Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Obama Gave Us The Internet"

I happened to be scanning the news sites...The Root, Black Matters, MSN, CNN,et al the other day and I came across articles about Black Cubans and how they are embracing the internet....

Now that President Obama has righted an age old wrong and opened up normal relations with Cuba...Young Black Cubans have reason for hope and are embracing the new tecnology...

The arrival of the internet in Cuba is creating new international connections between Afro-Cubans and broader black global cultures.

Just this past month alone,during carnival festivities in Havana and Matanzas, the opening up of relations with the United States was visible on many Cuban streets.

Amid the crowds of people enjoying the parades of Afro-Cuban music and dance ensembles (las comparsas), groups of local Cubans were huddled in open-air public spaces accessing the newfound Wi-Fi hotspots brought about by the agreed opening up of online technologies for Cuban nationals.

Standing outside hotels, on small cobblestone streets and in parks were Cubans of all generations chatting on phones, using tablets and typing on their laptops. A black Cuban woman in Matanzas using her iPhone to video-chat the carnival floats to her religious family abroad said, “This just happened a couple of months ago. Thanks to Obama!”

Previously in Cuba, Internet connectivity was one of the most coveted and highly monitored international relations on the island.  Between 2004 and 2012, to even be able to purchase an Internet card required a passport, and the unreliable Internet connection cost the equivalent of six American dollars an hour, Which may not sound much to the average American but to a Cuban it's a significant expense considering that the average salary in Cuba is less than Twenty Dollars  a month in American Dollars.

Legal email and Internet use was allowed either at the local phone company’s computer stations or at tourist-only hotels. Now, not only are Cubans finally admitted into hotels, but also anyone can purchase Internet cards that provide up to five hours online for about Ten Dollars in American money.
Wi-Fi (pronounced in Cuba as “we-fee”) hotspots are currently transforming Cuban cityscapes. People recognize these shifts in technological access and international connection as directly related to the opening up of relations with the United States.

Afro-Cubans are saying “Obama brought us Internet!” which they saw as a form of “black remission,” an outside resource seen to typically benefit mostly whites on the island (particularly those with family ties to early Cuban exiles in the U.S.).

So...You might ask...What does all of this mean for the Black brothers and sisters in Cuba?

Media technologies have been key in allowing previously marginalized communities to have access to transnational relations....Attracting a wide range of diverse practitioners globally,

This opening and relaxing of international barriers and influence has brought travelers and tourists of all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds to black communities on the island, and these visitors have begun to provide Afro-Cubans with formerly scarce international resources.. 

Black Cubans see Barack Obama’s mulato (mixed-race) heritage as key to the opening up of relations with the U.S. “It’s as Fidel said,” they declared. “We wouldn’t have change until there was a black president in la Yuma [the U.S.] and a pope from Latin America.”

I ran a meme on this very blog with that quote a few months ago..I got it off Facebook.The Castro “quote" (it’s disputed whether Fidel Castro actually made the statement) circulated online as a popular meme that depicts the former Cuban president, in a Nostradamus-like prophecy, purportedly telling foreign press in 1973 that the U.S. and Cuba would settle their differences only once there was both an African-American U.S. president and a Latin American pope.

With the Argentinian-born Pope Francis’ arrival in Cuba this weekend and President Obama’s second term seeing a flurry of transformations within the socialist island, this purported Castro prophecy certainly points to the power of race, politics and religious imagination doesn't it?

Many young Black Cubans see Wi-Fi accessibility as related to President Obama’s blackness. Young Afro-Cubans see more than just racial symbolism in the ethnic makeup of U.S. politicians. People expressed great admiration for President Obama, with feelings of excitement for a new age in which Cuba and the U.S. could put aside old differences, and they looked to younger generations for hope. (This inspirational Cuban message sounded remarkably familiar to the Barack Obama campaign’s 2008 slogan for hope and change.)
As the United States looks toward the next election, however, it is crucial to think about how different political regimes (such as a shift from Democrat to Republican) could impact the world.

 For Afro-Cubans in particular and Cubans in general, the opening up of relations with the U.S. has meant very visible shifts in everyday life. What might be seen as an “Obama generation” of young black Cubans is nervously celebrating the potential for more relations with the U.S. and, hopefully, an end to the woefully unsuccessful U.S. embargo. And yet there is legitimate concern that an anti-Cuba U.S. president(Like Trump) could crush this positive momentum, creating, instead, a return to the stifling politics of the not-too-distant past.

Please vote...Please vote Democratic...Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or possibly Joe Biden is better than any of those 16 clowns vying for the Republican nomination...
Vote because the World's stability depends on it.


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