". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cuba lifts ban on computer and DVD sales

] HAVANA - Communist Cuba has authorized the unrestricted sale of computers and DVD and video players in the first sign that President Raul Castro ismoving to improve Cubans' access to consumer goods.
An internal government memo seen by Reuters on Thursday said the appliances long desired by Cubans can go on sale immediately, although air conditionerswill not be available until next year and toasters until 2010 due to limitedpower supplies.
Only foreigners and companies can buy computers in Cuba at present, while DVD players were seized at the airport until last year, when customs rules were eased.
Now Cubans will be able to buy them freely, paying for them in hard currency CUCs, or convertible pesos, worth 24 times more than the Cuban pesos state wages are paid in."Based on the improved availability of electricity, the government at the highest level has approved the sale of some equipment which was prohibited,"the memo said.It listed 19-inch (48-cm) and 24-inch (61-cm) television sets, electric pressure cookers and rice cookers, electric bicycles, car alarms and microwaves. . . .

The new memo circulated within the state-run retail system said Cubans willhave access to a second group of products in 2009, including airconditioners, which are much in demand to help endure the hot summer days inthe tropical country.
If Cuba's electricity supplies permit, additional appliances to be sold freely in 2010 include toasters and electric ovens, the memo said.
The sale of many electric appliances was banned in the 1990s when the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived Cuba of billions of dollars in subsidies and oil supplies, resulting in an energy crunch and daily blackouts of as long as 18 hours.
Cuba put an end to power cuts in 2006 by importing hundreds of electricity generators run on fuel supplied by Venezuela, its main foreign ally.
Raul Castro has encouraged debate of Cuba's economic woes and has received a torrent of complaints focusing mainly on poor wages and limited access to consumer goods that are priced in hard currency.
In December, he said Cuba had too many restrictions and last month, formally assuming leadership, he vowed "in the next few weeks we shall start removing the most simple of them.
"Many Cubans expect the state to soon allow them to buy cellular telephones. While they will now be able to buy computers, access to the Internet remains controlled by the government. ]


Graeme said...

this is great news

Graeme said...

they need to open the internet, however

Foxessa said...

The problem with internet access in Cuba is that the U.S. regime refused to allow the global fiber optic cable project to include Cuba. Thus, though there is enough phone access for the Cuban intranet, there isn't cable band width for the country. Most suburban home owners have more band width capacity in their homes than all of Cuba has.

Few people know this. No matter how often people like us provide the information. It certainly will not be published or spoken of in the primary media.

Love, C.

K. said...

Are Cuban banks set up to distribute toasters on a mass basis?

Is the U.S. refusal to include Cuba in the fiber optic cable project yet another example of us biting off our nose to spite our face or what? That seems to be a habit when it comes to Cuba.

Foxessa said...

This nation has always been irrational about Cuba, which is why the Revolution and why the Revolution has not been overthrown.

Every Cuban has relatives who recall U.S. domination of Cuba.

It wasn't good.

Except for, of course, the surrogate ruling class.

Hahaha, the banking question and toasters. Personally, speaking as someone who has first hand experience of how most Cubans live, on more than one class level -- toasters aren't their number one priority.

Electric rice cookers now -- family size ....

Love, C

Foxessa said...

In the mean time we're getting ready to go out and meet with a Colombia amigo and get the latest news.

I'm deeply depressed, having had to hold dialog with many, many men about prostitution and how any problem with prostitution can be resolved by making it legal.

And for other reasons, which mostly add up to discussions about racism and slavery with people who insist, that slavery, like prostitution, is something all of us do every day.

Love, C.

K. said...

Nobody makes a good toaster anyway.

I'm for legalizing prostitution because regulating it potentially gives prostitutes some protection and would keep them from being arrested. Of prostitutes, johns (or should we say "elliotts"), and pimps, there's no doubt in my mind who the victims are.

The argument about it being something all of us do every day is cynical, to say the least. It's like water boarding: Try it before you offer an opinion that it's no big deal.

