Reforms loom, but not capitalism: Cuba president

A woman uses the internet on her mobile phone at a hotspot in Havana Cuba

Analysts expect that Internet access will also weaken the government's control over what information reaches people in the island nation, having a monopoly on the media. The Cuban government frowns on public rebel and blocks access to such rebellious or provocative websites.

"It's been a radical change,"said state journalist Yuris Norido, according to Reuters". "I can now update on the news from wherever I am, including where the news is taking place".

All 5 million of its cellphone customers will have internet on their smartphone by the end of 2018, ETECSA said.

Apparently cash crunch, issues regarding information flow, or a long-running USA trade embargo, Cuba has dragged its feet in web access. Internet was only accessible to the populace at tourist hotels in Cuba until 2013. However, it has been the government's endeavour to enhance connectivity and, accordingly, they introduced cybercafes and outdoor Wi-Fi spots.

The proposed changes come as 58-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, a former provincial leader, is in only his third month as Cuban president, succeeding two icons of Cuba's revolutionary generation, Raul Castro and before him his brother Fidel Castro.

Last July in his statement as vice-president he stated, "We should be able to upload the content of the revolution online".

However, "the one-party system of government is also certain to remain intact", The Times says, enshrining a 2002 amendment to the constitution, drafted in response to an opposition-organised petition seeking free elections and the opening up of the economy, which declared that Cuba's socialist rule was "permanent and irrevocable".

Cuba rolls out mobile internet at last
Reforms loom, but not capitalism: Cuba president

The Cuban government said - in a 2015 document about its internet strategy that leaked - it aimed to connect at least half of homes by 2020 and 60 percent of phones. ETECSA President Mayra Arevich had told state-owned media last December that only 11,000 homes had been connected as at 2017.

But Obama's successor, Donald Trump, reversed that detente, to the dismay of many Cubans.

Most mobile phone owners have smartphones, though Cuba is now installing 3G technology, even as most of Latin America has moved onto 4G, with 5G in its final testing phase. Can we have slow claps for Cuba?

"This rollout will expand slowly at first and then more quickly, if the government is increasingly confident that it can control any political fallout", Cuba expert Ted Henken from Baruch College in the USA told Reuters.

Perhaps, the biggest obstacle to achieving the country's goal of making mobile internet available to Cubans is price.

It is reported that companies and embassies pay $45 per month for only 4GB of data while the average monthly wage in the country is about $30.

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