CUBA . . . 1-800-HAVANA

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This year's diplomatic near-defrosting between the U.S. and Cuba yielded at least one concrete benefit: the prospect of real phone service to and from Havana after 30 years of static. The breakthrough occurred when Cuban officials dropped their insistence on a $4.85 surcharge for collect calls made to the U.S. Instead, as Clinton Administration officials agreed today, they'll get a buck a call. Better yet, five U.S. telecommunications firms got permission to upgrade the Cuban national telephone company's antiquated equipment, which can handle only 1 percent of the 60 million calls from the U.S. each year.