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A Cuban man takes pictures with his new cell phone in Havana. (Source: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Can You Hear Me Now?

by Ashley Grashaw
Apr 16, 2008

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Ashley Grashaw

Cubans can now chat on cell phones thanks to their new president, Raul Castro, who recently lifted the ban on consumer cell phones. That means they get to join the ranks of all those frustrated over dropped calls, roaming charges, and annoying ring tones. The one obvious hiccup in this new perk, however, is the cost — it costs about $120 to activate a cell phone in Cuba, which is about half a year's salary for many people there. But, evidently, that hasn't stopped people from lining up around the block to purchase them.

And this isn't the only change Cuba has seen recently. DVD players and pressure cookers are more widely available, unused land is now open to private farmers, and wealthy Cubans are now permitted to rent cars and vacation at luxury hotels. Julia Sweig, a Senior Fellow and Director of Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will join us to take questions about the changes going on in Cuba. So if you've got one, leave it here.

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