Cuba’s Phone Co. Sings the Blues

May 31, 2014 | Print Print |

Fernando Ravsberg*

Public telephones in Havana.

Public telephones in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES – The socialist state telephone company, ETECSA, complains about the competition from individuals “using the Internet as an alternative route” to supplant “the role that corresponds to the company” and “International Telephone Companies” bringing “heavy financial losses.”

It would be a good idea to put the managers of ETECSA in contact with their counterparts around the world so they can explain to them how to survive economically while charging less and facing competition from Skype and all other avenues of communication through the Internet.

Of course ETECSA hints that its poor economic performance is due to fraud “organized and implemented from abroad.” In that way an inefficient company is transformed by political magic into the victim of Zunzuneo (the USAID false Twitter program for Cuba) and the plans of the empire and the Miami Mafia that keep it from developing.

The advantage is that when the fault lies with the USA there is no need to propose solutions because everything depends on Washington. No reason to fire any higher up in the company because they are not responsible, nor make changes in company policies since the problem comes from abroad. Therefore, everything will remain unchanged until the end of the blockade.

(*) Visit the blog of Fernando Ravsberg.


What's your opinion?

  • Casey Strong

    Sounds like every monopoly phone company everywhere. They have had it too easy for too long.

    • Moses Patterson

      Here’s the difference: The phone monopoly in Mozambique understands that if they overreach with sky-high prices, that an outside private investor with foreign money will likely come in with a high-tech solution that will undercut the monopoly’s prices. The Cuban monopoly both enjoys the freedoms inherent to any monopoly as your rightly suggest AND because the dictatorship is the de facto owner of the monopoly, ETECSA is free from the fear of being undercut by outside competition. Big difference.

  • bjmack

    I don’t buy this at all. It’s obvious that the regime controlling all media and communication within the Island is terrified that those who want alternate means for getting info can be dangerous. It won’t work and sadly, the US could be in fact an obstacle in getting Cuba back into the real world with withholding the needed alternative.

  • CUBAQUS

    The ETECSA company is – according to well informed sources – mainly owned by the Castro brothers. It is part and parcel of the repressive system with control over communication as its objective. It’s second objective is to generate cash for the regime.

    Alternative systems of communication are shielded behind high tariff walls (prices of internet connections) and technical blockades.

    Skype for example has been blocked in many locations though hackers made their way past them in some areas.

    A recent post by Yoani on the subject:

    The Free Territory of Skype, Forbidden In Cuba
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/the-free-territory-of-sky_b_5425087.html

    • rodrigvm

      owned by the Cuban army no need to lie..

      • Moses Patterson

        Not true. ETECSA was formerly a joint-partnership with a European company. A Cuban shell company bought out the European company after a few years of joint operation. That shell company is owned by the Castros.

      • CUBAQUS

        I am not the one lying.

        The subject was actually discussed here in another thread.

        “In Miami, where Juan Juan Almeida García — son of one of the sacred cows of the revolution, Juan Almieda Bosque — lives, the news didn’t take him by surprise. In a statement given to an independent Cuban site, he commented that the acronym of the mysterious company is the initials of ‘Raúl Fidel Inversiones’ and was created one night over shots of vodka and ham canapés in a house in the Siboney district, west of Havana.”

        http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-telecommunications-are-a-key-piece-for-military-businessmen-ivan-garcia/

        Telecom Italia Sells Etecsa Stake to Rafin SA for $706 Million – Bloomberg – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-31/telecom-italia-sells-etecsa-stake-to-rafin-sa-for-706-million.html

        • rodrigvm

          And, of course, you believe everything that CapitolHill Cubans publishes? As I said befire there is a bridge in La Habana to go to Regla I am selling…

          • Griffin

            The information that RAFIN SA is owned by the Castro brothers comes from an article written by the Cuban blogger, Ivan Garcia. He lives & writes in Havana.

            If you would like to present some facts to support your claim that ETECSA is owned by the FAR, please go ahead. That would be more useful than your short, sarcastic comments attacking a source.

            “Telecom Italia SpA sold its 27 percent stake in Cuba’s Etecsa to Rafin SA, a state finance company for the Caribbean island nation, for $706 million.”

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-31/telecom-italia-sells-etecsa-stake-to-rafin-sa-for-706-million.html

          • Moses Patterson

            Why split hairs Griffin? Technically, rodrigvm is correct. What is ‘ownership’ but absolute control over something. Fidel and lil’ bro’ Raul control FAR. If rodrigvm wants to believe FAR owns ETECSA, let him. After all, who owns FAR? The RaFin SA holding company is just an excuse the Castro boys created to legally take the profits they will never live to spend.

          • Griffin

            The devil is in the details. That the Castros own RAFIN SA and several other holding companies controlling billions of dollars of Cuban wealth is a principle characteristic if the Cuban regime.

          • rodrigvm

            You are using a frame of reference (capitalist dictators like Batista, Trujillo and other of their ilk) no applicable to Cuba. I know it hurts, but is true. Don’t trust the Miami Mafia, they are the ones celebrating any chisme about Fildel’s detach in the streets of Havana, I think about 12 times…..Cuban intelligence is one of the best……

          • rodrigvm

            FAR was shaped by Raul when he headed the army, he sent officers to Scandinavia an Europe to be trained in management and finances (Social Democratic nations). Despite your right wing myths, there is no personal control of these FAR controlled enterprises, influence, yes, absolute control, no…who is the new head of the FAR?

          • Moses Patterson

            No control? General President Raul is the commander in chief of the military (FAR). Do you understand what you are writing?

          • CUBAQUS

            I take the word of an insider, son of a top Cuban official, over yours. Yes.
            Sell your bridges to the Castrofiles. They are the gullible ones.

  • jorgglez

    Don’t forget that phone calls from any country to Cuba are ridiculously expensive, around $1 US dollar per minute and this is because of the prices that ETECSA imposes on every other company in the world to be able to make the call go through. Still the Cuban Government considers itself as the big humanitarian who cares about and protects its people. They know there are millions of Cubans abroad who have to spend $20 every time they talk to their loved ones for 20 minutes. Until the present Government is gone, Cubans will still be second hand people. The good news is that sooner than later, this Communist Government will be GONE!