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A 26-Year-Old Has Created the Underground Netflix of Cuba

Cubans have found a way around the Cuban government’s strangle hold on digital media via a DIY subscription service called El Paquete Semanal. A new report from Vox shows how with very limited Internet access, Cubans are able to get their hands on the latest movies, music, and television for only a few bucks a week.

El Paquete Semanal is one Cuban’s middle finger to the digital media embargo in Cuba.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

For more than 50 years, Cubans have essentially been cut off from the Western World, especially when it comes to movies, music, and television. Imagine having The Walking Dead banned from your TV.

A group of people in the US and Cuba are making it possible for Cubans to get their Game of Thrones and Beyonce fix without the Internet.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

And they are taking that content and distributing it to all of their subscribers around the country. Yes, they have subscribers just like Netflix and Hulu.

READ: Cuban Youth So Hungry for American Trends, They are Willing to Risk Everything

All the movies, songs, and shows are put on a hard drive and replicated so the weekly entertainment can be hand-delivered throughout Cuba.

And this shit isn’t like the bootleg DVDs you might buy down the street. Everything is high quality and full HD.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

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Being a member costs you about $2 USD a week, less than a movie ticket.

Credit: Parks and Recreation / NBC / allfatherthor / Tumblr

It is such a lucrative business that Cuban media is now paying for subscriptions in El Paquete Semanal.

“We exist on the Internet but the Paquete Semanal has such a wide range of distributors and it’s sold all across the country,”Antoinette Duquesne, a writer for the Cuban magazine Vistar told BBC. “So, this is the best way for us to connect with our audience.”

Subscribers can pick and choose what they want to watch/listen to but many just get the full terabyte of entertainment.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

“I can copy whatever I want,” Ana Lauren of Havana, Cuba told BBC. “If I don’t want to copy music this week I don’t have to. I only copy the things and shows that I want to use this week.”

There are small groups specializing in different entertainment media, gathering the latest and hottest stuff worth watching and listening to.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

READ: Cubans Just Got WiFi This Year and They Already Figured Out How to Use it To Migrate Safely to the U.S.

They even have it down to a science so they can deliver the most current entertainment possible.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

El Paquete Semanal has given some Cuban youths a chance for much needed and hard to find income in the communist regime.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

And it also serves as an underground Craigslist where Cubans can get and exchange goods and services without the constant barrage from the Cuban government regulating the amount of good they are allowed.

But who is the person in charge? He goes by the name Dany Paquete.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

I see what you did there, Señor Paquete. #clever

The 26-year-old has become something of a digital media kingpin on the Caribbean island.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

His business model has been so successful that a rival business offering the same service has emerged in Cuba. Paquete welcomes the competition to push them to progress.

It’s impossible to know how many Cubans use El Paquete Semanal, but the service touches the whole country.

Credit: Vox / YouTube

And if someone doesn’t use the service, they definitely know about it.

READ: These Secret Bedrooms Tell You A Lot More About Cuba

Check out the full video below:

Credit: Vox / YouTube

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Salma Hayek Speaks Out About Filming The Sex Scene In ‘Desperado’ Calls It Traumatic

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Salma Hayek Speaks Out About Filming The Sex Scene In ‘Desperado’ Calls It Traumatic

Salma Hayek is not putting her efforts of the #MeToo movement behind her. In fact, her most recent disclosure about her experience filming the 1995 movie Desperado proves she has yet to lose momentum. While the graphic film grossed $25.4 million in the United States box office and received rave reviews, Hayek says it wasn’t all great.

During a recent appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Hayek opened up about her breakout role.


Sony Pictures Releasing

Speaking about her experience Hayek explained that she had not known at the time that she did not know she had been signedup to film a sex scene with costar Antonio Banderas.

“So, when we were going to start shooting, I started to sob, ‘I don’t know that I can do it. I’m afraid,'” Hayek said in the interview with Shepard. “One of the things I was afraid of was Antonio — he was an absolute gentleman and so nice, and we’re still super close friends — but he was very free. It scared me that for him, it was like nothing. I started crying, and he was like, ‘Oh my God. You’re making me feel terrible.’ And I was so embarrassed that I was crying.”

Speaking more about the experience, Hayek underlined that Banderas and director Robert Rodriguez tried their best to make her feel comfortable on set. She also added that she felt as if Rodriguez “never put pressure” on her.

