By Paolo von Schirach
August 2, 2013
WASHINGTON – The Cuban Socialist Paradise is getting even better. Now the Government, as part of its relentless effort to constantly improve the welfare of the people, opened up 118 internet access points across the happy island. Yes, it is a bit late, we know, about 20 years late, give or take. But Socialism has its own laws. Major steps aimed at achieving progress have to be calibrated, and carefully planned.
Internet at $ 5 an hour
So, here we go. Cubans now have multiple internet access point. This is wonderful. Except for a couple of details. Number one: it costs about US $ 5 an hour to surf the internet. If this sounds a bit steep by US standards, consider that this sum amounts to a week’s salary for an average Cuban government employee. There you go. Imagine that, if here in the US internet access came as a public service only, it would cost you about US $ 300 or 400 an hour, minimum. A real bargain. Beyond that, you can rest assured that all users coming to these Cuban public facilities will be monitored.
Door to door Netflix-like service
Therefore, here is the triumph of progress, Cuban style. Obviously they are working on the “digital divide”. But you have to be a quasi-millionaire to actually benefit from internet access using these public places. In the meantime, we know that there those who beat the system. There is a cottage industry run by entrepreneurial people who somehow manage to download content from the internet on their own, (movies and what not). With this precious loot on a disk, these “providers” go door to door selling downloads to people who have a computer but no internet connectivity. And so, here is your “Netflix-like” service, Cuban style. Someone will come to your house and you can buy the movie. A bit cumbersome, but ingenious.
Ranked last in the Region for broadband penetration
In the meantime, we read in The Miami Herald that Cuba is ranked at the very bottom in Latin America and the Caribbean when it comes to broadband penetration. However, while they may not have much broadband, they have Socialism, a truly advanced economic and social system, as all Cuban kids learn in school.