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Cuba's Customs Clamps Down in “Illegal Imports”

On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking of merchandise by relatives, friends and ‘mules’ (a slang term for couriers of goods from overseas through airports and port facilities).

Iván's File Cabinet considers this “one more turn of the screw”, explaining that since 2011, there have been new measures every year to try and stop the illegal importation of goods by families and private businesses on the island.

The Arrest of CCTV News Anchor and Refection on China's Public Relation Business

The arrest of CCTV news anchor Rui Chenggang was related to his ties to PR firm Edelman subsidiary in China. Silicon Hutong took the opportunity to reflect upon public relation businesses in China:

Two issues prevent widespread improvement in PR industry ethics in China. First is a persistent exclusivist belief that because this is China, things are done the Chinese way, and always will be. Operating ethically is seen as naive at best, and culturally imperialist at worst (“how dare you impose your values on us!”)

The second issue is fear. PR executives and their agencies believe that if they don’t take advantage of every opportunity, however morally ambiguous, they will lose revenue and clients to competitors who lack – or opportunistically ignore – their moral compasses.

Instagram as a Marketing Tool

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Instagram is no longer a photo app with cute filters. Image by Jonathan Chen on flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Online marketing consultant Elena Leukona runs the blog El Club del Marketing where she “(helps) every small business owners that don't have a marketing department so they may understand the fast world of Internet”. On the latest entry, she shares her expert opinion about Instagram, the visual social network with increasing popularity, and how small businesses can use it to enlarge their company:

Instagram no sólo puede ser útil para las grandes marcas, sino también para negocios locales que necesitan entrar en contacto con un determinado tipo de cliente al que no podrían acceder si no es a través de este tipo de medios sociales. Se trata de una herramienta muy visual que conecta a los usuarios con otros usuarios y con las marcas a través de imágenes y vídeos.

Instagram may not only be useful for big brands, but also for local businesses that may need to get in touch with a specific kind of client they could not be able to reach if not through this kind of social networks. This is a very visual tool that connects users with other users and with the brands through images and vídeos.

 
To be up to date with online marketing trends, follow Elena on her blog in Spanish and on Twitter.
 
This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

Trinidad & Tobago: Secrets of the CL Financial Bailout?

The public is being told that the CL Financial bailout is being resolved, while at the same time the Minister of Finance & the Economy is withholding the fundamental information which any prudent person would need to make a decision.

Afra Raymond wonders what is being hidden.

Jonbeel, a Barter Market in the 21st Century

 People from the Tiwa community catching fish during the “Community Fishing” and Tiwa women exchanging their commodities by barter system, as part of the ‘Jonbeel Mela’ at Jonbeel lake. Image by Abdul Sajid. Copyright Demotix. (22/10/2010)

Tiwa women exchange their commodities by barter system, as part of the ‘Jonbeel Mela’ at Jonbeel lake. Image by Abdul Sajid. Copyright Demotix. (22/10/2010)

The centuries old Jonbeel Mela, a community fair in the northeast Indian state of Assam, has a unique ritual. Around 10,000 indigenous people from tribes like the Karbi, Khasi, Tiwa, and Jayantia of the northeast come down from the hills to the Jonbeel wetlands with their produce or catch and interchange with the local people in a barter system. Usha Dewani at the India Water Portal reports that the annual three-day festival has been celebrated since the 15th century. Around 100,000 people visit the market each year.

Improper Land Allocation Harms Trinidad & Tobago's Public Interest

Property ownership is a critical ingredient of the society we are trying to build. No one can deny that. The wealthiest people and companies in this society have made a great part of their wealth through property dealings – buying, leasing, sub-dividing, selling, renovating and so on….property is critical to amassing and holding wealth.

With the state being “the single largest owner of all classes of property” in Trinidad and Tobago, blogger Afra Raymond is interested in how public property is allocated, noting that because of its value, all dealings involving state lands must be transparent.

Why the Caribbean Should Care About Net Neutrality

For those who figure that the issue of net neutrality doesn't affect them, Trinidad-based blogger Activized connects the dots. The concept that “all data is created equal” is not as common as you might think:

Local telecommunications company Digicel announced that they were banning certain VoIP application services from their network…in an attempt to secure their bottomline – ensuring that users of the cellular phone service make calls using credit, not data. There’s only one problem with that – if I’m paying for my data, I should have the power to get the data that I want and use it how I want.

#NoBakchich, a Cameroonian App to Fight Administrative Corruption

Paul Biya, president of Cameroon - Public Domain

Paul Biya, president of Cameroon – Public Domain

Corruption is a well-documented issue in Cameroon. For decades, political scandals have infamously stained the public administration due to multiple embezzlement charges, which in turn led to the creation of a special task force to fight corruption named  ”Operation Epervier“.

The outcome of the task force has been mixed so far. Therefore, Cameroonian citizens have taken it upon themselves to report and combat corruption more effectively. A group of IT programmers created an app called NoBakchich that crowdsources all the information related to administrative procedures so that citizens have a clear picture of how to get paperwork done and how much it should cost. The app also allows citizens to report any bribes that they have had to face:

Ainsi, chacune d'elles est gratifiée d’une notation, baptisée «compteur de tchoko»,informant les autres usagers des bonnes ou mauvaises pratiques.  

Each administrative procedure will be given a notation, called “Tchoko (bribe in local language) counter” informing other users of public services involved in bad practices.

Le Griot reports that $600 million US dollars are lost annually because of corruption, one-third of which is from illegal logging of the national forests.

Jamaica: Beauty & the Beast

The issue is that there is an idea in Jamaica of who is beautiful and who isn’t…that this idea of beauty is, to a large extent, a racially constructed one.

Kei Miller recounts a heartbreaking story of the dark side of beauty pageants and contends that the Miss Jamaica franchise represents “hierarchies of race and class as they still operate in Jamaica today.”

Why Quality of Internet Service Is Needed in Nepal

Internet penetration in Nepal has increased to 29.78 percent in recent times mainly due to about 8 million mobile Internet users. But the quality of Internet service by the providers, lack of standards and bad customer service makes the user experience so unpleasant that many users feel that their time, money and resources are wasted, according to blogger Shreedeep Rayamajhi from Kathmandu, Nepal.

The situation is so bad that a petition on Change.org has been launched addressing the Nepal Telecommunication authority.

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