Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez: Access to Technology in Cuba

“I never imagined that a person sitting in front of a computer could have so much information.” ~ Jorge Luis Garcia Perez AntunezThe Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection on YouTube:

The Transcript:

In Tunisia, in Egypt, in all of the [Arab Spring] countries, they had access to the Internet and Facebook. I will tell you something that perhaps many do not know: In Cuba, that tiny Caribbean island that so often proclaims social justice and speaks of equality, access to the Internet is a chimera and is random. [Ordinary] Cubans do not have access to these so-called “spots” [Internet cafes] that have been located in municipalities. The cost is well above what citizens can afford.

[The Arab Spring refers to a series of uprisings across the Middle East that began in 2010 starting with Tunisia and spreading to countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and others.]

The regime knows the importance of information. For that reason it manipulates and distorts it. For example, I learned of Facebook here [in the United States], I have been here two months and I am 49 years old.

I was never able to open my Twitter account to check it. I simply would send tweets from my phone. By the way, it costs me a dollar, which is 25 Cuban pesos, the same as a child’s breakfast.

I accessed my Twitter account here in the United States a few days ago. I am getting to know Facebook. I never imagined that a person sitting in front of a computer could have so much information.

When I arrived in the United States on August 4, 2013, I remember that I arrived around 11 pm or 12 midnight. It surprised me that I was still sitting in front of the computer in the morning. I could not conceive that a person could have access to all this information and to communication. The regime knows it. That is why it manipulates, distorts, and spends millions to interfere with radio stations. That is why it will prevent access to the web by any means.

But even so, we Cubans, with our enterprising spirit, have managed to break much of the censorship. Many of us have Twitter, some have Facebook, but very few can open it, except those living in the capital. We have managed to break it. We send messages, which is very expensive at $2.35. We are talking about almost 40 pesos to send a photo by mobile phone in Cuba.

Despite facing inflated prices, Cubans continue fighting. We continue to do our part because we believe that what we are doing is right. But it is important to devise strategies, initiatives, and greater support for us to access the web.

It would be beneficial for us to receive, those of us who can access the web through embassies or other means, courses on how to navigate the web, how to send communications, and the rest. It would be extremely important. That should be part of the assistance offered to the Cuban resistance.

Look at all that we have done without knowledge of the web… Imagine how it could have played out if we had more skills. I think that the cases of Tunisia and Egypt are different from Cuba, but there is something similar. The same longing for freedom and justice that moves the Tunisians and the Egyptians, moves us too.

Imagine, yes imagine if the all the hypocrites out there promoting continued slavery for the Cuban people through deliberate ignorance or worse (sadly including Cubans who know better) … would get educated and realize the enormous consequences of those vacations to Cuba that only enrich the regime, and wake the F##$$%%@@##G UP!