Still, Hayek says that the experience was traumatic.

“I was not letting go of the towel,” Hayek explained. “They would try to make me laugh. I would take it off for two seconds and start crying again. But we got through it. We did the best with what we could do at the time.”

“When you’re not you, then you can do it. But I keep thinking of my father and my brother,” she went onto explain. “And are they going to see it? And are they going to get teased? Guys don’t have that. Your father will be, ‘Yeah! That’s my son!'”

Hayek and Banderas have remained friends since filming and they have gone on to star in five other projects.


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In fact, just last year, Hayek presented Banderas with an award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Banderas was honored for his role in Pain & Glory with the International Star Award.

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Filmmaker’s Short Documentary Shines A Light On Woman Who Fought For Cuban Revolution

Entertainment

Filmmaker’s Short Documentary Shines A Light On Woman Who Fought For Cuban Revolution

Filmmaker Celina Escher wanted to capture a historic moment in the Caribbean through the eyes of someone you might not expect. As an assignment from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV), Escher was tasked with finding a compelling character to cover. Her response was a woman who fought for the Cuban revolution and her excitement for President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in a film titled “Verde Olivo.” CiNEOLA is bringing the short documentary to the U.S. audience to have a peek into this historic moment.

“Verde Olivo” captures one of Cuba’s most historic moments through the eyes of a revolutionary soldier.

Escher wanted to speak to someone from the Cuban Revolution because of the influence it had on her own home country: El Salvador. The filmmaker wanted to see the people who encouraged the guerilla fighters she learned about growing up. Her search led her to Teresa, a woman who fought for the revolution and has maintained her unwavering support for Fidel Castro and his vision.

“When I met Teresa we spoke about her life and the woman’s role in the Cuban Revolution. On one occasion, Teresa mentioned that she needed to repair her television for the arrival of Obama,” Escher says. “It was a historical moment for Cubans, and especially for Teresa who had devoted her life to the revolution. I was inspired by her and it was then I began to film Teresa’s preparation process.”

Escher appreciated that Teresa and her husband were getting their television repaired in order to watch President Obama’s visit. Cubans are known for maintaining old cars and appliances because of the scarcity of stuff available on the island.

“In Cuba, what is broken is repaired. The Cuban people don’t throw away what is broken and replace it with a new one, like most other western consumerist societies,” Escher says. “Cubans found a way to survive and thrive despite the U.S. embargo. In this precarious situation, the Cubans have been forced to be creative, to repair and recycle.”

“Verde Olivo” shows the resilience of some in Latin America to retain socialist ideals.

The documentary, according to Escher, is important to highlight the strength some in Latin America have maintained against “U.S. imperialism.” Despite the U.S. embargo, life has continued to go on in Cuba after the revolution.

“There have been numerous U.S. military interventions and coups d’etat throughout Latin America where left wing leaders have been replaced with authoritarian military regimes,” Escher says. “There are 76 U.S. military bases in Latin America and the Caribbean with the purpose of securing their economic and political interests. It’s remarkable how Cuba managed to survive all the aggressions and violence.”

The civil war in El Salvador is a strong example for Escher. She grew up knowing of the violent civil war the killed tens of thousands of Salvadorans. The civil war was funded in part by the U.S. government and adds to the overall narrative of U.S.-backed coup d’etats in Latin America.

President Obama’s visit was a wonderful experience while on the island.

Escher remembers that the island was electric as the Cuban people waited for President Obama’s arrival. He was the first president to visit the island in decades and created a renewed hope in cooperation between the two countries.

“It was as if a superstar was arriving. The streets of Havana were cleaned, streets were closed for his arrival, and overall the Cubans were very excited,” Escher recalls. “First of all it was the first U.S. President to arrive in Cuba since 1928, and it happened to be the first Black U.S. President. There has never been a Black president or comandante in Cuba which added to the excitement of many Cubans.”

Despite the visit, many of the Cuban people remained frustrated and disappointed with the overall impact. Escher spoke with Teresa, and her husband Orlando, after the visit. The couple has soured a bit on the visit because the embargo remained and Guantanamo Bay remained occupied.

You can watch the full documentary through CiNEOLA here.

READ: Cuban Embassy Reopens. Cigars, Protests and Food Ensue

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