As Silicon Valley demands more H1-B visas be granted to foreign workers, Fidel Castro warned this week that increased migration of tech workers to the U.S. will hurt Cuba and other Latin American economies, ComputerWorld reports.
Castro's warning was part of celebrations to mark the graduation of the first class from the University of Information Sciences in Havana. But what do IT graduates do in Cuba? They don't become high-tech entrepreneurs, obviously. All but 200 of the school's 1,334 graduates will go into government; the remaining students will remain at UIS and serve as a "centralized reserve" of tech labor, Castro wrote. Even though no Cuban would be eligible for an H1-B, Castro sees the effort to increase foreign workers as a strategy to "encourage the entry into the United States of highly qualified immigrants who could occupy positions in the high-technology sector."
This relentless plundering of brains in South countries dismantles and weakens programs aimed at training human capital, a resource which is needed to rise from the depths of underdevelopment. It is not limited to the transfer of capital; it also entails the import of grey matter, which nips a country's nascent intelligence and future at the bud.
Castro also took aim at SeaCode Inc. - a San Diego company that plans to recruit foreign workers to code aboard a ship that would dock at a US port but would be exempt from US limits on importing workers because its operations would fall under international maritime law. Castro said that the coders would be "highly qualified slaves," working on "a software ship factory."
Regardless of Castro's feelings about SeaCode, Cuba is poised to make use of its new graduates. Gartner recently included Cuba in its list of potential outsourcing countries, because of the country's math and science programs.