. :)
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Why would it be slang for a "commie country?" Who uses it as "slang" for "a commie country?" Freeps?
Edited on Sat Mar-29-08 12:21 PM by Judi Lynn
Maybe you could explain the thought behind your insights.

On edit, adding photo of early cellphone, from 1973:

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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. Umm, does the book "1984" ring a bell?
And I said "comercially available", I know they were invented way before 1984. Lighten up, it's ok to laugh sometimes.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. Laughter's appropriate as a response to something humorous. "Commies" hasn't been a hot topic
since the days of the most pathetic American half-witted, drunken, ignorant, sloppy, wrecked, devious right-wing assholes ever born, like Joe McCarthy.



Joe, on the trail of imaginary "enemies of the state" before he died of alcoholism.

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Traction311 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. Ok, sorry for calling Cuba a commie country
They're a pinko country. Better?
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
30. A small step in the right direction
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-29-08 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
33. Cuba will Expand Telecommunications Services
Cuba will Expand Telecommunications Services


(Updated March 29, 2008, 9:30 am)


Cuba will begin a development program in the sector of telecommunications in the next years that will contribute to the increase and improvement of services to the population.

In a note published by the Granma and Juventud Rebelde newspapers on Friday, the Cuban Telecommunications Company S.A. (ETECSA) explains that these investments will be possible thanks to credits and technologies facilitated by friendly countries.

It points out that priority will be given to municipalities with low
telephone density and settlements with more than 300 people that still
do not have telephone service.

In addition, ETECSA announces that it will offer the mobile phone
service to the population through personal contracts.

According to the note, ETECSA will soon announce the procedures that
Cuban nationals should follow to obtain the ownership of mobile phone
lines, which until now they have obtained indirectly, and also the
beginning of the new contracts.

This service will be offered in convertible currency (CUC) in order to
defray the development of cable connectivity and to facilitate the
introduction of new services in national currency. (acn)

http://www.invasor.cu/sistema/paginas/default.asp?lang=...
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-30-08 01:05 AM
Response to Original message
35. "totalitarian state" - ah, your conservative lies always amuse, robconservative!
NT!

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