In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
The Minister of Communications, during the balance sheet of the Informatics and Communications Business Group, highlighted the need to encourage human capital and undertake projects that increase income
by Yaditza del Sol González | email@example.com
February 19, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Establishing alliances that promote productive linkages between different Cuban enterprises, implementing services to citizens, with priority given to government management and electronic commerce, as well as accelerating the safe development of technological infrastructure and encouraging research, development and innovation programs, are actions that respond to a single strategy: the implementation of the policy of computerization of society.
This was the opinion of the head of the Ministry of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, who highlighted the need to encourage human capital and undertake projects that increase income. In this sense, he referred to the possibilities of exporting Cuban software, with a guaranteed quality, and in the deployment of proposals that are connected with foreign investment.
“The challenge is to diversify services, make them attractive, study which ones we can offer in the international market, all from the resources we have. In view of the economic situation of the country and the tightening of the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba, we are called upon to manage financing and seek foreign currency. [We must do this] either by using measures to make state-owned companies more flexible or by means of productive chains. This not only contributes to the monetary stability of the country but also to the very development of business.
During the assessment of the Informatics and Communications Business Group, the Minister called for a close follow-up of the e-government program. [This is] because once the present stage is over, “we are entering a more complex phase, where the provincial and local governments must guarantee the updating of the website’s contents and motivate the citizen to be at the center of the transformation of the management they carry out”.
With respect to cyber security, he said that there is a demand for digital certificates in the country and yet there is no consolidated marketable supply from computer and communications companies. The use of these certificates by the institutions allows us to increase the security codes and protect the exchange of information, an essential tool in a scenario where Cuban users are increasingly connected.
As Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has mentioned on several occasions – the Minister emphasized – we must be able to make better use of the financial resources at our disposal to enhance the process of computerizing society.
By the end of 2019:
7.1 million Cubans were connected to the Internet, representing 63% of the country’s population
More than 143,000 homes were connected to the Nauta Hogar network
More than six million active lines are supported by the mobile phone network on the island, and 70% of these connections were made through smartphones
Source: Global Digital Report 2020 and Etecsa
March 11, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Charter flights will arrive at Frank Pais International Airport in Holguin, operated by Bahamasair, which will connect the U.S. with the interior of Cuba
Holguín – With no regular flights and the imminent cessation of charters – both from the United States – the Frank País International Airport in the City of Parks will receive the Bahamasair airline, whose aircraft will arrive at this facility from the 19th of this month, with two weekly frequencies connecting Miami with the interior of the country.
The aircraft on this route will always make a stopover in the Bahamian capital, Nassau. They will fly here Thursday and Sunday, arriving at 12:30 p.m., returning to the southern Florida city an hour later, said Miguel Peña Peña, director of “Frank País.
“This is the first time that flights from Bahamasair are taken to our airport, although it has links with Havana for some years. Two days before their planes land here, something similar will happen in Santa Clara, Villa Clara (in central Cuba). To complete their charter flight, the national airline of the Bahamas will use Boeing 737-700 planes, which have 138 seats,” added Peña Peña.
Since last December, the U.S. government eliminated the access of regular U.S. airlines to cities in the interior of Cuba and next March 10 something similar will happen with the charter modality, thus hindering family ties and the normal flow of passengers between both countries, under the pretext of depriving Cuba of any kind of economic income.
At present, aircrafts from Canada, the United States, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Russia are arriving at the “Frank País”. The largest number of travelers comes from Canada and there has been a rise in Russian visitors in the recent past.
>Since last December, the U.S. government eliminated the access of regular U.S. lines to cities in the interior of Cuba and next March 10 something similar will happen with the charter mode, thus hindering family ties and the normal flow of passengers between both countries, under the pretext of depriving Cuba of any kind of economic income.
At present, aircraft from Canada, the United States, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Russia are arriving at the “Frank País”. The largest number of travelers comes from Canada and there has been a rise in Russian visitors in the recent past.
