How Can Cuba Build a Startup Ecosystem?

Inscribed at his grave in London is one of Karl Marx’s most powerful statements, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

Written in 1845, Marx’s revolutionary thinking set off a century defined by the struggle between communism and capitalism – culminating in Cuba’s emergence as the only communist state in the Western Hemisphere.

The ideological battalions underpinning communism are finished, and now there is a new revolution for Cuba to embrace as it slowly pivots towards economic freedom. For a variety of reasons, entrepreneurs and the tech sector offer what Cuba needs most without risking what the Castro’s fear the most.

The Castro’s have made it clear they will not accept the frontiers assigned to them from the United States. For example, in response to Google’s offer last year to bring free Internet for all Cubans, Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said, “Everyone knows why there is no Internet in Cuba, because it is costly. There are some who want to give it to us for free, but do not do it so that the Cuban people can communicate, but in order to penetrate us and to do ideological work to achieve a new conquest. We must have Internet, but in our way, knowing that it is the intention of imperialism’s to handle it as a way to destroy the Revolution.” More