Information Technology in Cuba
No major global hardware companies have operations in Cuba. Cuba does produce limited quantities of hardware products; however, exports are minimal, and Cuba is not recognized as a global or regional player in any hardware niche. Cuban industrial planners look more to software development as the future of Cuban IT progress.
Hardware Industry History
Cuba's hardware industry is concentrated in approximately one dozen plants under the auspices of the National Institute for Automated Systems and Computer Technology (INSAC,) also known as the Cuban Ministry of Informatics. During the 1970s-1980s, the Cuban hardware industry produced a variety of products used in Cuba, but primarily exported to Warsaw Pact countries participating in the Soviet-led Council for Economic Mutual Assistance (CMEA). About 300 minicomputers were produced, as well as thousands of asynchronous terminals (50).
The dissolution of the Soviet Union devastated the Cuban hardware industry. Without an economy wealthy enough to consume Cuban-built products, Cuba relied on export guarantees from CMEA nations and built subsystems from imported parts. In fact, Cuban industrial planners had developed a capacity expansion plan to increase output prior to the Soviet breakup (51).
Current Hardware Production
Currently, Cuba's hardware production is based in three main plants. One plant produces printed circuit boards, while one electronics assembly plant continues to produce asynchronous terminals. An electronics component facility continues to operate in Pinar del Rio. The main hardware output produced is Intel-based microcomputers assembled from imported components (53).
Cuban industrial planners hope to find hard currency customers for exports or foreign joint venture partners. Their best hope is luring foreign investment with the promise of inexpensive, well-educated Cuban labor.