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Cuba Lifts Ban on Home Computers 290

ianare writes "The first legalized home computers have gone on sale in Cuba, the latest in a series of restrictions on daily life which President Raul Castro has lifted in recent weeks. The desktop computers cost almost $800, in a country where the average wage is under $20 a month, but some Cubans do have access to extra income. Internet access remains restricted to certain workplaces, schools and universities on the island which the government claims is due to low bandwidth availability. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is laying a new cable under the Caribbean, but it remains unclear whether once the connection is completed, the authorities will allow unrestricted access to the internet."
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Cuba Lifts Ban on Home Computers

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  • $20 per month??? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2008 @09:49AM (#23283862)
    According to [], Cuban GDP per capita is $4,500; that is $375/month.
    Seems much more realistic than $20.
  • by chakmol ( 88099 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @09:49AM (#23283868)

    I'm a Cuban. This happened more than a month ago. And we are very happy that someone finally came to his senses about it.
    What's new, though, is that [startin soon], they are going to be sold without operating systems... No more windows pre-installed. Or so I've heard. Now we only need tons of Ubuntu disks to give away at the sotre.

    I was over there in 2005, and visited a few folks who already had computers at home, but good to hear it's now legal. In a couple of net cafes I visited in Havana, all the computers had the KDE desktop, but I didn't get a chance to see what was running under it.

    Many Cubans access e-mail and net at the post office, Correos de Cuba, and the lines were usually long.

    These were just some observations while there.
  • by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @09:54AM (#23283898) Homepage

    From a quick look on Google maps, it would seem that the distance between Cuba and nearest American soil (Key West) is slightly under 200km.

    It would be possible to string up a wireless link, indeed the current record is 238 miles (383km - link [] ), so it is possible.

    I think the bigger issue is the legality of doing this. The embargo on Cuba does not only apply to the governments, but to citizens of both countries. You setting up a wifi link is a violation of that embargo, and could get you in serious trouble.

  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @10:42AM (#23284128) Homepage

    Ease up with the slurs against the US.
    I didn't mean it that way. I meant that from Cuba's point of view, they will not be dependent on a US corporation.
  • Re:$20 per month??? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2008 @10:43AM (#23284132)
    The summary talks about average wage, not per capita GDP.
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @10:44AM (#23284144) Homepage

    Yeah kuz Canonical is a real pure communist outfit too. And those evil US corporations have never ever made any contributions to Linux. In fact... has Cuba ever made any contributions to Free Software of note? For that matter, what about Iran and North Korea, they hate America even more.. so why aren't they the world leaders in free software?
    From Cuba's point of view, their only option of not using a US company for their OS is Linux. It is very much a political, and an independence issue, for Cuba, not for me. I personally have nothing against the US.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Saturday May 03, 2008 @10:56AM (#23284246)

    Just an idea, since my US government is all about supporting an open and free Cuba, it might not be bad idea to lead some sort of initiative to proliferate computers to the people. I know the government might frown upon something like this, but it would give America the moral high ground, which is something neither side has been worthy of so far.
    Sorry, but your government is all about supporting a decades old grudge and nothing else - your government deals with and indeed in some cases support regimes far worse than Cuba.

    There is no reason any import market has to be a black market, Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world, including Europe, and as such has an open market to exploit.
  • by torstenvl ( 769732 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @11:17AM (#23284350)

    MS is not a US corporation any more than it is a European, African, East Asian or Indian.

    Microsoft is absolutely a U.S. corporation. I don't know where you're getting your information from.

    Microsoft is a Washington corporation[1], incorporated under Washington law[2]. Its registered office, pursuant to Washington state law[3], is at 920 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, Washington[4].

    While Microsoft may have subsidiary and/or partner corporations in other countries, there is no doubt whatsoever that the "real Microsoft" is an American corporation, based in America, run by a board of American businessmen and an American Chief Executive officer, responsible to a largely American base of stockholders. Any contention otherwise is surely a joke.

    [1] Washington Secretary of State, Corporations: Registration Data Search: Microsoft Corporation, [].
    [2] Wash. Stat. s 23B.01.010 et seq., available at [].
    [3] Wash. Stat. s 23B.05.010(1), available at [] (requiring that "[e]ach corporation [under this Title] must continuously maintain in this state ... [a] registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business").
    [4] Microsoft, Articles of Incorporation, available at []
  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @11:29AM (#23284404) Journal
    Editing posts in a forum like this is a bad idea. It means you can post something, wait for a response to criticize you, and then alter your original post to make it look like the replier's an idiot. Perhaps having an edit history log available would mitigate that, except it'd be hard for people to mentally keep track of which version of the post existed at a given time, and know what was being replied to.

    In practice, it means that the discussion is a *discussion*, so you can see everything everyone said, instead of letting things get changed and redacted later on. All things considered, not being able to edit is a good thing.
  • by calebt3 ( 1098475 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @11:50AM (#23284526)
    Perfect []
  • by cybrchld ( 229583 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @11:52AM (#23284538)
    You are sadly misinformed. i have relatives in Cuba an the medical care there is very bad. yes the doctors and free but there is no medicine or supply's to help the public, my nice had a baby just recently and we had to actually provide all the sutures and thread to close her c section, not to mention when your taken to a hospital you need to bring your own sheets towels Etc. the only ones that get quality and cheap treatment are foreigners which pay. By far the worst care here is 10x better than what they have there.

    Stop believing the Lies a few socialist nut jobs are perpetrating.
  • by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Saturday May 03, 2008 @01:01PM (#23284934)

    There is no reason any import market has to be a black market, Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world

    The US has tried to threaten companies that if they deal with Cuba, they can't operate within the US. The EU got very angry over the issue. Whether the US managed to frighten companies off, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised though.

    As for the "decades old grudge", yes, it is a grudge. When Castro ousted the US-backed Batista, the US lost control, and US Policy towards Cuba has been about control right from the beginning. A condition of the US troops withdrawing from Cuba in 1901 was that they sign the Platt Amendment, which gave the US all sorts of powers over Cuba. It was very much a Godfather-style "offer you can't refuse". Although the Platt Amendment was repealed in 1934, the US kept one of the clauses which was the Naval base at Guantanamo. According to the Platt Amendment clause, it can only be removed with the consent of both parties, which is completely ridiculous.
  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <> on Saturday May 03, 2008 @04:44PM (#23286274)
    The U.S. government doesn't kill dissidents, it imprisons [] them [].

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie