MIAMI, United States. – A promotional billboard of the Katapulk company and the Cuban telecommunications monopoly, ETECSA, located at the intersection of the Palmetto Highway and Northwest 74th Street, in Miami, has generated a wave of criticism mainly from Cuban exiles.
In the large-scale image, the Cuban actress Taimí Alvariño appears promoting a “free recharge” of ETECSA through the Katapulk website.
“This is a lack of respect for exile”, wrote on facebook the user Yoan Vega. “Those who always demand, those who censor, those who have denied entry to Anamely Ramos González and Omara Ruiz Urquiola, those who claim the right and possession of a country, come to the capital of exile to laugh in our faces. “, lament.
During a live broadcast of CubaNet From the place where the fence was placed, the president of Somos +, Darién Fernández, described the poster as an “inconceivable lack of respect.”
“We definitely cannot allow this,” he said. “That company, Katapulk, is in collusion with ETECSA, (…) which is the company that often cuts off the internet to opponents in Cuba, cuts off their phone lines and listens to what they are talking about.”
“We cannot continue to be manipulated by these companies, whose only interest is not to shorten distances, it is not that you call your relatives in Cuba; what interests them is the money that the exiles have been able to obtain in this country with a lot of sacrifice”, he assured.
Recently, the journalist Claudia Padrón Cueto revealed in the report of CubaNet “Online stores for Cuba, who wins with hunger on the Island?” that Katapulk belongs to the company Fuego Enterprises Inc. (with a capital of 19.1 million dollars), founded by the Cuban-American Hugo Cancio on December 30, 2004 with headquarters in Miami.
Last year, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX) authorized the registration of Fuego Enterprises Inc. in its registry of foreign companies doing business on the Island. Cancio himself declared that in 2020 they had rejected his request; it was not until 2021 that it was accepted.
According to Resolution 180/2021, signed by Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and published in the Official Gazette, Katapulk is authorized for the “marketing of agri-food products, crafts and consumer goods.” Instead, you will not be able to import and export directly on a commercial basis; and you will not be able to carry out wholesale and retail trade in general of products and services, except those of post-sale and guarantee.
Although the resolution was published in the Gazette in July 2021, the company started selling food products online from 2020, and has been expanding ever since. It currently distributes in almost the entire country and, according to Cancio himself, delivers about 1,000 shipments daily.
The growth of the company is also evident in how the variety of products has increased; for example, recently they began to sell milk and jams.
In his report, Padrón Cueto recalls that Cancio, the owner of Katapulk, is not just a Cuban-American. His name is probably familiar as he was one of the main faces of the thaw in the Obama era. He is also the owner of magazines like OnCuba Y ART OnCubawhich the government allowed to register in a country that criminalizes and persecutes the independent press.
“Even bombastic headlines in 2015 defined him as ‘the contact for US business in Cuba.’ With his company, Cancio brought important Cuban artists such as Silvio Rodíguez, Pablo Milanés and Van Van to play in the United States”, Padrón Cueto points out.
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