The development of new technologies in Cuba moved the longstanding practice of informal exchange and black market into the digital arena.
In the early 2000s distribution lists by email proliferated, where users sent their interests in buying or selling, but in a very precarious and disorganized way.
“Revolico is born”
Taking advantage of the situation, several national engineers settled abroad created a website that optimizes search. It was named “Revolico.com” appealing to a word much used in Cuba to describe the mess and clutter.
The positioning of the site is high, because in the last 60 days accumulated 337,335 ads, but remains largely blocked from the public domain servers.
To confirm its usefulness you just ask some Cubans. “When looking for an article the most effective way is to search in Revolico because at state stores they are too expensive or you don’t find them. I got my air conditioner for the off-line version of this site, “Sandy Azorin says.
This worker of a bakery chain acquires digital files often sold illegally through hard drives, which in Cuba is known as “The Pack”. Thus he gets from pirated films and soup operas to magazines in PDF or portable version of the aforementioned classified site and is the main source of audiovisual consumption in households in the country.
“Dto2″, the official “competition”
The debate on Revolico and similar pages that have also emerged returned after news that a company of the Ministry of Transport has launched its own internet ads site: dto2 (Of All).
“It is not a Cuban Revolico, I rather think it as a Cuban solution to Cuban needs,” the head of the development team, Jorge Garcia, said, although other network users differ from his perspective.
“The appearance of Dto2 establishes an unfair competition, because Revolico has no Cuban domain for people to access it through the so-called Cuban intranet, which has the largest number of users in the country,” blogger Norges Rodriguez, resident in the city Santiago de Cuba, writes.
Rodriguez, who is also a telecommunications engineer, proposes a dialogue between the authorities and the developers of the site to take advantage of the experience and the position won for that space: “Revolico, like other unofficial sites, is an informal market, used even by researchers to describe price fluctuations on items like houses and cars, and what should happen is an official recognition of their status.”
The problem for the authorization of the sites located outside of Cuba seems to be there of activities that are regulated or prohibited within, such as the sale of internet connections from homes, changing currency outside banks or even sex.
But proponents of the utility of taking advantage of the existence of these spaces, as Norges, claim that by negotiating specific and clear policies on the use of the web they would avoid committing crimes or violations of legality.
The opinions agree on that the will and new approaches are needed to regulate and bring out features that today move on illegality and informality, despite the needs of the Cuban people they solve.
Source: El Toque