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Forget About Sending Love Notes by Cell Phone in Cuba

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Already, in the early hours of February 14, we noticed that something was happening with our mobile phones. Any attempt to send and receive a message or make a call, ended in failure. It was Valentine's Day and many of the mobile phone users in the country came up with the same idea: send a greeting to the contacts in their phonebook. It did not work. The only cellular phone company in Cuba did not pass the test of such high demand and, come noon, its 1.3 million subscribers were simply "out of service."

Cuba lags behind all Latin American countries, including Haiti, in the number of mobile phones. Although the figure has grown since 2008, when the government of Raul Castro finally allowed Cubans to contract for cell phone service, it still is insufficient. Despite the high prices of calls and text messages, the cellular provider, Cubacel, has not invested a share of its profits in improving its infrastructure. Hence, the service collapses with increasing frequency. Holidays, celebrations, and Christmas are dates on which the use of this little gadget with a screen and keyboard is almost impossible.

But this logjam of messages is also a good sign, because it means that every day cell phones are becoming a more and more popular method of communication among us. Although nearly 20 years behind the rest of the world, the mobile phone has entered our lives. For people reserve their use for urgent issues or occasional greeting on the Day of Love. But at some not too distant future it will also be a mechanism by which we can call for social action, a channel to unite us and express ourselves civilly.