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Comment: Re:Where the $900 ? (Score 1) 33

by isilrion (#49269949) Attached to: Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana

What's wrong with you? Why the hostility? I even said "I doubt they are getting any discount here, but it is possible". I did not claim to know the details of his arrangement with ETECSA, why are you assuming I know? It is a fact that some government institutions pay in CUP, and Kcho's account with ETECSA is by no means normal (for starters, ETECSA doesn't sell ADSL, or any kind of connection for that matter, to Cubans, and it doesn't allow wifi without tons of paperwork and oversight). Without knowing details of his contract with ETECSA (which I suspect you may know, if you are who I think you are), I can't state anything different than that. It is possible, but unlikely. The situation is already very atypical as it is.

Also, if you have more information, like where is this hotspot, please share. I haven't been able to find that information anywhere and it would be very useful to know.

Comment: Re: First post - from Cuba (Score 2) 33

by isilrion (#49269793) Attached to: Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana

or maybe a doctor wasnt paying attention a critical day

By that token, that applies to every country on earth. Believe what you will. I come from a family of doctors---Cuban doctors---including, what a coincidence, a neurosurgeon and an oncologist, and I can say from experience that the answer to the question asked is a resolute "yes". Of course, that is anecdotal "evidence" and not hard data, but I didn't see you provide any data either.

Comment: Re:Where the $900 ? (Score 4, Informative) 33

by isilrion (#49266605) Attached to: Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana
That said, the actual price Kcho or the artist association is paying has not been disclosed. If the artist association is footing the bill (either directly or as a proxy for Kcho), it may be significantly cheaper than $900. The rates in those tables are "public" rates, but government institutions often get significant discounts, such as being charged partially in CUP instead of CUC (that would be up to 25 times cheaper). I doubt they are getting any discount here, but it is possible.

Comment: Re:Where the $900 ? (Score 5, Informative) 33

by isilrion (#49266561) Attached to: Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana
Here. Look under the header "ADSL". ETECSA charges $890/month for a 2048/256 Kbps link. The article implies that Kcho is paying for that out of pocket. The hotspot is free for the users. Another article I read about it gave me the impression that the artist association could be footing the cost. In either case, the $900 refer to the price of the ADSL link.

Comment: Not clear from the summary or the article (Score 5, Informative) 33

by isilrion (#49266493) Attached to: Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana

$4.50/hour is the price the governent charges in the public internet cafes, not the price at this new hotspot. This hotspot is free. That is the news here, this is the first internet hotspot that is free and open to the public. This is not clear from the article or the summary. Both mention the official cost and that Kcho decided to make it free, but they don't mention whether he succeeded in making it free. He did.

Kcho, whoever he is, is covering the outrageous cost of ADSL. I wonder if there is something we can do to help him.

Comment: Re:How do I send my old computers to Cuba? (Score 1) 122

by isilrion (#48852761) Attached to: Cuba's Pending Tech Revolution

I second the AC above. (Replying to you so you get the notification). Donate them locally. A few computers or clothes wont make much difference and will probably not reach the intended target. Trying to get Customs to release computers is not fun, even if you have all the paperwork in order. Been there, wouldn't want to do that again.

Now, if you plan on going to Cuba and have stuff you want to give away, by all means, carry extra clothes and a laptop. Check what you can bring in without paying extra and pay attention if they write down the details of the laptop (it may mean that they are going to fine you if you don't take it with you. I've never seen that, but I've heard stories). If you fly in to a small airport, most likely no one will bat an eye. Don't stay in a hotel, stay at a B&B (I hate the name tourists give them, "casas particulares"). Hopefully it will be obvious who will benefit the most from your gift. Just keep in mind that those who work with tourists (e.g., your hosts, bartenders, etc) are statistically better off than those who don't.

Comment: Re:Toothpaste (Score 1) 122

by isilrion (#48852615) Attached to: Cuba's Pending Tech Revolution

I don't think they really have access to post-revolution medical knowledge.

They have. If you can read spanish, take a look at this book, around page 293. If you can't read spanish, this the end of Castro's quote: "And our country adopted, in fact, the decision of abolishing intelectual property." This was decided in the context of ensuring that students and researchers had access to the literature.

Not all cubans can afford or are allowed (embargo) to pay for modern books. But not all cubans have to: once the book is acquired, it can be photocopied legally... in fact, the government will photocopy the textbooks and loan them to the students "for free" (you pay only if you don't return them at the end of the school year).

It's not like they can go to pubmed or something.

