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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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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.

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