Cuba: Access to WiFi or When Ingenuity is Penalized / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on November 29, 2014
It is a paradox that on Friday, November 7, the 151st anniversary of the
death of a singer of innocence and virtue, the Matanzas poet Jose
Jacinto Milanes, at the People’s Court of Cardenas in the same province
of Matanzas on the same day two Cuban citizens are awaiting sentencing —
Rolando Cruz (age 46) and Livan Hernandez (35) — charged with “illegal
use of the airwaves” and “illicit economic activity.”
Of the five arrested only two were charged. Both Hernandez and Cruz,
instead of punishment, deserve recognition for demonstrated skills and
support for development looking to the future.
The frequency of this network, according to the propaganda in the Girón,
managed to link computers, videogame consoles and smartphones, across
more than 26 kilometers. It never interfered in the frequency of the
Telecommunications Company of Cuba SA (ETECSA), which means it does not
constitute an illegal to use of the Cuban airwaves.
The court, as usual, was forced and ignored that Law Number 62 of the
Cuban Penal Code in force as of April 1988, in addition to being
obsolete, has absolutely no concept of the use of WiFi connections and
without a law that sanctions it, there can be no penalty. That is: Nulla
crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege. (There is no crime, no penalty
without previous law.)
Rolando and Liván violated a resolution that had been signed by the
Revolutionary Commander Ramiro Valdés when he was minister of
information technology and communication. However, this being an
administrative order by a particular agency, the men’s activities could
only be deemed a misdemeanor and not a crime.
After five months in jail, under the terrorizing pressure of a process
of “instruction,”the accused agreed that the users of that network could
access the Internet. However, during the trial the magistrate called to
the witness stand five residents of Cárdenas, who said that the
connection was only good for gaming, watching movies, and chatting
The invoices for the servers were produced, and these proved that the
purchases were made in Canada and brought legally into Cuba. It was also
demonstrated that the accused charged not a single penny and that the
users had made only two monetary payments — one for 6 CUC and another
for 10. These were for improvements to the network infrastructure, not
The prosecutor — an awful neurotic and somewhat loudmouthed version of
the famous Dr. House — took the wild recourse of accusing the defendants
of “illicit economic activity.” She reminded the tribunal of the
guidelines from the Attorney General’s office regarding the severe
penalties that are to be imposed for such activities, because of the
“ideological danger” that they pose for the Revolution.
The defense attorney, one Nestor González, performed spectacularly. The
defense was courageous, convincing and articulate — but hardly
effective. The accused had already been sentenced way before the first
hearing. It was the usual: the idea is to make examples of the
violators, produce a sort of electroshock as a reminder and to
demonstrate that in this corporate military era the director general
doesn’t want any flight of money, as well as to ratify that the
Revolutionary government cedes no space.
Therefore, keeping in mind that in this case there is no crime but
rather a country that lacks a legal structure capable of functioning
independently from the mandates of the government, we await the sentence.
Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison and others.
12 November 2014
Source: Cuba: Access to WiFi or When Ingenuity is Penalized / Juan Juan
Almeida | Translating Cuba –