Too Much Free Time

by Joseph Weisenthal

Lack Of Internet Access Just Might Hinder Cuba's Software Ambitions

from the what's-in-those-cigars? dept

It's something of a pattern among communist countries that they pursue strength in certain industries with little regard for the likelihood of success. For example, they might try to build a domestic steel industry without access to the necessary iron ore. The latest example is that Fidel Castro wants to develop a "formidable software industry" (via Hit & Run) even though Cuba's inhabitants have little to no access to the internet. What's funny is that developing skills in IT isn't such a terrible idea for the nation; though it's easy to enforce an embargo on goods like cigars, it'd be much harder to shut out digital goods and services. But without access to what's going on online, there's little hope that the country could develop valuable skills in the area. Like everything else in Cuba, it looks like the Silicon Sugar Farm will have to wait until Castro's gone.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    faceplant, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 1:45pm

    Great plans to get rich quick

    Well, it looked good on paper.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    claire rand, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 2:42pm


    don't write off cuba just yet, you never know where this could go, especially with a whole island of people who may well chew their own arms off for the proverbial 'leg up'.

    ok so cuba isn't russia, but lets face it if castro really wants to screw with the states... well open cubas doors to the net and given a somewhat whimsical disregard for such things as US law (which lets face *doesn't apply* in cuba) i can forsee a whole range of services e.g. music & film download sites, online gambling etc firing up there.

    course this could well lead to an invasion, to 'protect the children' etc. but well at least this time the uk is a nice safe distance away. plus gdw prob knows where cuba is...

    and tory blur don't.. ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    JerseyRich, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 2:43pm

    Who are they trying to kid? Their most reliable cars are 1940s and 50s models from the US!

    Do they really think they can do anything but make cigars?

    Here's a tip, Fidel & Raul:

    Focus on the stogies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    dorpus, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 2:50pm

    Don't Laugh Too Hard

    Cuba has won the hearts and minds of a fair number of European scientists who hate America. Their Biotech industry is propped up by world-renown genetics experts such as Dr. Jurg Ott, who has a pro-American facade by working as a professor at Rockefeller University, but also sponsors biotech "conferences" in Cuba to brainwash other scientists.

    Celebrities, athletes from other Western nations have had their pictures taken with Castro, e.g. Australian marathon swimmer Susie Maroney who swam two days in shark-infested waters to have a dinner with Castro, and is reported to have broken down in tears, calling Castro the "nicest man he ever met". What is to prevent Cubans from charming people like, say, Linus Torvalds by appealing to his anti-Americanism? The Cubans are very good at feeding off of inferiority complexes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    claire rand, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 2:59pm


    so they us *old* us cars? can't see to many of todays models running about in 50+ years...

    besides they can import the hardware, just like pretty much everyone else. its what they could do with it thats interesting.

    hell a few high speed connections, fire a stack of servers up. its not even like a huge number of the population would have to be involved if it was done to piss the good 'ole us of a off. bit harder if they want to actually get anywhere.

    but don't laugh, don't under estimate them. who knows where the next breakthrough comes from. cuban cracks blu-ray or hd-dvd encryption... good luck extraditing them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    roly, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 3:12pm

    yea right?!?!

    castro doesn't want to succeed...he doesn't want the people on the island to have internet access because that would would be a could compromise all his brain washing.

    Castro likes playing the role of the victim and blaming all the island's troubles on the US.

    Why do people buy into his crap?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    The angry one, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 3:32pm


    Do they really think they can do anything but make cigars?

    Take it from me, I have been smoking quality cigars for 30 years. Although Cuban cigars are good cigars in general, and have a mystique in the U.S., due to the embargo, Cuban cigars have seriously been overtaken by other manufacturers in the past 15 years. they are no longer the worlds best, not even second place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    I, for one, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 6:54pm

    Close, but no cigar.

    IT is all a bit borgeois isn't it? I think the Cubans are doing very well in the offshore concentration camp business. I mean, if they hated the Americans so much they'd have just released all the prisoners and executed* the guards right?

    * for the war crimes they are guilty of under international law

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Reality Slap, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 12:33am

    Don't write off Cuba, they're healthier than you f

    Cuba currently has one of the best health systems in the world. For every 200 citizens there is a doctor within walking distance. Being a communist country both surgery and medicine is free. The average life expectancy is over 90 years. Cuba also exports is doctors an nurses to other '3rd world countries' in exchange for oil and other goods.

    A few decades ago, the world probably laughed at Cuba aiming for this goal. However they have pulled it off well and not only do they have an over abundance of doctors, they are also now under cutting the US drug companies by offering cheaper generic medicine to other '3rd world countries' and making a fortune in the process.

    Unlike a capitalistic and consumer based society, this money goes back into the state, which in turns go back to the people, rather than the pockets of a few. We may laugh now, but they'll out live us and reap the benifits in a few decades.

    Sure they may drive cars from the 50's and the buildings might all be falling apart. However Cuba's secret weapon is that it has real leadership which plans for the future. If they can build a software industry like they have their health system, most of you in the IT industry over in the states might want to start looking for a new job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Umm, really, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Re: Don't write off Cuba, they're healthier than y

    So, reality slap, ever actually been to Cuba? And if so, let me guess, you got the communist party tour of Havana and Varadero, right?
    1. Walking distance for most people is as far as they can walk with out collapsing, or a huge packed bus (camello), or a stripped out truck, if they are lucky enough to catch one. They have so many doctors because those who have the ability to do it pretty much have to, and it pays slightly better than starvation wages, and plus, as you pointed out, it gives them the opportunity to leave the country.
    2. Care is free because no one has any money to pay for it otherwise. Average life expectancy over 90? You might want to wipe those 'facts' off, because you definitely just pulled them from your bum.
    3. The money goes back to the people? I really shouldn't even dignify this with a response, but the living conditions of the overwhelming majority of the people is absolutely terrible. Only those who have relatives in the US that are sending money back are doing better.
    I love Cuba, I love the people, I love that little island, but its government is slowly destroying it. And when Fidel dies, watch for the revolution. Hasta la victoria siempre!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    J Wayne, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 7:06am

    Leave Cuba alone

    Leave Cuba alone. Try starting software industry in New Orleans first and see what hurdles you need to pass there. Cuba is HEAVEN compared to slums in the US. Slums that don't get media attention, since 5 corporations controll them all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    aussie paul, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:26am

    Re: Don't write off Cuba, they're healthier than y

    why are yanks so scared of cuba?if you helped them you could supply capitol and experience. then reap the benefits.personally i hope that yanks miss out and the latin americas become a super single economy, and yanks will be making vee-dubs for brasillians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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