By Isairis Sosa Hernández firstname.lastname@example.org
March 10, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
During this Monday’s special Round Table, where the measures adopted by Cuba to face the threat posed by the rapid and broad international expansion of the new coronavirus were reported, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said that we can be concerned and concerned about the epidemic, but what we really have to do is prepare for an eventual entry of the virus into our country.
So, Así de Fácil wants to show you today how we can make a nasobuco or mask at home and offer you some advice on how to use it.
A piece of cloth and two pieces of elastic is what you will need to make this simple mask. Another model that we also propose, uses only fabric and does not use elastic, as they are usually worn in medical institutions. The images will show you every step.
As I always say, if you have children at home, encourage them to participate in the making of the mask so that they can enjoy how wonderful it is to create something with our own hands. See you next week to continue turning a simple idea into a great solution. Don’t miss out!
If you are a healthy person, you only need to wear a mask if you care for someone suspected of carrying the virus.
Also wear a mask if you have a cough or sneeze.
Facemasks are only effective if combined with frequent hand washing.
Before you put on a mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
Avoid touching the mask while you are wearing it.
To remove your mask: take it off from behind, without touching the front.
To reuse it, they recommend ironing it after washing it, as the virus cannot withstand high temperatures.
After handling a used mask, wash your hands immediately.
By Julio Martínez Molina
February 5, 2020
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Reality TV is a hoax in its own right.
The format of reality favors performance (of all kinds, of course, with weight for the moral component), it is self-understood from the logic of simulacra and upholds the matrix line of the participant’s need to configure an image that presupposes the generation, or not, of empathy. It’s an image that, clearly, is worked on in accordance with the interests of the reality story and not in accordance with the legitimate identity profile of that person.
There cannot be much of the real in a television whose “truths” are simulated, something that can be validated in the context of fiction but is potentially antithetical to what would be sold as a record of the real.
There is nothing ethically contributing in a reality television conceived from the prism of the culture of human discard and in accordance with the hegemony of the patriarchal narrative about women seen as objects and not subjects. In a reality television that defends social Darwinism and ethnic exclusion, hostile to otherness, and tends to idealize the physical canon of the ideal body and the beautiful face according to Western taste in terms of a story of the humiliation of those who do not belong to such molds. In a reality television that clings to the morbid component in its constructions, given to base as a model of interaction the insubstantiality of a dialogue based on the puerile procedure of a child of a few years who began to understand words.
The medium reaches the exponential degradation of its discourse through its format. It’s incredible but at the same time understandable in cathartic times. And there’s the public self-exposure of the privacy of the individual in social networks. (It cannot be forgotten that the cultural phenomenon of marras emerges as a response from the media to the impetus of new technologies and the Internet and the subsequent television crisis, when the which supremacy in home entertainment is diluted). It is followed and applauded by a captive spectator and whose audiences mark the forefront of rating today on a planetary scale.
It’s been onty forty-seven years since An American Family (PBS, U.S. public television, 1973), the seminal bastion of the concept of reality show that was born in Europe in the second half of the nineties. It began with the first Big Brother broadcast in the Netherlands in 1999 and later extended to the entire world. This format is currently betting with greater force on human competitiveness: not understood as an incentive to an ameliorative impulse of the individual, but as the cancellation and moral liquidation of the other.
The orgasmic moment of reality feeds on the emotional agony of the contestant. The Cathodic Coliseum asks for the death of the gladiator, by lance or eaten by the lions. It demands it (death here, of course, is the moral collapse of the adversary or competitor). This is because the ideological construct of the format conditioned it to such an attitude, It extends from the iteration of an ideology that chose to divide the participants -by induction to those who receive it-, between inferior and superior beings.
The communicating vessels of such precepts are linked to fascism, the formulas of the extreme right raised in Europe during the same years of the emergence of the phenomenon of reality television and the splitting and dividing trumpet perception of the world.
As a consequence, we are faced with a communicative product of notoriously reactionary essence, at least in its confrontational aspect. It’s less explicit but also tangible in the realities of following celebrities, inside their mansions and a lifestyle of a luxury unthinkable for most people. They represent, therefore, a media backing to the ideology of inequality, one which is dangerously in force in a world that cries at its cleanest for its elimination.