Frank Partisan said...

I heard Hugo Chavez, was going to be involved with setting up fiber optic cable in Cuba.

There are some Cuban blogs that link to me. Contrary to what Sonia says, there are hundreds of opposition blogs.

For my group Celia Hart has opened up some doors in Cuba, to fight for revolutionary socialism, and against the Chinese model.

Foxessa said...

K -- The systemic abuse within prostitution is intimately entwined with slavery and hatred / fear of women, and has been a global toxin since history got started.

Neither legalization of prostitution nor criminalization of prostitution will solve this. Either one keeps the systemic abuse in place. As it is the pimps and others who benefit from the exploitation of women and children pay off the cops, because it is illegal. If it is legal and thus certain safeguards and so must be in place, they'll pay off the cops to turn a blind eye, just as they do now. Our current record of oversight, safety regulation of industries from the financial ones to the food industries is abysmals and getting worse every year. No way will it be different with the sex industry.

Sex is and has always been the world's biggest business. And it's a rare person who provides the service that ends up benefiting from it. Mostly you end up dead, sooner or later.

Legalization will only make it easier for men to pimp out their daughters and sisters, to auction off virginity, etc.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Ren -- Yes, Chavez says he's going to lay a cable across the Caribbean to the Cuban coast. That would / will be fantastic.

The U.S. still refuses to allow Cuba to connect to the internet backbone nearest them.

Love, C.

K. said...

I guess prostitution is one of those societal cancers that can't be resolved without addressing the underlying problems, which in this case -- as you point out -- are as old as society itself.

Foxessa said...

K -- It would be so enlightening to learn via language forensics or some other new discipline, just when prostitution as prostitution and slavery as slavery began.

And who were the slaves and prostitutes. Alas that rock pictographs, as wonderful as they are, and the first writing, which was about keeping track of goods, don't deal in these areas.

Was there either slavery or prostitution prior to farming?

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

I'm not learned in Native American history of North America (or Central or South America, for that matter). But it does seem that prostitution wasn't part of the cultures in North America until the Euros with booze and guns arrived. But I won't swear to that.

Love, C.

**** said...

RE: Graeme's remark, "they need to open the internet, however"

A mate just spent a fortnight in Cuba. His first stop was a B&B, owned by a couple w/4 children. The kids were busily downloading music for their i-pods, purchased online (the i-pods, not the music). The computer was a well known Japanese lap-top, a cousin's gift. The kids said they also had movies; matey thought they said once someone had successfully download a movie, it was copied for everyone- their own version of share-ware.

Someone told him that there had previously been access to the internet through the Floridian Keys, but it was somehow disabled, and as Foxess said, Chevez is now initiating a cable hook up for Cuba via Venezula.

Today, the hook up is via satellites -slow and expensive.

He was also told that every family had a colour tv, purchased by Fidel from Japan en masse at a fraction of the retail cost

He also explained the electoral system and by the sounds of it, its more fair than our system, and certainly more fair than the convoluted US system.

a quote from
A Little Bit of History

After World War I, and in the wake of the great Cuban Telephone American Telephone and Telegraph Company merger, a long-distance telephone line system between Cuba and the US was created, including the installation of an underwater cable between Havana and Key West.

It allowed direct communication with New York and Jacksonville first, and later to Avalon city, California, in what became the world's largest telephone line of 5, 468 miles, which was also the base for radio broadcast between both countries.

This underwater CABLE was modernized in late 20th century to offer telephone and other services. However, the US seizure of funds from payments due to the Cuban telephone company has caused this link to remain inactive in the bottom of the Florida Strait.

Nowadays, all communications from and to Cuba, including data transmission by Internet, are via satellite, pushing up the price of services and limiting the flow due to low speed because of changing atmospheric conditions and higher costs of access to satellites.

Foxessa said...

Hi, Duch!

You seem to be new to blogspot, so, "Welcome!"

Thank you for your detailed comment that testifies to what you have experienced yourself in Cuba.

Love, C.