Ironically... the cuban "ISP" with most home users, Infomed, was created to facilitate access to information to doctors and health professionals. Nearly every doctor can get a free dial-up account with Infomed. This includes retired doctors. I quoted "ISP" because they only give access to email and some whitelisted sites... pubmed is among them.

(Source: I used to be an Infomed suscriber. I am not a doctor, but there are doctors in the family. They still use Infomed.)

Comment: Re:Failed state policies (Score 2) 435

by isilrion (#48623805) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

1) Fidel Castro leaving the country for treatment actually happened, which is very obviously an option not available to the vast majority of Cubans, hence my quote from Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

Actually, you would be surprised about that. When treatment is not available in Cuba, patients are often sent to other countries. This is in no way limited to elites. Unfortunately, budget restrictions are very real. I wanted to share another link about that, but I could not find it. (Also, I have no idea re: Fidel Castro leaving the country for treatment)

2) They could have the best healthcare system in the World and I still wouldn't want to live there.

Indeed.

Nor would most people who value freedom and liberty...

Try "prosperity". I would say that most Cuban migrants leave because of the economy. Yes, there may be a causal relationship between the lack of liberty and the poor economy, but they are subtle enough that most don't even notice. I didn't feel not-free (though, in hindsight, I really did not have the "freedoms" that I now enjoy). Even some who thirst for liberty, seem to be seeking a better economy, to the point that some want to return to Cuba after receiving asylum in Spain. (Sorry, I couldn't find a source in English).

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 540

by isilrion (#47990711) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion
Meh, I give up. You are not worth it. Just illustrate your dishonesty before leaving:

So you're admitting that you were wrong to claim Gross had been convicted of "plotting against the Cuban government?" That's one of the three things you have repeatedly said he was convicted of.

attempting to smuggle illegal contraband (after successfully smuggling more in earlier trips), with the goal of overthrowing the Cuban government, financed by a foreign (and openly hostile) country. (You were the one claiming it was for "planning".)

Again, it was not only for planning. It was for acting on those plans.

Sigh. Again. He acted in Cuba. (...). But again, irrelevant, he wasn't convicted for sitting in DC thinking about what he was going to do. He was convicted for going to Cuba and doing his part in the conspiracy.

For crying out loud, no, they didn't claim jurisdiction over what the US decided to do. They claimed jurisdiction over what Gross decided to do in Cuba, which was to enter as a tourist while (not so) secretly being an american agent acting on plans to overthrow/destabilize the government. (I grant you that I said "decided to do" instead of "did", but it is clear that he did do it)

And he chose to do them in Cuba, where US law doesn't apply, and, *gasp*, Cuban law applies.

Offtopic, again! He was arrested for trying to overthrow the Cuban government as an agent of the US government. Where he did his planning is irrelevant!

Talking about Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher was your idea.

"If your conclusion that Cuba clearly had jurisdiction for every charge you mention was in any way valid, don't you think you could come up with a single example of a non-citizen being sent to prison for years for being a foreign agent?" (And several other requests just like that)

I also mentioned the actual charge, "crimes against the state", a couple of times. Unfortunately, I believe it is impossible to have a discussion about whether his arrest "proves" that the Cubans like the embargo if you can't even acknowledge that the charge was not "planning" by itself, but acting his part of the conspiracy. You deny the facts because you are so utterly convinced that the Cubans lack the right to defend themselves, that even trying to do it can only mean that they are purposedly provoking you in hopes of a retaliation.

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 540

by isilrion (#47970661) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Just like it did in this case. By arresting the person hired.

So, your notion is that an employee of the US government should be able to act freely in Cuba, and the Cubans have no right to stop him? Just because the "planning" took part outside of Cuba?

So he can be arrested for plotting against the Cuban government when all the actual plotting happened in the US?

Offtopic, again! He was arrested for trying to overthrow the Cuban government as an agent of the US government. Where he did his planning is irrelevant!

You'll note the guy you found wasn't charged with plotting against the US Government (altho he did that).

WTF? I can't... why would Cuba charge an US employee of plotting against the US Government?

And he chose to do them in Cuba, where US law doesn't apply, and, *gasp*, Cuban law applies.

[...] Which means that, by your own admission, Cuba has less respect for foreign nation's sovereignty then even we do in America.

Sigh. Let's see. The US sends an agent (among many) to overthrow the Cuban government, the Cubans arrest the agent, and the Cubans are the ones not respecting "foreign nation's sovereignty"? That's the stereotypical arrogant attitude that one hopes doesn't really exist in america. You are actually claiming that Cuba doesn't respect US sovereignty because they don't follow US law in Cuba.

