Cuban Faces 2017: Alexei Gámez, Computer Scientist

Alexei Gámez, computer scientist (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 December 2017 – A resident of Jagüey Grande in Matanzas, Alexei Gámez (b. 1981, Matanzas) has contributed to enabling a locality where almost three hundred residents connect to each other through wireless networks to exchange content, chat and enjoy audiovisual material without having to be connected to Internet.

This computer engineer specializing in cybersecurity jumped into the public realm this year thanks to his videos on YouTube in which he promotes the use of devices such as Nanostation and Mikrotik to manage Wi-Fi networks, an important task in a country where thousands of users access alternative virtual communities each day, among which SNet stands out as the most powerful of the networks not connected to the internet.

The Youtuber was arrested after an intense police search at his home and was threatened by an officer who accused him of the crime of “illegal economic activity” because he allegedly charged for the service, something that the computer expert denies outright. Hours after his arrest he was released and the property seized from him was returned in part, but he must still sign in at the police station every week.

Gámez was one of the candidates who recently vied for the presidency of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement, which Eliécer Ávila finally won when he was elected to a second term through the internal elections of the organization. The Somos+ Movement is a political group not recognized by the government, which, since 2013, is committed to a peaceful change in the political system and relies on new technologies to promote its proposals.


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Let No One Paint Anything! Only the PCC Can Smear … / Somos+

Cuba is ours. I am Fidel.
Cuba is ours. I am Fidel.

Somos+, Alexei Games, 9 December 2017 — The laws in Cuba are written, but they are applied in a selective and discriminatory manner. These two images (there are thousands) show that on the walls of public entities and institutions of all kinds, one can paint or place insignias, advertisements, graffiti and whatever else occurs to the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) even if it does not comply with any urban regulation.

I tell you all this because, as a member of the Methodist church of Jagüey Grande, Matanzas, it hurts me that we can not put a sign on the front of our temple that says “METHODIST CHURCH.”

Several times our pastor has made efforts to get “someone” to authorize the sign. The last few times, in his visits to the physical planning office they dared to tell him, “Why do you want to put a sign on it if everyone knows that this is the Methodist Church of Jagüey?”

Another justification offered was that you can not paint directly on the walls, though it can be done on a signboard with some measures regulated according to the law of physical planning. However, it is impossible to legally obtain this signboard anywhere in Cuba, except on the black market,  but that is another subject.

However, this municipality is full of signs and posters everywhere and none of them complies with the law that our Church must comply with. If we paint the wall of the temple, it is very likely that some sanction will be invented and that surely the wall will have to be repainted so that the sign can not be seen. But … Who sanctions those who have smeared paint in Cuba in violation of its own law?

Translated by Alberto