For the last year, or better said, ever since then Senator Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States, there has been a lot of buzz around the Cuba issue, especially among Cubans along both sides of the straights.
In Cuba, most have been waiting with baited breath for brush stroke changes of a policy that has been in place for almost the entirety of half a century that would establish normal relations between both nations. For the Cuban American community in the United States things vary a bit. Some, thankfully an ever growing majority, hope for the same normalization and for a minority the desire is to hold on firm to the status quo.
In the end it has all been speculation or in the words of one of the greats: much ado about nothing.
The Cuba issue will not be resolved with one brush stoke or even with a series of brush stokes, it wont even get better with wishful thinking, speculation and good intentions. On August 31st, an article by Jens Erik Gould was published in Bloomberg.com where the main thesis is that the changes made so far regarding relations and openness towards Cuba will be on hold until the Treasury Department takes further steps regarding lifting the legal sanctions that have been in place since 1992, which include and are not exclusive to, telecommunications.
The three telecommunication giants and Nokia specifically, are urging the United States government to ease a 47-year-old trade embargo that while in place will make it impossible for any serious telecom to do business with Cuba on any scale.
Obviously, and lets not kid ourselves, its all about money. In the end, I don't truly believe that Nokia, nor Verizon, nor AT&T really cares about human rights violations, (whether they be against the Cubans on the island or the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States), nor do I think they really feel for the families and the friends and the scientists and the scholars that are separated by these anachronistic restrictions. In the end, it's all about making a buck in a virtually pristine telecom market that could well represent the largest souk in the region of the Caribbean.
However, let's leave my personal romanticisms aside for a moment and concentrate on the substance of the issue. If getting the word out about what is happening in the supposedly better world "outside," what better way to do so than through fast internet access, better phone service and direct calls and roaming? Cubans would learn and know more about what is going out there and the world would know a whole lot more about Cuba. In the words of his Holiness Pope John Paul II "Let Cuba open up to the world and let the world open up to Cuba."
If this first step in establishing communications between both nations is allowed, what's to say that in the next year or two, these will lead to greater steps of communication on multicultural and multi political levels? Wouldn't it be grand if we could SMS from the Capitolio in Havana to the Capitol in DC and actually understand one another for once in a lifetime?
Lets put an end to this communication breakdown once and for all!