A Cold Shoulder to Cuba is Bad for Tech, Bad for America

Later this month, President Trump is expected to announce a plan to roll back reforms of America’s policy toward Cuba. In 2014, President Obama began to open diplomatic relations with Cuba, easing the restrictions on trade and travel with the island nation. The move received broad bipartisan support, but was opposed by Cuba hardliners.

Opening relations is particularly important for the American tech industry. While tech and telecom companies from many other countries are free to operate within Cuba, American companies are shut out by our own government. Cuban demand for tech services is high, and entrepreneurs are already innovating with the limited tech and Internet access currently available.

“The Internet is already improving the lives of the Cuban people and their relatives in the United States,” said Austin Carson, Executive Director of TechFreedom. “Platforms like Airbnb and Twitter are promoting property rights, free speech, and other democratic values. Cuban apps like A la Mesa and Revolico are creating a new generation of entrepreneurs, growing the island’s private sector.”

“One way or another, Cuba’s economic future is digital,” concluded Carson. “We’re separated by a mere 90 miles, but returning to a Cold War policy that failed for almost six decades is the best way to ensure that Russia and China — not the United States — will have the most influence on Cuba’s burgeoning tech and telecom sectors. We hope the administration considers the consequences for our economy and democracy before reversing the progress we’ve made.”

TechFreedom is a member of Engage Cuba, a national coalition of private companies, organizations, and local leaders dedicated to advancing federal legislation to lift the 55-year-old Cuba embargo in order to empower the Cuban people and open opportunities for U.S. businesses.

We can be reached for comment at [email protected] See our other work on Cuba, including:

  • Tech Policy Podcast #137: Cuba’s Digital Future
  • A blog post on the state of Internet access in Cuba
  • A summary of the Cuban tech entrepreneur panel co-hosted by TechFreedom and Engage Cuba

Tech Policy Corner, June 9, 2017

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