ETECSA, Internet and Cuban Society / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Some 0.004% of the Cuban population will connect to the Web.

Starting on June 4, 2013, 472 people (maximum) will be the daily human traffic going to a NAUTA Internet cafe, approximately 0.004% of the Cuban population.

The state-owned telephone company, ETECSA, is expanding its Internet services to the “population” — 472 is the maximum that can be served daily. The navigation speed will be 2 Mbps (megabytes per second) which is equivalent to 2 mil, 48 Kbps (Kilobytes per second), a speed faster than the 50 Kb on telephone connections and better than the satellite connections can reach speeds on the Island of up to 300 Kbps.

According to the article published in the newspaper Granma, 118 rooms will be opened, more than the 99 previously. The internet rooms will be identified with the NAUTA stamp with which ETECSA is commercializing its navigation services in the country.

All this has arisen with of the activation of the fiber optic cable obtained from the Cuba-Venezuela economic agreements. Which brings a space of freedom to the “supervised” world wide web. Where the majority of users will be human rights defenders on the Island. Thus the government is certain to control the population’s use of this technology.

One measure that has come to light is the prohibition on voice traffic. But it reflects the free navigation as well as the ups and downloads with equal status. The cost will drop to 3 CUC (over $3 U.S.) equivalent to 75 Cuban pesos.

The Cuban population has unreasonably delayed access to technology, where all these technological changes itself bring social blockade. The aging of the population will be a critical factor, as older people will show little interest to the coming changes as reflected the inability of people to navigate cyberspace.

3 June 2013

Cuban Hospitals Don’t Offer Complete Service / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

The poor hygiene threatens the health of the patient

The Julio Trigo and The Dependent Hospitals don’t offer full service. Doctors choose to give basic treatment to avoid complications due to lack of hygiene and the poor condition of patient rooms.

An unnamed doctor “Julio Trigo” says that he has been forced to send patients for home treatment. “I should not be so, but the hospital is horrifying conditions, cockroaches walking through walls, this is a disaster!” Says the doctor.

Julio Trigo Hospital is the main one for the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo and The Dependent Hospital is one of the main hospitals for the municipality of Cerro. They have lost the confidence of the residents of the two areas, according to  the comments of delegates (one delegate from Cerro and one from Arroyo Naranjo) from each municipality, who did not want to be identified.

An unnamed doctor at “Julio Trigo” says that he has been forced to send patients home for treatment. “I should not be so, but the hospital conditions are horrifying, cockroaches walking along walls, this is a disaster!” Says the doctor.

Marielena Garcia, 45, accompanying a patient explains she was waiting for her mom to get better to take her from the hospital to finish the treatment at home. “I was sitting on the side of the bed and a cockroach dropped on my face. The beds are dirty, you even get the smell of urine, you have to bring several sheets to avoid complications of infection,” says Garcia.

An unnamed doctor at The Dependent Hospital says that all the patients who come to the hospital complain about dirt. “It’s a risk to send the patient home, but better than the complications with bacteria,” said the doctor.

Alfredo Gonzalez, 32, says that in the middle of 2012 he went to The Dependent Hospital with a deep machete wound and almost lost his leg to an infection acquired from instruments that weren’t disinfected.

Maria Rodriguez, 48, says she’s complained about the management, but never had the chance to see the hospital director in person.

The country has refurbished hospitals in the capital, but after a year many are back to the previous bad condition. The chairs, the beds and the drinking fountains reflect the care of the people and the workers.

20 May 2013

How Can We Help? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

How can we help?  Was one question asked of the blogger Yoani Sánchez in Miami. Where people like the Cuban-American Felice Gorordo and his friend the Frenchman Philippe Houdard were present at the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts. When the same question was also asked: How can we help?

The two friends agreed to send materials to Cuba and to establish a new collection point at Pipeline, a work area in Brickell Avenue owned by Houdard and used primarily by employers in the digital age.

Sanchez had given a response several times, how people could help. Sending to Cuba laptops, USB flash drives, cell phones that work on the island, tablets and iPads, CDs and DVDs. Everything that can serve to improve communication and information for Cubans.

But who is responsible for this task? The arrival of this help for everyone is very important for the Cuban opposition.

It is also true that the Cuban opposition on the island is made up of people who want real change and the implementation of human rights. But there are also opportunistic individuals who are pursuing the material for personal gain, thus creating obstacles to the people who need the technology or help to develop their work.

I would be inclined to focus on two people who have shown me that all this help reaches the right hands. Yoani Sanchez and Reinaldo Escobar are the ones!

13 May 2013

Capriles’s Defeat Shows His Victory / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

The difference in vote totals was only about 300,000 people.

The votes of the Venezuelan people have brought to light an almost equal balance in the presidential decision.

With 50.66% for Nicolas Maduro and 49.07% for Capriles, the now elected president Maduro, looking at the final decision, said in response to the vote totals, “If I lose by one vote, or win by won vote, it has to be respected.”

