Print 34 comment(s) - last by dever.. on Apr 16 at 6:25 PM

Cuba is finally joining the modern world and it seems that its citizens are very eager to finally get cell phones

DailyTech previously reported on Cuba, at long last, lifting its ban on consumer cell phones.  The new allowance, enacted by Cuba’s new president, Raul Castro, pleased many, but some feared the phones would be too expensive to be popular.

However, it appears a healthy cell phone market has indeed risen in Cuba.   Alejandro was among the hundreds of Cubans in line at one of the state-run cell phone stores in Havana's colonial district.  A self-employed Cuban, Alejandro had long resorted to illegally using a cell phone registered in the name of a foreigner.  Now he can happily use his new phone legally.   He states, "It is an advance, like other things that are happening in Cuba now."

Mayerlin, a mother of two who was also in the line commented, "Before we had to get the line through a foreigner, who was the only person authorized to do so."

While the new phones will cost approximately 9 months pay for the average wage earner in Cuba, thousands are still expected to be purchased.  Gustavo, 33 years-old, was among those early adopters, willing to pay the premium, but did have critical words on the price.  He stated, "It is a very good measure, but what we earn does not correspond with the price."

The new cell phones will help Cuba, the Latin American country with the lowest cell phone use, get up to speed.  They will also allow Cubans to make international calls, an unfamiliar freedom.  Raul Castro says it’s all part of removing what he calls "excessive prohibitions".

Cubans now have access to PCs, DVD players, and cell phones all formerly banned for Cuban citizens' private use.  The average Cuban only earns $18 a month from the state.  The new consumer electronics are priced in convertible pesos (CUCs), which are worth 24 times standard pesos.  A cell phone costs roughly 60 CUCs and a line costs about 110 CUCs; together totaling about $65.  Mayerlin complained, "It is expensive for us. I can't pay that in one month or in 10 months."

She says that only Cubans who rent rooms to foreigners, work for a foreign company, or receive money from overseas could have such finances.  Others like Rosario Iglesias are just happy to have any access in the first place.  She states, "We used to go crazy looking for a foreigner to get us a line.  It is a very good decision that benefits all Cubans and raises our self esteem."

Cuban telecommunications monopoly ETECSA is running the cell phone effort, and promises to reinvest part of its earnings into further developing new lines.

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Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2008 4:13:55 PM , Rating: 1
Yet 50 miles from Florida we have a country the size of Virginia living under a dictator... $18/month? Private citizens just now allowed to have computers and DVD players?

How much of that $500 billion we have spent in Iraq could have been spent here to free people who actually want to be free??!?!?

By weskurtz0081 on 4/15/2008 4:49:09 PM , Rating: 4
Don't mess with Cuba, you saw what happened to Walt Disney-atron when he tried to eat Illian.

Not to mention, I thought we weren't supposed to be spending money in Cuba?

By mdogs444 on 4/15/2008 5:06:10 PM , Rating: 4
While I'm not against the war in Iraq, had that $500B been able to be spent elsewhere, Cuba should be the last place.

The whole point in not providing assistance to those countries is to force them into democracy by the voice of the people. Just giving it to their people would do nothing but allow their government to stay in control with the people being content with handouts.

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By eye smite on 4/15/2008 5:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for the longest time Cuba was allied with the late Soviet Union. After they fell, it was just a waiting game for Fidel to give into his people, die, or get retired which thankfully he now is. The fundamental shifts in their countries system are fnally happening and you'll see more freedoms for this country throughout the year. I'm sure after Fidel finally dies, Raul will revert the country back to having elections as it's most apparent their flavor of communism has never worked.

By Tordenskjold on 4/16/2008 4:42:37 AM , Rating: 1
Well, first of all the USA didnt leave Cuba any choice but to side with the soviets, when Fidel ousted a US controlled dictator.

Bay of pigs pretty much showed that in those days it was not a qustion about giving in to the people, the people had gotten what they wanted, with Fidel

Up untill soviets fall Cuba was probably the best American country to live in for the masses with healtcare, food etc, even now more people are covered than in the US.

In every country in the world people have gotten better lives after the dictator left, look at France, the soviet, USA etc. and much to my regret many dictators have been backed by the US the last 50 years.

