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Cuban Government Toughens Internet Restrictions 53

Posted by timothy
from the progressive-goal-oriented-worker's-paradise dept.
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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Cuban Government Toughens Internet Restrictions

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  • by shfted! (600189) <shiftedMPAA@RIAAshifted.ca minus evil> on Sunday January 25, 2004 @03:55AM (#8079968) Journal
    Sending smoke singals with cigars is still legal!
  • by jptechnical (644454) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @04:17AM (#8080028) Homepage
    of anti-spam measures.
  • what's cuba like? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @05:51AM (#8080226) Homepage
    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.
    • by FePe (720693)

      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, download

    • Re:what's cuba like? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @08:01AM (#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. :)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        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
      • by Nadsat (652200) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:13AM (#8080705) Homepage
        >> 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? (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          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 a
          • 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.
        • 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.
      • 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)
      • You think Cuba's a great place. Of course, you can leave it anytime you want.

        They can't.

      • 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.

    • 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?

    • by Pave Low (566880) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:47AM (#8080935) Journal
      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.

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

      by daviddennis (10926)
      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 b
    • 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 be
    • 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
      • 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.
  • by Mod Me God (686647) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @06:35AM (#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.
    • 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 u
    • 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.
  • by jmlyle (512574) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:14AM (#8080710) Homepage
    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.

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