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Digital Dilemmas

The State, the Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba

Cristina Venegas

Publication Year: 2010

Digital Dilemmas views Cuba from the Soviet Union's demise to the present, to assess how conflicts over media access play out in their both liberating and repressive potential. Drawing on extensive scholarship and interviews, Cristina Venegas questions myths of how Internet use necessarily fosters global democracy and reveals the impact of new technologies on the country's governance and culture, including film in the context of broader media history, as well as artistic practices such as digital art and networks of diasporic communities connected by the Web.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Contents

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pp. vii-

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

I had no way of knowing, when I arrived in Cuba in 1992, that my teaching trips to the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisi

List of Acronyms

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-34

Until 2001, the Russian government operated the largest radar base in the Western Hemisphere, located in the Cuban village of Lourdes, a few kilometers south of Havana. Set amid palm trees and tropical fields, the site at fi rst glance appeared to be one of the island’s rural residential neighborhoods of anonymous, post-1959 high-rise apartment buildings. However, a ...

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1. Inventing, Recycling, and Deploying Technologies

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pp. 35-66

“We need magicians!” Arnaldo Coro, Cuban communication expert, radio host, and cofounder of Radio Habana Cuba,1 knew what it took for early Cuban Internet users to eliminate distance. His frank admission in a personal interview applies in many parts of the Cuban “house,” where numerous obstacles block Internet connection, even as the officially sanctioned ...

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2. Media Technologies and "Cuban Democracy"

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pp. 67-97

Search for “Cuban students” on YouTube, and you’ll find numerous versions of a public meeting held at UCI that turned into an international media story.1 Six months prior to elections for the Cuban National Assembly in January 2008, Raúl Castro launched a national debate on Cuban society, inviting Cuban citizens to critique the state of the nation. The call appears ...

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3. Tourism and the Social Ramifications of Media Technologies

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pp. 98-130

In 1995, the newly opened, Spanish-and-Cuban-financed Meliá-Cohiba Hotel in Havana placed a computer in the lobby. The screen featured a hypertext tour of the hotel’s services and sophisticated accommodations, built solely for the visitor from abroad. In this monolithic ocean-front hotel, where an ice cream even then cost US$6 and a room upward of US$200, the computer ...

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4. Film Culture in the Digital Millenium

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pp. 131-154

Working in his bedroom at his parents’ Havana home in 1996, Miguel Coyula, then eighteen years old, began crafting special effects for his personally created films on a 486 personal computer. The computer processor was eight times slower than the machines he would use twelve years later to render the effects for Memories of Development (2010), a sequel to the 1968 masterwork by ...

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5. Digital Communities and the Pleasures of Technology

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pp. 155-182

A home television satellite dish, mounted on a makeshift skateboard, sits on the terrace of a home in the Nuevo Vedado district of Havana, ready for quick removal from the sight of thieves. This is not an illegal satellite antenna, as are so many throughout the city’s growing satellite television “market.” This home is licensed to receive the costly service as a benefit ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 183-187

In July 2007, Fidel Castro’s forty-eight-year presidency gave way to a “new” political administration—his brother Raul’s. Fidel’s public presence thereafter has become virtual, a pivotal juncture substantiated by his regular Web site postings, “Reflectiones,” televised images, or printed opinion pieces. That his presence still looms large in the consciousness of citizens was evident at ...

Notes

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pp. 189-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-219

Index

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pp. 221-229


E-ISBN-13: 9780813549101
E-ISBN-10: 0813549108
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813546865
Print-ISBN-10: 0813546869

Page Count: 250
Illustrations: 11 photographs
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: New Directions in International Studies
Series Editor Byline: Patrice Petro, Center for International Education

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Subject Headings

  • Internet -- Social aspects -- Cuba.
  • Social change -- Cuba.
  • Mass media -- Social aspects -- Cuba.
  • Cuba -- Social conditions -- 1959-.
  • Internet -- Political aspects -- Cuba.
  • Mass media -- Political aspects -- Cuba.
  • Digital media -- Political aspects -- Cuba.
  • Digital media -- Social aspects -- Cuba.
  • Mass media policy -- Cuba.
  • Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1990-.
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