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Comment Not the first time (Score 1) 59

It's not the first time something like this has ever been done. A politician in Mexico has been doing it for the past year with a state owned helicopter:

Admite edil ganar Guinness con helicóptero estatal

And the state government justified it with the excuse that "this type of aircraft needs to be in continuous operation".

Comment Re:Revolution? Control? (Score 1) 386

And yet one can easily take a short drive across the Canadian border (if one lives near it, as I do) and buy Cuban Cigars that are illegal to buy or own in the United States. Yeah, that embargo is really effective. The ONLY country that recognizes it is the United States. Every other country in the world trades with Cuba. Not even our staunchest allies join us in the Embargo.

Businesses that do business with Cuba can't do business with the USA. Some small shop in Canada can sell Cuban cigars because they aren't doing business with the USA. But seeing as the USA has the largest market in the world, this is a very effective deterrent in getting others to stop trading with Cuba. What about the ships that carry goods across the seas. Can they make a stop in Cuba on their way to the USA? No. And examples like that make things much more difficult and expensive for Cuba.

For what it's worth, I've been to Cuba a couple of times, and it didn't seem to me like the people were suffering too badly. I lived in Mexico for a few years and have travelled all over that country, and learned to speak Spanish there. Both times I went to Cuba, within the last year or so, I rented a car and took 1200 or so kilometre road trips, including jaunts across the middle of nowhere. And I just couldn't see how they were suffering any worse than tens of millions of people in Mexico. In fact, it seems like peasants in Cuba live much more peaceful and less stressful lives than those in Mexico. People in Mexico disappear, and the state is often responsible. The narco war is bullsh*t. People there live under a constant threat, a fear for their own safety. In contrast, people in Cuba have no sense of fear of crime. It's shocking. And I reject that I was only seeing what they wanted me to see, since we travelled pretty much where ever we wanted, hours on backroads, picking up passengers and talking to them, and so on.

I'll grant you a couple of things. Yes, they have a very authoritarian government, but I perceive it more like Singapore than a brutal dictatorship. People are free to go about their day to day business, but there are strict penalties for breaking the law. Probably not going to send out the death squad on the first offence. It's like the signs I saw in Singapore saying what the penalties were for things. Outside the bar it says drunk driving first offence, so many thousands of dollars fine and so many days in jail. Second offence, a few more thousands and a bit more time in jail. Third offence, you're going to get a serious beating/canning.

Second, they don't have the material wealth that we do. That is obvious, quite apparent, and not really in question. They have the bare necessities and few luxuries. Partly because of the embargo, partly because of their own economic system, and partly due to the fact that they are a small nation and don't have the vast natural resources that countries like my own do.

So, sure, it's a police state, they don't have a lot of material wealth, but when you take everything into consideration, such as the freedom from crime, knowing that they will always have at least enough food to live on, a roof over their heads, freedom from religion (i.e. they have lots of sex which many Slashdotters can't really say), decent medical care and education, they're really not suffering any worse than tens or even hundreds of millions of peasants in Latin America. Which is what most of them would be if it weren't for the revolution.

I can recognize that the upper class of Latin American countries would never want a Cuban style system, but for the peasants, the vast marginalized peoples that are practically forgotten even by their own countrymen in places like Mexico who just see them as stupid Indians, in the sierra of Guerrero for example, I fail to see how they would be any worse off living in Cuba.

The UN Human Development Index ranks Cuba slightly higher than Mexico. I think it is only fair to compare the standard of living in Cuba to other countries in the region with similar histories, not to the United States or Europe.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 442

I'm using an Android phone with Rogers Pay as you go in Canada. There is a configuration setting to disable mobile data, it's very easy to turn off and use with Wifi only. They don't sell Android phones on pay as you go plans, but that doesn't mean you can't buy the phone outright, buy a pay as you go chip separately, and disable the mobile data option on the phone. I'd be quite surprised if the situation in the US were any worse than here.

Comment Re:Posting for Team Stupid (Score 4, Informative) 241

I have never been to Cuba, but I know that getting out of the tourist areas and talking to the locals is not as easy as you think.

A tourist agent once tried to sell me a trip to Cuba. Among several matters we discussed was transportation. He told me tourists are not allowed to drive cars in Cuba, the only way to rent a car is getting one with a Cuban driver.

There is no problem with a foreign tourist renting a car in Cuba or driving around by themselves. The rental cars have a different coloured plate so the cops know you're tourists and will pretty much leave you alone. There are restrictions on the movement of Cubans throughout the country, I don't know what they are exactly, but white people in a rental car can pretty much pass freely through any checkpoint when crossing state lines or on the outskirts of the cities, usually without stopping. But if you're carrying any Cubans or other Latino people, they should probably duck.

Also, if you are a decent person and willing to stop, it is pretty hard not to have any contact with the locals since hitch-hiking is extremely common on the island, and the locals will not think twice about jumping in the car with you if you let them. Whether they actually talk to you or not depends on the person. My own experience is that soldiers and young women might not say a word to you, not that that stops them from jumping in your car to catch a ride, but guys and older people will talk to you if you engage them and let them know you're just normal people on vacation cruising around their island for fun and to get to know their culture and country. If you're nice and willing to finance it, you can even organize a pig roast or something and party with the villagers. But it helps, of course, if you speak decent Spanish. This is my experience as a Canadian, anyway (we are freely allowed to travel to Cuba). But, in honesty, I found it very hard to communicate in Spanish in the resort areas, where it seems like they have certain people fluent in English who are authorized to mingle with the tourists, and the others are probably under direction to not acknowledge any Spanish coming out of the mouth of a white person beyond the extreme basics, like "una cerveza, por favor!". I had a hard time being understood in the resort areas, but off resort, cruising around, picking up hitch-hikers, miraculously most people seemed to understand me just fine.

Comment Re:This is total horseshit (Score 1) 363

But the law specifically says you cannot possess such material. It does not state that you cannot *view* the images. Which means that while the cache constitutes likely proof to show that he did view it -- that is not a criminal act. The distinction you're trying to erase is exactly the one that prevented him from being convicted.

In the link to the decision you can see in the second paragraph that the Criminal Code of Canada apparently does make this distinction. There are two charges: Possession of Child Pornography, and Accessing Child Pornography. This guy was charged with possession, not accessing. If the charge had been made under s. 163.1(4.1) (accessing) rather than s. 163.1(4) (possessing), the outcome likely would have been different. The cops screwed up, it's as simple as that.

Comment Re:I've never had a problem (Score 1) 1040

The problem is that out-of-the-blue it could all change for you. They are keeping a record now of when you enter and leave (photos of your license plate or when they scan your passport going back into Canada), and they can see that you have a history of doing that. But if you ever try and do something unusual or make a small mistake, you could have a seriously different experience. Don't think it is always so easy for Canadians. It isn't. Even if you've never had a problem, your day could come. It can be as easy as mistaking what neighbourhood of Detroit you're going shopping in. Make a minor, innocent mistake to the front-line officer, and get yourself sent to secondary, then you might learn the hard way what everyone else is talking about.

Comment Re:Who cares about favourites (Score 1) 1131

Interesting anecdote, but if the file system is full, I'd like to think you've got bigger problems on your hand than evaluating the relative merits of text editors.

Unfortunately, this problem also happens when a user's quota is reached. If you ever edit website files on a shared hosting server with SSH & Emacs, it is something you have to be very careful about.

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