I HAVE NEVER SAID THEY HAD TO RELEASE HIM PRIOR TO NEGOTIATIONS.

GOOD. THEN WE AGREE. So, what's your point then? You believe that "Raul wants the embargo to continue" because... Obama has refused to negotiate? (Also, you are arguing that he shouldn't have been arrested in the first place, therefore, you *are* arguing that he should be released). I dare you to point out any attempt at meaningful negotiation in this case that has been refused by the Cubans. And I invite you to look for the many press releases from the Cubans saying they want to negotiate, and the many from the US saying "no way".

There's no way man-in-the-middle problems can appear with those, and (more importantly) you reduce the chance Obama can claim there were no negotiations to zero.

Obama hasn't claimed that there have not been any attempts to negotiate. On the contrary, he claims that he is unwilling to.

the objective standard used is "what did those other guys do when they had a similar spat four years ago?"

I've already explained to you why this was different. They were US Citizens.

And still, that's the most similar case. They are also Cuban citizens. And they were charged for being unregistered agents (which they probably "plotted" outside of the US), and for conspiracy charges (which most certainly didn't happen inside the US, especially not the conspiracy to commit murder). They were not charged for being US citizens. Why you keep bringing up their citizenship is beyond me, Cuban law applies to everyone in Cuba, not just citizens... just like US law applies to everyone in the US (or everwhere the US can exert influence---"might makes right").

His planning wasn't one of the charges. Two charges of transmitting information, one charge of failing to register as an Agent. Transmitting information is something he actually did while on US soil.

And neither was Gross. He wasn't convicted for "planning" to be a US agent in Cuban soil, he was convicted for acting as a US agent in Cuban soil. That is something he actually did while on Cuban soil. He wasn't an agent chilling in Varadero, he was doing what he was getting paid to do.

(Also, "planning" were two of the charges against the five. The prosecution never proved that they had actually sent any information, so they settled for a live sentence for "planning" to do so)

Failing to Register as an Agent is (as I have already admitted) fairly tricky in terms of international law. It's one example of the US over-stepping it's boundaries. But (as you found out in your research) it doesn't get used very much.

No, it isn't over-stepping it's boundaries, not with this one. (But if you think it is, you must be enraged about the embargo, and about them sending agents to overthrow foreign governments). And yes, they are used, at the very minimum, as a negotiating tool. It just happens that countries rarely refuse to negotiate for their agents just so they can blame the other party.

I want the embargo to end. I just don't think the Cuban government wants it to end.

You want it to end by having the Cubans act as the US wants them to act. You don't think the Cuban government wants it to end because they don't just obey on cue.

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 540

by isilrion (#47957029) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

So your argument is that Cuba can make it illegal for the US Government to hire people?

Not at all. I haven't seen the "US government" jailed for hiring people. Therefore, whether the Cubans have the right to outlaw certain actions of the US government or not is irrelevant. In this case, they didn't even try. How do you imagine that would work?

He chose to do things while in the US that are completely legal under US Law. In fact most of them are actually required by US Law.

And he chose to do them in Cuba, where US law doesn't apply, and, *gasp*, Cuban law applies.

And again, you're bringing up the strawman of unconditional release. I have never argued that Cuba's only choice was unconditional release.

So, what conditions is Cuba allowed to request before the release? Because you insist on releasing him even before negotiations have taken place. Do you want them to demand conditions after they release him? If that is not unconditional, I don't know what it is.

As I said before, if they wanted to release him the time for negotiations would have been back in early 2010.

Because NicBenjamin says so? I gave you an example of a guy who wasn't released by the US until around five years after the arrest. And as you said earlier, very eloquently, there are not a lot of comunications channels between Cuba and the US. I really doubt Cuba turned down any oportunity for (meaningful) negotiation.

the objective standard used is "what did those other guys do when they had a similar spat four years ago?"

Oh, good, then. The closest case to this between Cuba and the US have been the Cuban Five. And we know what the US did. If there is another more similar case where the US acted differently, please enlighten me.

Read the charges against him. He got 30 years for transmitting classified information, and five for failing to register as a foreign agent.

Goalposts moved. I read the charges. So, your contention is that he was charged under two laws for the same action, and Gross was charged under only one? As far as I know, Cuba has no law requiring the registration of foreign agents, but it has one forbidding crimes against the state by foreign agents. Go figure.

Also, I doubt that the russian guy did his planning in US soil. As per your first argument in your reply, are you saying that the US can make it illegal for the Soviet Government to hire people?

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