Nearly lost it! and the ridiculous story of internet in Cuba

I spent a few tense days last week, when it appeared that this blog had disappeared into cyberspace.  I couldn’t find my website and I couldn’t get into the website of any of my host or domain suppliers to update information.  In the end in desperation on Friday night I went to a friend’s house where they have satelite and managed to get onto my site only to see that there was nothing there but a page saying that if you want to buy this domain name go to this link. What!  They’ve disolved me and are selling my name to any Tom Dick or Harry.

All that time I spent writing and although I had some copies and could ask faithful readers to email me back the ones I couldn’t find, the task of collating and getting everything back, especially here in Cuba, where being online is about the most expensive and difficult thing you can do, seemed an insurmountable and desperate task.

The film school is being asked to pay a monthly fee of 11,000 cuc ($) for their internet serivce which is much better than the dial up in my house but a long way off what you folk in the rest of the world are used to.  This is a ridiculous amount to pay and we are still struggling to negotiate something more palatable.  In the meantime we are at the mercy of whatever speed they seem to feel like giving us on whatever said day.

This is the reality of Cuba and although I do not like to criticise when I write about Cuba, I really feel that this futile refusal of a basic human right has to stop and I hope one day before we are off this island.  Meanwhile my children are not allowed to go online, I cannot download them kindle books from their grandparents or music for me and I live with the stress of a clock ticking on my online life.  Hence that this blog and facebook are about as much as I can manage.  And the rumours are that the broad band cable is already working ………… so why so afraid to give the people what they want?

If you ask any young person in Cuba what they would like to change here, the first comment is always undoubtedly THE INTERNET, in fact the almost shout it in unison, as if, what a daft question!  Those of you who have been reading me for a while will remember my fear before I came.  Imagine a world where there is little connectivity,no wifi, no connected iphones or ipads.  I began to dream of an ADSL connection but that requires a letter from the Minister of Culture which could take months and will leave us with a monthly bill of $600 which I would feel slightly guilty about.  That’s a flight for god sake!

Here in Cuba the lines of the Stereo MCs (old favourite of mine) often ring in my head.

Gonna get myself connected
I ain’t gonna go blind
For the light which is reflected
I see through you, I see through you
I see through you, I see through you

If you make sure you’re connected,
The writing’s on the wall
But if your mind’s neglected,
Stumble you might fall
Stumble you might fall
Stumble you might fall

Anyway I tucked into the wine in my moment of grief, and had great fun at the first British Embassy pub quiz trying to forget about it, and then woke up the next day feeling even more tragic.  And remembering how my new Pub Quiz friend Kester had told me that he read my blog and thought it was really funny.  Alas no more I thought and I think I am about to lose my sense of humour big time.

The next day a lunch with friends in a beautiful restaurant with botantical gardens, I kept my misery to myself.  By Sunday morning before Nico’s Birthday party I decided to make an international phonecall to see where my blog was and my 2 and a half years of writing ……….

Needless to say I got it back but still a mystery as to what happened, as everybody I spoke to claimed to have not messed with it.  Was I hacked by some malignant force?  I had received a couple of nasty comments lately from some old stalking acquaintance who is somewhat short of a few marbles but with many technical skills.  But maybe that was coincidental?   Not much time to write today so I am celebrating by managing to post some photos although for some reason I don’t seem to be able to chose which ones so here is a very random selection of my nippers ………….

Saskia and Nico big cheek to big cheek


My boys with their Cuban hats in Viñales

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6 Responses to Nearly lost it! and the ridiculous story of internet in Cuba

  1. marvin says:

    Hi Jo, just wanna thank you for letting us know the things many of us ignores about Cuba, with all the information-disinformation going around one really doesn’t know who to trust, and that’s one of the reasons I follow you because I think you provide us with something different really independent and on the ground assessment of daily life there in Cuba. Thank you again an I hope tings do really get better with the internet pretty soon.

    Yours truly.


    • Josephine says:

      THanks Marvin.

      It is frustrating living such a disconnected life but writing this blog helps me feel a litle more connected with the world!

  2. Christina says:

    Lack of ‘real’ internet is the main reason I cannot live (and work) in Cuba – and why Angel and I have to spend all our money on plane tickets (cheaper than getting a connection in Cuba:)).. Please do keep us posted on that broad band. Besos de Dinamarca.

  3. Josephine says:

    Hey Christina!

    That is an interesting argument. How many people would return to Cuba with their partners if they had internet? It is such a short sighted strategy. Most of the time I just accept it and enjoy the good things here but sometimes the situation really gets me down, especially not being able to skype. I feel as though everybody from my former life is forgetting about me.

    If I had my 5 minutes with Raul I would tell him to turn this paradise into an internet paradise then the place could buzz with activity …………. but right now I just have to keep dreaming on 😉

  4. Bass says:

    I was a tad surprised to be able to buy your website, good to know I now cannot.

  5. Selena says:

    Usually that notification simply means you need to renew your domain name. It’s happened to me several times since I’m rather forgetful. Are you certain your husband didn’t pay it in the meantime?

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