Cuba is a dictatorship no question about it, but atleast its been one for the masses and not just the top 3%

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By dever on 4/16/2008 6:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
flavor of communism has never worked
Exactly what flavor has worked?

By dever on 4/16/2008 6:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
SIDENOTE: My next-door neighbor was an escapee from Cuba. He was a doctor there and worked to become a doctor after he came to America. He told us of smuggling food and antibiotics whenever visiting family. When he learned his father-in-law had a stroke, he told me that he would die because older patients fall victim to triage due to government control of the hospitals.

I can't believe that politicians today hold up the Cuban health system as an example to aspire to.

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2008 6:00:03 PM , Rating: 5
Yet 50 miles from Florida we have a country the size of Virginia living under a dictator... $18/month? Private citizens just now allowed to have computers and DVD players?

Yes, Communism sucks. This is how we won the Cold War. Not with military might. The Soviet Union fell because western ideals, merchandise, and products were slowly injected into the Russian culture. To put it bluntly, people started to realize just how much it sucked being a Communist.

How much of that $500 billion we have spent in Iraq could have been spent here to free people who actually want to be free??!?!?

We're in Iraq to ensure our OWN national security. Not to liberate the Iraqis, although that has happened. Are you suggesting we simply declare war on Cuba and liberate their people on the grounds that they are Communist and nothing more ?

This way is better. Cuba will collapse, as Russia did, and it won't be by bullets and bombs. It will be because the Cuban people wanted freedom, liberty, and of course cellphones and Coke Cola :D

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By EidolWays on 4/15/2008 8:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
Either that or it will end up more like China: an odd amalgamation of capitalism and communism.

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By Samus on 4/16/2008 1:18:25 AM , Rating: 1
As much as you all think Cuba is in the shitter, and how the states' put them there, remember...


And the same family responsible for that fiasco is still in power. So until that changes, neither will our foreign policy.

By Penti on 4/16/2008 8:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the US placed 15 Jupiter IRBMs ( ) with 1.4 Megaton warheads in Turkey in 1961. (Operational in 1961) They were removed in the deal to end the Cuban missile crisis.

It was basically a response to the US and not the other way around.

US still has hundreds of B61 nukes of varying yield in Europe today for that matter. They have always had the advantage.

Today US does allot of trade with the Cuba anyway as they are allowed to buy food directly from you. The food companies happily sell food to the Cuban government. As US is the major food producer in the world it's only natural.

By Penti on 4/16/2008 9:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
Cuba did collapse when support (through trade) and most trade with the soviet union and other Comecon states effectively ended. It did shape the Cuba we have today. With a totally different agricultural system, most food imported from US, Camel buses ( ), doctors sent abroad and etc. They hardly won't collapse today, they got it way better then 10 years ago.

China is a whole other story and they got allot of consumer electronics.

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By thartist on 4/15/08, Rating: -1
By Desslok on 4/15/2008 6:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
You are calling someone a "retarded" yet you are the one writing in caps.

Remind me what happened when your country tried to take the Falklands?

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By MDE on 4/15/2008 7:14:26 PM , Rating: 4
You're not my friend, buddy!

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By weskurtz0081 on 4/15/2008 8:13:19 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not your buddy, guy!

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By Bender 123 on 4/15/2008 8:16:23 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not your guy, friend.

By Ringold on 4/15/2008 11:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Call it, friendo.

RE: Champions of Democracy and Freedom
By Aloonatic on 4/16/2008 4:21:58 AM , Rating: 2
Just out of interest, how much of that 500 squlion dollaridoos has been spent on America contractors and American personnel buying American equipment with advice from American consultants, pushing money through the American economy all thanks to the American tax payer?

All sounds rather socialist to me?!

No where is perfect, how are things in New Orleans or the trailer parks scattered across the US, or the sink estates in the UK for example?

A lot of Cubans seem pretty happy with their lot too and mobile phones really aren't all that great.

They just mean that your never free from your boss or your girlfriend in my experience.

A world free from mobile phones would be a better thing in many ways :)

By dever on 4/16/2008 6:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
a lot of Cubans seem pretty happy with their lot
Yes, I'm sure that 200 years ago, some people said the same thing about slaves in America.

I believe one thing sincerely: People have a natural right to freedom. You apparently are unaware of the value of the freedom you enjoy.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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