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Fri May 1, 2015, 09:43 AM

Awaiting Cuba's thriving tech industry to boom | Opinion [View all]

Awaiting Cuba's thriving tech industry to boom | Opinion
By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
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on April 25, 2015 at 5:00 PM

By James Barrood

Last week, the NJ Tech Council led a truly remarkable trade mission. The destination: Cuba.

Our group was made up of business leaders from many industries including mobile software/apps, biotech, IT staffing, renewable energy, construction, engineering, banking and others. Whatever our preconceptions about the island were, they were mostly turned upside down.

Before my first trip, I was told to expect little more than a communist dictatorship filled with unhappy and poor people. I can only speak for what I observed: that is not what I saw in the many meetings I held, or in the many areas of Cuba I visited. Rather, I found one of the most literate, healthy, educated, cultured, proud, warm and happy societies on the planet.

On this, my second trip to Cuba in 15 months, I didn't expect to learn much more -- but indeed I did. Visits to two biotech institutes, the chamber of commerce, a tech company, tourism officials, a software entrepreneur, and others, enlightened me about the incredible work that is going on there.

Some of the Cuban biotech industry's earliest and most significant products were targeted to fight diseases of children and mothers. The results have been quite impressive. Cuba has one of the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality. Polio, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rabies, mumps, whooping cough, and congenital rubella have been eradicated; its bacterial meningitis rates are among the world's lowest. One stand out product is recombinant epidermal growth factor -- the vaccine against hepatitis B -- with which the entire Cuban population under 25 years old is immunized.

More:
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/04/awaiting_cubas_thriving_tech_industry_to_boom_opin.html

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Judi Lynn May 2015 OP
appalachiablue May 2015 #1