Will Elian Gonzalez Become the Next Bill Gates?


Hit & Run stalwart Paul Wilbert sends news of the latest get-rich-slow scheme from Castro's Cuba: developing a cutting-edge, "formidable software industry."

There's only one hitch–and it's a doozy. Cuba doesn't allow its citizens to access the Internet:

At a March ceremony in Havana marking the 15th anniversary of a national computer education center, Castro said Cuba needs to get used to a "new world that keeps changing around us." At the same event he promoted the idea of grooming software developers at the University of Computer Sciences, a campus about 50 miles south of Havana that aims to attract the country's brightest tech students and teachers….

The computer literacy campaign is part of Cuba's "long-term strategy for development to take advantage of its well-educated workforce," said William LeoGrande, a Cuba expert and dean of American University's School of Public Affairs. If the effort is successful, he said, the government could possibly develop a software industry along the lines of its advanced biotechnology sector. However, the lack of Internet access "puts a crimp in that strategy, because so much cutting-edge information appears first on the Internet," he said.

Whole bit here.

Hey, at least Cubans aren't burning up bandwidth with arguments about net neutrality!

In a great 2003 Reason piece, Damien Cave looked at the likely future of capitalism in Cuba and walked away more than a little disturbed. Read all about it here (and, alas, not in Havana).

Reason discussed the fate of Little Elian here and here.