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Cuba This And That
Monday, November 28, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

A post-fidel Cuba, GDP and Internet access

ABC News has an interesting article entitled "How Should U.S. Prepare For A Post-Castro Cuba"

Those in favor of taking bold action — namely, trying to stop Raul Castro from stepping into his brother's shoes — cite post-9/11 concerns that any failing or hostile nation may become a launching pad for terrorists seeking to attack the United States.

Those urging a more restrained approach stress Washington's less-than-impressive record in Cuba. Some point to the deadly insurgency in Iraq two years after what Bush administration officials had assumed would be a quick U.S. military victory.

The Vietnam News Agency reports that Cuba's GDP will increase by 9% over the next year.

Speaking at the sixth congress of the Cuban Association of Economists and Accountants which opened in Havana on Nov. 24, (Minister of Economy and Planning Jóse Luis) Rodriguez attributed Cuba’s economic growth to its decent economy policies, particularly its energy saving policy.

Energy saving policy? Most of the world's reports have shown fidel is unable to provide energy to the Cuban people - power blackouts are frequent.

Plus, The Miami Herald reports that Internet use is limited in Cuba. And guess whose fault it is - yes, the yanquí imperialists.

''There is a fear -- a fear that is practically pathological -- of access to information,'' said (Oscar) Visiedo, who worked at the government office that introduced Cuba to the Internet, back when nobody there knew what it was. He now works in management information systems at Carlos Albizu University in Miami.

While Cuba boasts that it has computers in every school, a U.N. Human Development Report says nine of every 1,000 Cubans are Internet users, compared with 288 in Costa Rica and 44 in Honduras. Even Haiti, with 500,000 Internet users, has a higher rate. Other reports estimate the number of internet users in Cuba at 150,000.

Permits are required for individuals to own a personal computer, and another permit is required for a person to get Internet service. The article goes on to say that Internet cafes continue the apartheid on the island - the computers there are for tourists only. And if a Cuban were allowed to use one, the fee of $15 an hour is almost a month's wages.

What the U.S. has to do with these internal policies of fidel's government is not explained.


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