Washington, D.C. – President-elect Joe Biden has said he’d try to “reverse the failed Trump policies that inflicted harm on Cubans and their families.” However, what are the implications of that statement? How will his plans impact Cuba but also the U.S. tech industry?
In 2014 President Obama attempted to stabilize associations with the island nation of 11 million people. At the time, this included easing restrictions on telecommunications equipment sales. Cuba’s modern isolation was often attributed to inaccessibility to American-made tech equipment. Sanctions between the two nations hurt not only Cuba but U.S. tech businesses. This began to change with the Obama administration’s new foreign policies. On that note, Google began exploring the possibilities of expansion in Cuba long before Obama arrived.
However, these aspirations were soon dashed in 2016 with the election of President Donald Trump. Soon, with policy reversals and tightening of travel to Cuba, many new businesses came to a squeaking halt. Nonetheless, Cuba made strides on the technological front, though still greatly lagging behind in the region. The country finally obtained moderate 3G access in certain locations and hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots.
Seeing an opportunity, China jumped aboard the Cuban technology train. This will create great roadblocks for U.S. firms hoping to churn business on the island. Regardless, President-elect Biden has made his objectives clear. Biden hopes to help empower the Cuban people with new opportunities. He also hopes to simultaneously create business for American entrepreneurs. Tech companies are already reacting to Biden’s hopes and plans. The $43 million Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, ticker CUBA, has seen dramatic changes. Since the U.S. vote for Biden as President was announced, their stock has soared 33%. The fund marked its largest monthly advance in 11 years. Will Biden’s hopes to thaw relations with the island nation are dashed or could it offer a new pie in the sky for Silicone Valley?
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