Maduro knows that the fight is over, as demonstrated by the votes. Capriles, for his part, reaffirms that he followers and he’s capable of changing the destiny of Venezuela.

These are the days of a government where the actions will be taken by Maduro, the current president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Where his capacity as leader will be used for the interests of the Castro regime.

A Cuban intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela that will intensify as the days go on until taking over, it becomes almost a colony of the Castros, but with this difference that this country has resources than can feel the wings of the ambition of the Cuban regime.

Today more than ever Capriles must be keep his eyes wide open as any slip by Maduro can open the doors of the presidency to Capriles.

22 April 2013

The Era of Broken ATM Cash Machines / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Several banks in the capital’s municipalities have broken ATM cash machines, which makes it hard for people to get their money.

In Cuba the use of technology to facilitate and expedite service to the population in the metropolitan banks, fails to live up to the same services and technology of other Latin American countries.

Ana C. Jimenez, 45, says she lives near the metropolitan bank that is next to Quinta Canarias — a center for people with psychological problems — in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo.

“Every time I go to take money out, the ATM is broken, and this is a bank that’s always full of people and there’s one line for all transactions,” Jimenez said.

The simplicity of having a magnetic card to withdraw money from any ATM is complicated. The truth is that many people don’t want to travel long miles to avoid the huge lines at banks, but many complain they have no choice but join those lines, and then spend long hours of waiting to get the money to buy food.

One problem that affects these services is maintenance, the State enterprises, as usual, exploit the equipment until it stops working. Then when it breaks they repair it, instead of maintaining it so so it doesn’t break. By not tracking the maintenance, the machines break more often and it shortens their useful life, and causes problem for citizens.

The truth is that, meanwhile, the technology is out of service, and instead of maintaining and caring for it so it functions efficiently, citizens are stuck in lines for several hours.

8 April 2013

90% of the private cars in Cuba don’t offer any protection to drivers and passengers / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Most of the private cars in Cuba are old, built around 1939, 1941, 1955 etc. None of them have seat belts or airbags, which increases the number of fatalities in an accident.

Private cars don’t have seat belts or airbags at the steering wheel. Also government vehicles are like this too, and their passengers a vulnerable in any accident.

A government driver in the Instituto Nacional de Educación Física y Recreación (INDER), who preferred to remain anonymous says “I have been driving a (Russian made) Lada 2107 for two years and it hasn’t had seat belts since the day they gave it to me.”

A mounted policeman explained that most of the traffic is made up of old cars. “Many of the old cars have brakes which rely on water with detergent in place of proper brake fluid” explained the traffic cop.

Ricardo López, 35-years-old, says he has a friend who places his trust in water and detergent rather than spend money on brake fluid. “The reality is that drivers trying to save money don’t buy brake fluid,” added López

The modifications to the old cars: exchanged motors, transmissions, gearboxes, and even loss of the structure of the vehicle in order to get more people in. These things are everywhere in the streets offering private transport services, “But nobody bothers about safety,” says Carlos Ramírez, aged 42, a passenger.

Adrian González, 32, comments that the car he is driving is a ’52 Chevrolet, “the car has had its chassis modified to carry more people,” says González

An accident in Independence Avenue (Boyeros) is usually catastrophic.

Independence Avenue is one of the roads where you get many old adapted cars, which are made into racing cars and which are driven at excessive speed.

Private cars are mostly ancient machines with a very rigid chassis which in turn adds to the danger because they it do not absorb the force of the impact, while modern cars are designed to absorb the force of impact, as well as having the benefit of seat belts and air bags on the steering wheel.

But not everyone has the opportunity to buy a one- to three-year-old car. The economy doesn’t permit it, the old crates are more affordable in terms of paying back the loan.

Translated by GH

25 March 2013

Cancer, A Mortal Illness / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

he early death of Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, president of the Republic of Venezuela, brings with it instability for the country and those allied with him.

With the death of the leader the opportunity to take power is knocking on Capriles’ door. In a country in mourning, the political opponents are gathering their forces to attack the violations of the constitution without concern for the pain of the rank and file Chavista and family members.

The opportunity presents itself but not right now. Continue reading

State Security Imposes Itself / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Blockade, Aggressions, Manipulation

Blockade, Aggressions, Manipulation

With the arrival of the anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the Cuban martyr and human rights defender on the Cuban island, hundreds of arrests were carried out in order not to allow any festive and peaceful festive activity on the part of the opposition to the Castro regime.

A party such as the Hard Frontline, with an office in Los Pinos neighborhood, was besieged and some were locked up for no reason.

We are going through a transition, if they comply with the guidelines agreed at the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. These five years will be the last that will under the thumb of Raul Castro and there will be a weakening of totalitarian power and a coming of the path of true democracy.

But if so will these be unforgettable years for the Cuban opposition?

State Security and its support brigades (keeping the regime’s boots clean) are becoming more violent. Each anniversary of a death of Cuban dissidents leads to several arrests, repudiation rallies, persecutions, “accidents,” or unwanted trips.

