As published recently in Diario de Cuba, Latvia based MicroTik, a company that, according to its website, “was founded in 1996 to develop routers and wireless ISP systems”, and today “provides hardware and software for Internet connectivity in most of the countries around the world,” hosted their international MUM conference in Havana on January 15th with the goal of providing a “space to discuss and share knowledge about the Mikrotik technology.”

The free event which “had been planned a year in advance” was supposed to take place at the Hotel Meliá in Havana where attendees were promised wireless internet “free of charge.” The conference according to Diario, received 600 registrations, many of them locals who form part of SNet, the “famous street network that moves throughout Havana and has proven to be the Robin Hood of the underprivileged, providing information, entertainment and tools for its user’s work.”

Diario reported that On January 14th, “less than 24 hours from the start of the conference” an e-mail communicated a “change of venue” to the participants. The new location, Proyecto Cultural Comunitario La Lucecita (Community Cultural Project “Little Light”), was located in an “isolated area” with “difficult transportation connections,” nearly “impossible to find,” in addition to being “a venue with minimal conditions” that was “not adequate for this type of event.” As a result, only around 100 of the 600 registered participants were able to attend.

On top of the last minute location change, the promised “free internet access” was no longer available, which would have “enabled downloading of software for managing applications and networks.” 

Diario quoted several participants who felt that the “last minute change” was due to “sneaky intervention” by Cuba’s state security apparatus. One “angry participant” mentioned that “it had been strange that our little friends from the ‘organ’ hadn’t stuck their hands in this.”

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