Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Python-Cuba Workgroup

Today I’d like to report on some of the progress that has been made as a result of last years' controversy over an April 1st joke post about a (fictional) PyCon to be held in Cuba. As you may recall, the joke fell flat for many–nonetheless, the intent to instigate a real movement toward greater communication with Cuban Pythonistas, and perhaps to someday hold a conference on the island, was fulfilled beyond the authors' expectations! 
The first step occurred in May with the formation of a Python-Cuba Workgroup, which was recognized in June by the PSF board as an official workgroup with a charter. Since some group members already had contacts with Cuban programmers, the workgroup was able to begin a healthy collaboration. In addition, several Cuban Pythonistas made contact with us after the April 1st newsblog post. Discussion and analysis of issues, including internet access in Cuba, how to accommodate a multi-lingual group, governmental involvement and obstacles, etc., began in earnest over the summer. 
Thanks to the hard work of many, including Kirby Unger, David Mertz, Roberto Rosario, Steve Holden, Luciano Ramalho, Pablo Celayes in Argentina, Olemis Lang in Cuba, and dozens of other supporters and members, the group has recently gotten off the ground, and it looks like great things are about to happen!
Pablo Celayes deserves special mention for his efforts in involving his recently formed Python meet-up group in Cordoba, Argentina in the Python-Cuba effort (Cordoba, Argentina meet-up). Cuban developer, Alejandro Zamora Fonesca, is planning to visit Pablo and the rest of this group in Argentina this month to further discuss the growth of Python in Cuba. We look forward to hearing about that meeting on the Python Cuba mail list. In addition, Pablo will be traveling to Cuba in January, and again in March,  and hopes to have some sort of Python event organized for that time.
Indeed, Python events were already happening in Cuba prior to the formation of our group, and those of us in the US found that there were many Cuban Python developers eager to get more involved (for example, see Twitter). Newer groups, such as the Merchise Start Up Circle in Havana, are quickly growing and are busy planning future events. And plans are also underway to offer workshops on Python and Django  as part of the Cuba Free Software Conference, to take place April 25 - 27.  This large, international event, sponsored by The User Group of Free Technologies in Cuba (GUTL) and The Best of Open Techonologies in Germany (BOOT), is currently looking for speakers and mentors, so if you’re interested, please contact Pablo Mestre (pmdcuba at gmail.com).
These are just a few of the many ideas that are beginning to take form, and I’ve mentioned only a few of the many people involved. But the excitement and momentum are truly building. The Python-Cuba work group communicates by mailman listserv. Please read the archives and subscribe to the list if you’d like to help.
I would love to hear from readers. Please send feedback, comments, or blog ideas to me at msushi@gnosis.cx.