Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dishonest Complaints

   Here in the U.S., there is the constant search for reasons to claim that Cuba is oppressive.  One of the common, yet more recent disingenuous complaints is the lack of Internet access for the people in Cuba.  We are supposed to believe that Cuba is a totalitarian country which relies on controlling the information that the people get.  I'm not going to go off in to a diatribe about how even though we here in the U.S. are supposed to enjoy the fact that we have a free press, but there is plenty of evidence that large numbers of people remain completely uninformed or flat out incorrect in what they believe to be fact.  That's a whole other discussion.

   What I will point out are some statistics about Internet access in the U.S.  It is an eye opener, especially for those of us who do have high speed Internet access at home and even on our phones.  As is pointed out in an article on "Counter Punch", "Naively, it has been assumed that the same conditions present in the developed industrial countries are also present in the rest of the less wealthy world. Yet, there is a digital divide that is not a function of politics, but of income."  Income.  It is quite simple.  The more income one has, the more access to these wonderful things is possible.  The same is true for countries.  The U.S. has amassed more wealth than any other nation.  In spite of this, in the Mecca of anti-Cuba rhetoric, Florida, 33% of households do not connect to the Internet via broadband.  In the country, 64% of people earning $25,000 or less don't connect via broadband.  6% of people earning $100,000 or more don't.  See the income factor?  In Latin America, less than 7% are connected via broadband.  I'm willing to bet that the poor aren't the lucky ones.  Has anyone here complained about this fact?

   Who are we trying to kid?  Are we supposed to imagine that Cuba's economy is somehow equal to the U.S. economy?  Is Fidel supposed to wave a magic wand and make the required infrastructure appear on the island?  The Cuban economy has struggled along, especially since the demise of the Soviet Union, yet not one person has been evicted from there home.  They may not have access to broadband, but there is no law preventing the people who are fortunate enough to pay the price from connecting to the Internet.  It is slower, and to us that would be nerve wrecking!  But the fact remains that Cubans are not prevented from using the Internet.  In a certain way, Cubans suffer the same problems that many Americans do.  Lack of income.   The less developed nations will always be a step or two behind the developed countries, but we should stop and ask ourselves if the inflammatory rhetoric in this case about Cuba is really worthy of our attention.  It is in my estimation that this, like so many issues, aren't presented to us honestly.  And if the politicians in this country were really concerned about Internet access on the island of Cuba, they would stop impeding Cuba's economy.  They would end the blockade of the nation and allow its economy to grow at a natural pace as opposed to being forced to participate in the world economy with two hands tied behind its back.  But our politicians haven't yet found the courage to do the right thing and admit its errors in its policy towards Cuba.  So for now we'll be forced to hear the usual nonsensical rhetoric and wait for Cuba to not be off limits to us and the much of the world be off limits (by our own doing) to Cuba.

(This is a link to the CounterPunch article I quoted> It is very informative.)

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