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Cubans Euphoric Over the New Regulations / 14ymedio
Posted on January 16, 2015

14ymedio, Havana, 15 January 2015 — The new regulations on ,
insurance, the import of goods, remittances and telecommunications that
the United States will put into effect with respect to Cuba as of
Friday, have already provoked the first reactions on the Island.
Although the evening news barely mentioned it at the end of the show,
the information passed mouth-to-mouth on the street.

Lilianne Ruiz, , received the welcome news and
noted, “This flow of people who are going to come, along with the
increase in the remittances, means the country’s return to normalcy.” In
the opinions of this reporter, “The Cuban government is going to weaken,
the only thing left is the repression and the restrictions. This will
make people more accurately identify the origin of our difficulties.”

Among the most attractive points of the new regulations is the
authorization to establish “telecommunications installations within
Cuba, as well as installations that connect third countries with Cuba.”
connectivity and cheaper mobile phones are demands that have
gained strength in the last year, especially among the youngest.

Yantiel Garcia was outside the Telepoint Communications Company of Cuba
() in Pinar del Rio. The teenager said that she hoped that her
brother in Jacksonville, Florida, could now help her with a
technological gadget to connect to the web. “If the American mobile
phone cards can be used here, my brother will pay for a data package for
me to navigate without restrictions.”

The “ball is now in the Cuban government’s court,” said an ETESCA
official who preferred to remain anonymous. As he explains, “The number
of visitors from the United States will grow and the country will have
to offer them a solution to connecting while they’re here.” To which he
added, “It’s a question of business, not of ideology.”

The families who receive remittances will also benefit from the
increased dollar amount that can be sent each quarter. The prior figure
was limited to 500 dollars every three months, while now they can send
up to 2,000 dollars to relatives residing on the Island.

At the Metropolitan Bank branch on Galiano in Havana this morning,
several old people hoped to complete bank transactions. Cristina Marrero
was one of them and she explained that she has one son in New York and
another in Atlanta. For this lady the most appreciated measure is the
one related to the sending of parcels in large quantities. “My sons have
furniture and appliances that they want to send me and this is an
opportunity,” she said.

For his part, Julio Aleago, political analyst, said that “Since 1959 the
Communist government has always tended to isolate the country from the
rest of the world and these measures will increasingly integrate Cuban
into Western free market values, democracy, participation, free exchange
of people and goods between countries.” With regards to the American
, still in effect, he said, “In the same way the American
government imposed sanctions on Venezuelan and Russian officials, that
should serve as a paradigm, instead of establishing a general embargo
over the whole country, punish those personalities of the military
government who have something to do with violations of .”

As of Friday, airlines will not need a specific license from the Office
of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to fly to Cuba, and this has received a
good reception on the Island. This afternoon at Jose Marti International
’s Terminals Two and Three, the news spread like wildfire.

Dayane Rios, who was waiting for her grandmother who had been visiting
Washington for three months, commented, with the illusions of youth,
“This time she had to travel through Mexico because there are no direct
flights, but I hope that for the next trip she can do it more directly
and cheaply.”

However, although there are no new regulations about a possible maritime
connection, many Cubans also dream of the idea. “Pick a place on the
Malecon, when the ferry comes all of Havana will be seated on the wall,”
one bike-taxi driver joked to another, crossing near Maceo Park.

Manuel Cuesta Morua finds, “The direction this normalization of
relations between Cuba and the United States is taking very positive. If
we think about the phrase let Cuba open itself to the world and the
world open itself to Cuba*, than what is happening is that the United
States is opening itself to Cuba, it is like opening the world.” The
opponent pointed out that “The impact on the social empowerment of the
citizenry, on issues of information and on the possibilities to manage
their own lives, is very positive, it’s going to help to ease the
precarious situation of Cubans.”

Dagoberto Valdes says, “I am in favor of everything that benefits the
ordinary Cuban citizen, the facilitation of travel, communication
between civil society here and there, between one people and the other,
I am in favor of everything that improves the quality of life.” The
director of the independent magazine Convivencia (Coexistence) also
added that, “To those who say this is oxygen to the Cuban regime, I say
that I am not a believer, I don’t think the Cuban model works and oxygen
only works in live models, it doesn’t work in dead ones… what is the
value of giving oxygen to this system if the structure of the cell
doesn’t work.”

Miriam Celaya said, “It seems positive to me that Americans can travel
to Cuba, that it will widen contacts between the two countries, but I
don’t know how this is going to empower Cubans as long as all these
government controls exist here, as long as free enterprise continues to
be demonized and there are so many prohibitions.” In the activist’s
opinion, “These measures empower Americans, but in the short term they
do not give Cubans back their rights.

*Translator’s note: A phrase uttered by Pope John Paul II during his
1998 visit to Cuba.

Source: Cubans Euphoric Over the New Regulations / 14ymedio |
Translating Cuba –

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