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The phone company's Mexican part-owner needs cash-fast

The few households in Cuba with phones have become settings for a new family ritual: gatherings to chat with relatives in the U.S., who pay in dollars for the calls. Such long-distance talkfests are one result of the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, which tightened the U.S. embargo against the island but authorized American carriers to upgrade U.S.-Cuba phone links. The aim: to open Fidel Castro's closed society by expanding people-to-people contacts.

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