Leading U.S. tech CEO’s have followed President Barack Obama’s steps in a three-day business and diplomacy trip to Cuba that started Sunday.
Eleven CEO’s and business leaders joined the president, with a list that included PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman, Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson, Air BnB founder Brian Chesky, and Starfish Media Chairman Soledad O’Brien.
Since the leaders’ arrival on Sunday, several deals have already been made with the communist island nation. Obama and Google announced on Monday that they had secured a deal to provide Wi-Fi and broadband Internet across the country, and room-renting mobile app Air BnB also announced on Sunday that the rooms they have for rent on the island will now be available to visitors worldwide, something which was previously restricted. Hotel chain Starwood have also announced that they will be building three new hotels in Havana.
“Our Cuba policy is focused on helping the Cuban people improve their lives,” wrote White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes last week. “Since charting a new Cuba policy, the United States has made regulatory changes to open up commercial ties between our countries at a time when a growing number of Cubans are self-employed. In Havana, the President will meet with Cuban entrepreneurs, or cuentapropistas, to hear their experiences. The event will include American entrepreneurs who will share their own experiences with their Cuban counterparts and look for opportunities to build long-term relationships.”
The business deals come amid outrage on social media at President Obama after he stood hand-over-heart in front of a mural portraying communist guerrilla leader and Fidel Castro ally Che Guevera in Havana, Cuba this past weekend.
Users on social media criticised the president for previously failing to attend both veteran American sniper Chris Kyle’s and former first lady Nancy Reagan’s memorial services, but finding time to stand at a wreath-laying ceremony in Revolution Square with the former communist leader as a back-drop.
The move further illistrates an apparent attempt by Western technology leaders to bridge the gap between the West with communist authoritarian countries in a bid to find new audiences. Just last week, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with China’s propaganda czar in a growing attempt to reintroduce Facebook across the heavily Internet-restricted country after being banned seven years ago for allowing dissidents a platform to speak.
Charlie Nash is a frequent contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.