El Paquete Semanal ("The Weekly Package") or El Paquete is a one terabyte collection of digital material distributed since around 2008[1] on the underground market in Cuba as a substitute for broadband Internet.[2] Since 2015, it has been the primary source of entertainment for millions of Cubans,[1] as Internet in Cuba has been suppressed for many years with only about a 38.8% Internet penetration rate as of 2018.[3] El Paquete Semanal has its own page that is running in the United States, where one could view its contents and is consistently updated every week.[4]

Cuban government


According to El Paquete Semanal, by Michaelanne Dye, et al., anywhere from a 4th to a 20th of the population had access to the internet. It is also said that, "Cuba was one of the first 'developing' countries to connect to the WWW."[5]

The Cuban Government has also been investing in more internet access for the people, with the use of ETECSA, a service that the citizens could pay 1 CUC (equivalent to an American Dollar) for one hour of internet use. This has become the most popular method for people to become connected to the internet, mainly used to connect to social media, such as Facebook.[6][7]

El Paquete content


Currently, an archive of the weekly packages can be found online, where users can view the content of upcoming and past packages before they obtain the actual package.[4] The most popular content is TV series, soap operas, music, films, and the illegal classifieds but El Paquete Semanal also contains video clips, Spanish language news websites, computer technology websites, instructional videos, software, and advertisements for local Cuban businesses.[4] Most buyers request only certain parts of the Package which may sell for as little as $1 US.[2][8]

Since a 2011 legal property reform regarding private enterprise, a Cuban advertising firm called Etres has used the new regulations surrounding advertising to legally charge local businesses a small fee to arrange for a short clip or poster promoting their establishment to feature in the Package.[8]

It is still unknown who compiles the material or from where it was obtained.[9][2] Some have theorized that the lack of pornographic material and lack of anti-government views in the package may indicate the Cuban government is involved in its production.[10]



One way the government has attempted to deal with the spreading of El Paquete is by creating their own pirated media source mimicking El Paquete called Mochila or Maletín, which means "bookbag" in English.[11] This media package offered classical movies, music, and educational materials, but was ultimately very unpopular.[11]

See also



  1. ^ a b Alejandro Rodríguez. "Voces desde Cuba: El millonario negocio del peculiar “internet” cubano sin conexión a la red", bbc.com, 10 September 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2017. (In Spanish)
  2. ^ a b c Fernandes, Sujatha; Halkin, Alexandra (20 December 2014). "Do Cubans Really Want U.S.-Style Internet Freedom?". NACLA Report on the Americas. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Cuba". freedomhouse.org. 2018-11-01. Archived from the original on 2019-12-18. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  4. ^ a b c "El paquete - Paquete semanal. Entérate de lo que va a salir en el Paquete. Noticias sobre entretenimiento y tecnología!". El paquete (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  5. ^ Dye, Michaelanne; Nemer, David; Mangiameli, Josiah; Bruckman, Amy S.; Kumar, Neha (2018). "El Paquete Semanal". Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '18. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/3173574.3174213. ISBN 9781450356206.
  6. ^ "Internet". www.etecsa.cu. Archived from the original on 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  7. ^ Dye, Michaelanne; Nemer, David; Mangiameli, Josiah; Bruckman, Amy S.; Kumar, Neha (2018). "El Paquete Semanal". Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. pp. 1–12. doi:10.1145/3173574.3174213. ISBN 9781450356206.
  8. ^ a b San Pedro, Emilio (10 August 2015). "Banned Cuban internet delivered weekly by hand". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Palmira Koukkari Mgenga om unga kubaner i en tid av förändring", Radiokorrespondenterna, Sveriges radio, 22 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016. (Swedish)
  10. ^ Young, Nora; Fernandes, Sujatha (25 January 2015). "Cuba's underground alternative to the internet". CBC Radio. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  11. ^ a b "El Paquete Semanal – Cuba". The Pirate Book. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 2019-11-26.

Further reading