The always-on Internet we take for granted in the US is more difficult to come by in Cuba. Some residents subscribe to a service called El Paquete Semanal (“The Weekly Package”) where someone comes to your house with a 1Tb external drive and loads the past week’s Internet highlights onto your computer.
El Paquete is a weekly service where someone (typically found through word of mouth) comes to your home with a disk (usually a 1TB external USB drive) containing a weekly download of the most recent films, soap operas, documentaries, sport, music, mobile apps, magazines, and even web sites. For 2 CUC a week Cubans have access to a huge repository of media while turning a blind eye to copyright.
Cubans told me of children waiting anxiously for “El Paquete Day” when they’d get the next set of cartoons, music and shows.
As the US and Cuba move toward becoming BFFs again (or at least members of the same #squad), it’s a good time to review the history between the two countries, which includes slavery, the Spanish-American War, and the Cold War-era series of fiascos.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In commemoration of the event, the JFK Presidential Library & Museum presents Clouds Over Cuba, a tense and engaging presentation on the Crisis and, even more strikingly, a dramatization on what might have happened had things gone differently. This is really well done and worth taking 10-15 minutes to watch/listen. (via @alexismadrigal)
A pair of intrepid Americans go in search of authentic Cuban cigars in Cuba. It took them awhile to find them.
Revolutionary Cuba embraces an icon of the world’s captains of capital. The United States outlaws that icon because it’s commie-made, raising its price on the free market and increasing its value to the very state the embargo is meant to undermine. So the nations seesaw their supposedly opposing ideologies on the famed habanero. Perhaps, we thought, we could find a Cuban who’d tell us what Cubans made of these paradoxes, preferably over a smoke.
A 46-year-old Miami man duped Fidel Castro’s son Antonio into an online flirtation with “Claudia Valencia”, a Colombian hottie in her 20s.
“Claudia” and Castro exchanged e-mails, Internet chats, and at one point even used streaming live Web video to communicate. During “Claudia” and Castro’s Web romance, the dictator’s son never shared details about his father, Fidel, or any Cuban intelligence secrets, but Dominguez said he was able to get glimpses of the life of luxuries and freedoms the Cuban leaders enjoy while the people of the island nation struggle.
If Strangemaps wasn’t such a reliable source, I’d think this was a hoax. A small part of East Germany lives on in the Caribbean. Cuba gave the tiny island to the GDR in 1972 while on a state visit to East Berlin and it wasn’t mentioned in the German unification treaties. Commenters on the thread have found satellite images of the island in question, including this one.