Cuba Citizens Can Now Buy Computers, But No Internet AccessS

Things are looking up for the citizens of Cuba, who—after getting the "right" to buy cellphones, microwaves, and other electronic goods— can now legally own home computers for the first time. Good news for poor Cubans, who are still living under the bloody tyranny of the Castro Bros. and the destructive U.S. blockade. The catch: still no access to the Internet (not to mention most basic Human Rights.)

On Friday, a Havana shopping mall began selling QTECH PCs, a tower-style desktop running Windows XP with 80GB of memory, 512 MB RAM and Intel Celeron processors (how US-made Intel processors can get into the island is still not clear.) At roughly $800 for an entire package including a CRT monitor and keyboard/mouse, the QTECH is out of reach for most of Cuba's residents, who earn an average of $20 a month.

Internet access will remain restricted to certain workplaces, schools and universities on the Island. The government has argued that the net would be more widely available if Cuba wasn't blocked from connecting to undersea cables because of the embargo. But considering their Internet policies include allowing email addresses only for "trusted" journalists, their media is state-controlled, and the little fact that there's no such thing as "freedom of expression" over there, the embargo excuse sounds more like another cheap attempt to keep tight control of the people on the island. [BBC]