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Has the US turned off the Havana news ticker or is it just being reprogrammed?

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For those Cuban´s who use bicycles as their only means of transport the absence of the Ticker at the US interest section in Havana, erected in 2006, is a disaster. Used as a distance calculator during blackouts it emitted crimson light along the Malicon on the dangerous corner at Tangana. Its conspicuousness also touted the brazenness of the US and its love affair with billboards to everyday Cubans but, not much else.

24 gigantic panels packed with LED´s was seemingly the bright idea of someone in the Bush administration or proof that someone had a sense of humor. Today though, the idea appears to have lost its glare in Obamas administration.

HavanaEmployees at the interest section advise that it is a technical problem, while others suggest a change in the US foreign policy towards erecting billboards on foreign territory. Conspiracy buffs suggest that the ticker was becoming too much of a temptation for Iran, apparently looking at erecting one of their own on the windows of their embassy in Washington. Or maybe the panels are destined for Honduras?

Our take is rather different. Based upon Raul Castro´s speech on the 26th of July, during which he freely admitted that 80% of Cuba´s food is imported, the Ticker may just be being reprogrammed with some useful information for both Americans and Cuban´s. Much like the US national debt calculator which was recently fitted with extra digits, it could be resurrected to offer data to the passerby, including visiting Cuban Americans, of how much trade is lost daily between the US and Cuba due to the 50 year old embargo. It would also serve as a reminder to over 2 million foreign tourists from other nations of how much trade their countries will lose when the embargo is also turned off.

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