On anniversaries like these the Human Rights Commission in Cuba will report simultaneous arrests and the rate of arrests of dissidents in Cuba will increase.

The fight for some is on time, for others, this would be an opportunity for the Cuban Dream: democracy and freedom from all political taboos.

25 February 2013

Why Vote / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

1360619150_indexThese have been rigorous days on the island of Cuba, the first elections after the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. Full of bureaucracy, an evil that affects us deeply.

For whom will you vote? Few ask because they don’t have political information. Candidates with full resumes but nothing to identify what they are thinking. What the candidate himself brings; a degree or PhD, an internationalist or a simple worker and, the most praised, the “fighters”. They are only recommendations to choose who will represent you at higher levels.

The functions of a delegate for your area is is nothing more than to raise or take to the legislative body the needs of the citizens which they carry on their shoulders (they are the ones who represent you in government). But the word they do benefits themselves. If the delegate himself has “problems” there is no chance for others in need until their problems are solved. Although the delegate will always have problems and if you want to solve a problem, it is only with a bribe that most of your problems will be resolved.

“Then why vote?” says Érica González, 43.

Why have elections? It is a way for the government to show the world that “democracy” exists in Cuba.

With the manipulation of 53 years they become increasingly more skilled, the experience makes them stronger in managing to deceive the world with their intelligence maneuvers.

11 February 2013

Cuba Takes Advantage of Hugo Chavez’s Illness / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesThe Cuban government takes advantage of the situation of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to assume the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

As everyone knows, the health outlook of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is not entirely favorable. He is beset by complications such as heart failure or respiratory infection, not yet controlled. There are speculations that Chavez will not win this battle, because overcoming cancer is very difficult. Continue reading

Cholera Came to Stay / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

images

Avoid cholera. Wash your hands well.

With the outbreak of Cholera in the eastern provinces, to cite an example: Granma province.  Result of contaminated or stagnant water for several days.  Citizens obliged to store water because of declining supplies on the part of state entities.

When the outbreak’s development reached its peak, the government took small, practically secret measures.  Many of the Cuban citizens resident in other provinces, principally the Havanans, found out about the problems in the east of the country by rumors finally proven by an advisory notice from the Minister of Public Health, in which he said that there was a total of three deaths, all of them older (elderly) and several infections.  “But the outbreak was controlled,” said the source.

When the government decided to take measures on the trips from any province to the affected corners.  Already many Havanans with relatives came and went from the affected places.  Because of having taken the measure of suspending trips to the affected provinces, it was not the correct solution.  With a short note of important character, alerting Cuban citizens that no matter the means or how important the problems were, not to travel to the country’s east.  Because of having a Cholera outbreak in said areas.

The government knows that Cubans do not use the state transportation routes to the provinces. More trips occur on their own than as passage from the bus terminal, on trains, or the airport.

Today in the Cuban capital we are facing the same problems as in the east.  We have an outbreak of Cholera that the authorities have not wanted to recognize.  With meetings in the education centers alerting their workers that there is an outbreak of “acute diarrhea.”  A township like that of “Cerro,” already four known deaths from the virus.

How did said outbreak occur?

Preparation for years that the island had in losing little by little the public sanitation, the international doctors or the foreign students.  Many of them coming from poor places and away from civilization.  Where illnesses like Cholera, AIDS, etc., have developed strongly.

Drinking water contaminated by sewage water, result of the exploitation that the hydraulic networks suffer that on letting the water flow gives way to the entry of rubbish.  By having breakdowns in the main networks mentioned.

Today the country has a very poor public health service, the loss of customs on the part of Cuban society, bureaucracy that delays taking action to eradicate something.  They make of the locality an area where illnesses are favored.

Translated by mlk

January 21 2013

Massive Migration / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesThe Migration Law will show its true face. As announced, today the new amendments go into effect today.

As expected, today is a day when many Cubans who want to know new frontiers can be secure in knowing that they will not be denied in the acquisition of Cuban passport, their noses pressed against the gates of travel and migration.

People whose ideas differ from those of the Castro regime, will be the most demanding of, and the most rejected, in possessing such a document. In some cases they will obtain a passport to travel but they will have to sign an agreement not to return to their native country until there is a change of government. It is argued that they are of great danger for the government.

The Cuban passport has a very clear objective to prevent people with scientific, political, and other important interests from leaving. The government will make them suffer for their desire to learn, and they will regret having chosen their careers.

The wait for the fortunate will fall like a bucket of cold water. The letter of invitation to travel has been eliminated, but there are other requirements tied to being Cuban citizens.

History has always shown that the ingenuity is need to achieve one’s goals, optimism always helps to brings positive energy, but with this system nothing is clear, a yes is a no and a no is a no.

The territorial migration offices are never crowded and you enter them with great demand for bribes to immigration authorities.

Anyway, the truth comes to light, those mistaken will acknowledge their wrong version, but opponents of the government, they will recognized their great prediction.

January 14 2013