Phoning friends or family in Cuba over the holidays will be difficult now that the Cuban government has announced a severing of telephone service with the U.S. effective Dec. 16. The action follows the failure of U.S. telephone companies to pay a ten percent surcharge put in place at the end of October. The last time such a ban was enacted it lasted a year, but it was easily circumvented by routing calls through a third country. This time authorities have threatened to eliminate that option.