The Package (El Paquete) Is Illegal But It's Cuba's No. 1 Employer
You get it once a week. It costs five CUC, which is roughly 6.50 USD.
— -- You get it once a week. It costs 5 CUC (Cuban convertible peso), which is roughly $6.50, and comes fully loaded with the latest in television, music, movies, apps, magazines and news. It even offers computer educational programs and an Excel spreadsheet with things for sale equivalent to Craigslist in the United States.
It’s called “El Paquete,” or The Package, and has become the primary way Cubans receive American media, news and entertainment.
The way it works is pretty simple. Once a week someone comes to your house, drops off a hard-drive fully loaded with new content. The client then has 24-hours to download everything, or whatever particularly interests them. The next day, the delivery guy comes back, picks it up along with your payment.
The following week, an entirely new package arrives with entirely new content.
The business has been around for nearly five years, while some Cubans say there has always been an alternative means of obtaining media, and has become the largest private employer on the island. But it remains very publicly “underground,” as it is illegal, but allows Cubans who don’t have access to the Internet the ability to connect. While the government is increasing Internet connectivity and reducing the price across the island, it still remains limited, and for many prohibitively expensive.
But that doesn’t stop the practice. It allows Cubans access to news programs like Univision’s “Al Punto” and HBO’s “Vice,” magazines such as “OK!” and “Cosmopolitan,” as well as the latest movies, like "Jurassic World."
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