In the same way, many of the reality television programs -especially the first variant mentioned above-, appeal to the most primary reflexes and instincts of the species. They use the inherent scopic drive of the human race to redirect its gaze towards ethically reprehensible territory. It aims to manipulate the emotional system of the less cautious viewers in a blatant way. And also of the participants themselves. Several of these have resorted to the last option of suicide, after suffering emotional breakdowns when they were violated by an industry built on the exploitation of “disposables.” when they were ignored by this theater that denigrates the sensibility and spirituality that ennobles and identifies human beings.
By Ricardo Ronquillo email@example.com
President of the Union of Cuban Journalists. Granted Juan Gualberto Gómez Award. Former deputy editor and columnist of Juventud Rebelde.
March 3, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Imagine you arrive at a state-owned repair facility. You are instructed to go to the receptionist’s desk, who, in addition to taking your personal details, prepares a voucher that states in the accounting documents the type of care you will receive and the consequent cost. They then direct you to some of the repairmen present. The repairman will look hard at your appliance, the one that broke, of course, and then there will be a curious dialogue in which the repairman will tell you that for the type of damage to your appliance there are no parts in the unit… But – and this is always an interesting saving act – the repairman managed to get it, and he is ready to solve your peremptory problem.
Of course, doing so implies a “cost”, certainly much more expensive than if the “substitute” part were there in the workshop… From then on you will not end your “productive chain” within the establishment, by returning to pay for the service with the original partner who attended you, but in an intimate, very private agreement with the repairer, which will splash out to other internal confines…
Stories such as the one above gradually give shape in Cuba to a type of property that was not included in any economic or social guidelines, and therefore not in the Constitution. We are now celebrating the first year since its approval by a majority in a popular referendum. [But for this situation] there are no programmatic documents that aim at reconfiguring our socialist model.
The rationality and practical sense of the ordinary citizen has already made his baptismal act, with name included, to this curious variant of owner: “state” property [la propiedad “estaticular.] A direct and accurate friend defines it as a hybrid establishment, which in the papers are in the name of the State but, in the concrete one, a good part of the pieces and the dividends go, surreptitiously, to the pockets of its workers.
It is a secret and strange form of expropriation of public possession to which many are accustomed, by force of necessity, because otherwise, it would be very difficult for them to resolve the issues that entangle their existence.
In the recent balance sheet of the Ministry of Internal Commerce, some of the shards of this deformation jumped out. A large part of the products destined, for example, to gastronomic establishments end up being transferred to the private or cooperative sector, without fulfilling the purposes for which they were financed by the State. And the most painful thing is that this happens while the financial debts in these areas are extremely high, as much as the payments for losses to the nation’s pocket and pitiful corrupt chains.
These phenomena are more visible now, as our State tries to find its true limits. The body of that unavoidable institution for justice, freedom and sovereignty in Cuba, disproportionate for years, is giving way in size and functions.
One of the most important definitions of the so-called Updating is precisely the acceptance that the State is one thing as owner in the name of the nation and the people. Another is the various models in which property can be managed, something under discussion since the decision of the so-called “revolutionary offensive”, which turned state property into almost the entire national economic fabric, one of the “errors of idealism”, recognized by Fidel.
This definition allows for progress in the expansion of self-employment or small personal or family property-even the expected acceptance of the concept of private property, up to the scale of small and medium enterprises, the experimental opening of cooperatives in the non-agricultural sector, the handing over of idle land in usufruct, the leasing of state service premises, and the incipient purpose of transforming the socialist state enterprise, seen as the heart of the economy and of modernization.
Examples such as the one mentioned above require a more flexible and limited vision to the current circumstances, which favors the emergence of more socialized forms of property management. All of these should contribute to overcome the dragging of socialist experiences regarding the alienation of the workers from the productive processes.
Going to the causes of this fragility implies reviewing the role of the workers in the political conception of our State, for which it is necessary to cover more significant aspects, such as the issue of property and its forms of organization.
