Tuesday 16 January 2018

Revolution turns full circle as Cuba's youth get ready to take on the world

Children piggyback on hotel wifi in Havana
Children piggyback on hotel wifi in Havana
David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Every night outside the hotel where I stayed in Havana, hundreds of local teenagers gathered, jostling to try to access the hotel's wi-fi service. Local entrepreneurs have sold them an app, fashioned by local programmers, that sometimes outwits the hotel's internet security settings.

This hotel, right in the centre of Havana, is one of the very few hotels with wi-fi access. It is an obvious target for the information-hungry youngsters desperate to get a glimpse of the outside world. Each night I watched them waiting patiently for the faintest signal bars on their phones. Their unbridled happiness when they successfully logged on was a joy to watch.

Once connected, they then do what teenagers all over the world do. They chat on Facebook to friends outside Cuba, whether in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic or the US. They download music and share sites with each other.

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