Cuba’s Internet Conspiracy

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Internet in Cuba is severely limited due to the United States embargo against Cuba. But the hunger for information and entertainment led the Cubans to a more risky and hard path to stay connected to the worldwide grid of the Internet.

The other day I was reading an article named ‘A Day without Internet‘ written by my friend Akash Rout and suddenly a thought sprung into my mind like can we stay without internet?

It is just like living without food in this era because the internet has been shaping our lives for years, starting from school projects to any work-related stuff, from morning news to bedtime romances on Netflix. I thanked the almighty God who made me born in the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, in a country like India where we can Google 24*7. Even though sometimes Mr Ambani creates pain in my ass by a little bit of “Ekdandi situation” or by high priced internet packs.

The great John Lyly had said, ‘All Is Fair in Love and War’ and we can simply go this far to prove our love for the internet. Even after getting all these facilities, our brain demands more pieces of information. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think that “Kash Sab Free main milta”. You must have heard the app called Telegram, the online portal which acts like the Loreal shampoo’s slogan, “Many Problems, One Solution”. It is the best platform through which we can access almost everything starting from Netflix Originals to Amazon web series to new movies and also software. And among our youth generation, Telegram comes as the third most used app after Instagram and YouTube. Now, who the hell cares about TikTok when we can get free series and stuff which will make our day and it is saving us from boredom in this lock-down. But imagine a situation where the government can ban Telegram or let’s say the app somehow stops as like every other pirated app in the past. That’s not what is in my mind but the point is “What if we are in a situation where there’s only one source of media?  

If that’s the case then I don’t want to live in that country.

But what if that is the case, no I mean not in India, but someplace where you are getting nothing but Government-run TV channels and every other channel is prohibited. Publications are limited to the nation approved newspapers and magazines. And obviously, it’s the law.

But can the law stop those guys who are in a desire of getting private services for free like us?

Let’s see what is happening down in the island country of Cuba.

Most of us have heard of this country and it is very popular for its exotic beaches and more especially “Havana, ooh na-na (ay)

Half of my heart is in Havana”.

And to be very honest with you guys, that is a hell of a place. (By looking at its Google images).

But even with the tropical beaches and Cuban cigars, the Cubans are getting their hands on these exotic information on the Internet.

And why Cuba is not connected to the worldwide grid of the Internet? To know the answer, we have to go back in history.

So its all started from only one thing that the whole world hates i.e. communism.

And since 1959’s communal revolution the Castro regime or the leadership of Cuba has enforced a strict ban an all forms of information flow which can lead to some major problems in official policy and history.

That time was different when the government could manipulate the TV news channels but when the internet came in, it made matters worse for the govt, leading to disbanding of the internet to keep matters in control. Well recently the American govt and some companies like Google, is monitoring the situations in Cuba to provide free and uncensored internet. But recently Cuban govt is providing hotspots, but the quality and quantity are not enough as only 35 hotspot zones are there in the whole country and not with any high-speed internet speed. So with that speed, nobody could binge-watch anything. Moreover, only 5% of the population is enjoying that turtle slow internet.

The question arises like how the Cuban people are updated in the matter of world news, new movies and TV series?

In Cuba, certain dealers deal with this thing and this is no different than the drugs cartel. It’s just like they are the El Chapo and Escobar of Cuba but dealing with the internet instead of drugs.

“El Paquete Semanal” (The Weekly Package), is a weekly trove of digital content —everything from American movies to PDFs of Spanish newspapers — that is gathered, organized, and transferred to the entire country. It is a prodigious and profitable operation.

And this became highly famous as people all around Cuba subscribed or ordered the content and it became famous. 

But how did they distribute all these without the internet? 

Here comes a catch, these are being delivered by a human network of runners and dealers, all over Cuba and it is circulated through hard disks and pen drives, where people can come to the mobile repairing shops and get this thing as it was an excellent cover-up for these type of data transfer and it was so popular that it was circulated throughout the country in planes. It was very cheap, cheap as a package was coming for only $2 or approx. equal to 2 Cuban Peso.

And this was a revolution where Cuban people could now enjoy not only the TV shows but also worldwide news and educational stuff and android apps and iOS apps and games which were being played all over the world.

As of now, they are having their news page, which is running in countries like the USA, as it was speculated that earlier this data was bought through the hard disks from Miami. 

But for now, people are enjoying the service where they can get all the information.

And most importantly they are not feeling like any isolated group of people who are unknown about the world. That leads to the biggest data distribution company in the history of Cuba.

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Chinmaya Behera
Chinmaya Behera
3 years ago

Nice Article !!

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