George Bush has announced that US citizens will now be able to send cellphones to friends and relatives in Cuba, an extension of the current rules which allow other gifts to be sent. We've covered Raul Castro's opening up of the technology markets in Cuba before (links below), and Bush sees this as an extension of that, although he's not sure Castro will play ball:
If Raul is serious about his so-called reforms, he will allow these phones to reach the Cuban people.
Cuba uses a GSM network, so most phones will work there, although with contracts running at around US$120 just to sign up, cheap handsets might be more of a political dig from Bush than a real help to the Cuban people. Bush again:
Through these measures the United States is reaching out to the Cuban people, yet we know that life will not fundamentally change for Cubans until their form of government changes.
The embargo is a joke, although not a very funny one. US citizens just pretend to be Canadian and take vacations, and Havana cigars are freely available (we're guessing the Bill Clinton wasn't smoking anything but the best). For the Cuban people, though, it means they can't join the modern world. And that's a subject close to our hearts here at G Lab. The upshot of Bush's whole scheme here is most likely to be the boosting of a black market in cellphones for Cuba's rich. Unlocked Cuban iPhone, here we come.