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    Cost-benefit, Right-freedom / Joisy García Martínez

    Cost-benefit, Right-freedom / Joisy García Martínez
    Joisy García Martínez, Translator: Unstated

    To Tweet from a cell phone in Cuba is disproportionately costly, almost
    impossible, and only comparable with the draining of the Cienaga de
    Zapata swamp, the eradication of prostitution, computer illiteracy or
    the forbidden game.

    To write 140 characters via a cell phone in Cuba, however simple it may
    seem, is a luxury few can afford and there are few people who enjoy the
    privilege of being able to access the social network Twitter because of
    the high price of this service on telephones and in hotels. One hour of
    internet access in one of the cybercafes, that are proliferating more
    and more in the major cities, cost between six and eight dollars, which
    represents a fortune if you consider the average monthly wage for the
    average Cuban is around 20 dollars.

    On the island, there are few who have a quality computer in their homes.
    Those who manage to break the limitations of this internal blockade and
    get a computer, then have to deal with the nonexistent connections in
    home and the high costs of surfing the internet on the island. Although
    social networks like Twitter and Facebook are not blocked by the Cuban
    government, like some other sites of a critical and dissident nature,
    for the average Cuban to access the, outside the monitored schools, is a
    luxury not granted to most. But before these critical hurdles, Cuban
    bloggers who are active on sites like Twitter have found other
    alternatives, although they remain expensive, they allow us to get on
    the network more often and to express ourselves.

    This alternative is through text messages of 140 characters send via
    cell phones and subsequently published on the accounts of the
    microblogging site. To participate in the social network in this way
    cost one convertible peso, around 24 pesos in national money, for each
    Tweet sent, something that many call "the luxury of expression."

    This option, as expensive as it is, at least some of the dozens of
    Cubans who have a web presence use. Access to the Internet, and in
    particular this latter alternative of tweeting in our country is as
    scarce as beef and tolerance. The officials say the island doesn't limit
    Cubans' access to social networks, and that platforms like Twitter and
    Facebook don't have agreements with the Cuban Telecommunications Company
    to allow free messages to these networks from mobile phones, but the
    reality is that communication is complex and excessively expensive for
    the citizen in the XXI century. An issue that makes me question the
    supposed social function of the Cuban telephone monopoly.

    This reflection brings to mind the solidarity shown by a person who
    recently recharged my cellphone from the internet, so I would transmit
    via Twitter the essentials of the hunger strike undertaken by Dr.
    Jeovany Jimenez Vega in Guanajay in March. Thank you, actions like these
    make me thing that those of us who want to communicate and express
    ourselves through tweets in Cuba are not alone, but be must analyze the
    cost-benefit, right-freedom that this option brings.

    3 April 2012

    http://translatingcuba.com/?p=17275

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