“What is your network called?” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on May 29, 2014
They meet on a corner, eyes red from lack of sleep, their pants on the
verge of falling down to their knees. They aren’t yet twenty and have
spent the night immersed in the plot of a video game. Greeting each
other they no longer use the popular “qué volá?*” nor do they mumble a
grunt, but they speak to each other in the language they understand
best: “What is your network called?” says the tallest to the other. “Bad
Team” is the answer that remains floating in the air.
With this simple exchange, the two young men have introduced themselves
and offered the credentials that are most important to them right now.
They have shared the essential: the name of where they can meet in the
web of wireless connections weaving itself over the city. Despite police
raids and the high prices of routers or an APN in the black market,
wireless networks multiply. They serve as a substitute for the absent
internet. Through them move games, documentaries, OS updates, pirated
software, magazines in PDF format, music, video clips, and the nascent
private sector publicity.
“No one can stop it,” says a teenage boy with long and agile fingers,
agile perhaps because of so much practice with the mouse and keyboard.
He is one of the creators of an extensive network that starts in La
Habana del Este, weaves itself through the mazes of Centro Habana, and
ends–with its digital tentacles–in the heart of San Miguel del Padrón.
When a police offensive falls on a part of it to confiscate antennae and
accessories, they immediately notice: “We notice that we lose users,
that they disconnect themselves…and that gives us the clue that
something is going on.” A virtual complicity unites them.
The government is right to worry; these youths are already living in the
*Translator’s note: Cuban Spanish equivalent of “What’s up?”
Source: “What is your network called?” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez |
Translating Cuba –