From Virtuality to Reality / Regina Coyula

Graphic: Publish and find announcements of: Purchase, sale and rental of houses; purchase and sale of cars and parts; classifieds, cellphones, work, nightlife and friends. Ads using only your email. Create your own website and advertise your business on the internet. Express your opinion in our discussion forums.

The story of a young Cuban who is now a rich man thanks to his computer skills came to me the week before last through an acquaintance who attended a lecture by businessman Carlos Saladrigas. This young man came to my attention again in the news on the blog Café Fuerte, for the creation of Yagruma, a crowdfunding platform to help artistic projects on the island. Our initiative flourishes with the little “filip” he gave it.

Less showy, but much more comprehensive,, despite the difficulties of accessing it from Cuba, is undoubtedly the most visited site after Google, email accounts, Wikipedia and the viral Facebook. Its distinctive feature is that Revolico is a site created exclusively for Cuba. We can find classifieds, swaps, sales of all types, ads for private restaurants and other services, rental of rooms or houses, and even a matchmaking section.

The popularity of the site has done nothing but grow; and now you can find — on the windshield of your car, under your door, or behind the plastic panels of the Chinese-make Yutong buses — some flyers that advertise another site: Cubí With a profile similar to that of Revolico but with the addition of discussion forums and other online services.

Far from being in competition, both sites have joined together. Hence, there is no doubt they have created a platform that will increase their influence in the emerging virtual life in Cuba. The filters the government tries to put on them are useless: so far people have accessed them despite their being banned on several national internet servers, and will continue to do so.

With regards to support platforms, we hope to see them multiply via PYMES* (can it be?) and, why not, for many civil society projects, and that ghost of a fiber cable will be an additional partner.

*Translator’s note: PYME is an acronym for “Small and Medium Size Enterprises”

February 20 2012