Let us not forget that the issue of property is so basic that the theorists of American neo-conservatism maintain that it is the true and crucial scenario of the decisive cultural war on a planetary scale. Not for nothing did its think tanks and its tight advertising machinery try to manufacture the ghost of a “socialist” Obama, and the same recipe now with the emerging Bernie Sanders.
Not just any trifling thing then, but our staple “hybrid-owner”.
Taken from Cubaperiodistas.
By DUNIA TORRES GONZÁLEZ
March 3, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
When I look around I see brave women. We have come into this century marked by the experience of those who came before us. And these, no doubt, set the bar very high. Some names we know: Mariana Grajales, Ana Betancourt, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Luisa Pérez de Zambrana, Amalia Simoni, Haydée Santamaría, Melba Hernández, Celia Sánchez Manduley, Vilma Espín, Asela de los Santos… There are also the anonymous heroines, who did not neglect their responsibilities, who educated their children and at the same time fulfilled the tasks of their time. In a society where women did not have a voice, they exalted themselves and took their place.
Their stories are not only found in books, but also around us. I remember my grandmother’s stories very closely. She told us about the first years of the Revolution, a time when several mobilizations took place; hands needed to make the January 1st project a reality: literacy, agrarian reform, nationalizations, the construction of the Party in the different regions of the Island… Being a housewife was not at all unworthy. Everyone looked at the children, always neat and “careful”, however, I also wanted to be part of what was happening in Cuba.
We could already hear the stories of women who had been in the Sierra, who had taken up arms in their hands. It was the effervescent blood of those who, like her, could not sit still. She looked at her little daughter and always imagined a different future for her.
Grandmother came from a large family. Of her 11 siblings, only two were able to study, so it was up to her to look after the little ones in the house. Her current schooling level was fifth grade, but she did the math like no one else. She left her mother’s home at the age of 20, and her husband shared her revolutionary ideas. This did not change the fact that while he was traveling around the country with his responsibilities as a young militant, she remained at home taking care of the children.
This situation would soon change. She had made the decision to no longer be the woman in the apron. That day she went to the nearest agricultural cooperative and became a farmer. With total determination, she said words that had never been spoken at home. For the first time, she spoke of equality. Many commented that she was going crazy, that she was influenced by strange ideas, but I remember the light with which her eyes spoke of that moment without regret.
My mother grew up on a little ranch in the countryside, in a town called La Victoria, there were no amenities and sometimes she would go off to the country to help my grandmother. It was the early years of the Revolution and the news that new schools were being founded was spreading like wildfire. She was very happy the day that a group of students from her classroom gathered to go to the city to study. Finally, she did not have the necessary documentation for registration, so that trip did not take place. Even so, she had access to other options and ended up in an accounting course.
Like many women, she raised two children alone in times of resilience. Cuba was facing the special period and it was not a reason for her not to do her work duties. In my scant three years, she took me to her work every day. In the mornings I would wrap myself in a blanket and together we would go to the workshop to retrieve parts. I can still smell the dust from the entrance and exit cards in the long warehouse corridors that I had already learned by heart.
She was an example for my life. Together we would walk to the metings of the Federation of Cuban Women at night. Her activism was admirable. My birthday coincided with the celebration of the organization’s anniversary, on August 23, so the two motives were inevitably linked. She never said “no” to the tasks. Together we prepared polling stations, I was always the first pioneer guard, and I was excited to think about the day when I would turn 16 to exercise my right to vote.
I didn’t have brand name shoes, but they didn’t need to be either. My mother worked to ensure that each class had a new rucksack, uniform and shoes, and I could only look at her with admiring eyes. She always repeated to me: “Your task is to study, now you have all the opportunities”. She was always by my side at the pre-university scholarship, which was 42 km away from our house, and at the university, about 369 km away. She taught me how to make decisions, broaden my perspectives and strengthen my militant ideas.
Today I feel like a free woman. Not only because I chose it, but because the road was ready. The woman of my century has many names: a leader, a pilot, a taxi driver, a scientist, a farmer, a plumber, a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, a builder, an architect… In my country, destiny is not only decided by men. Now 53.22% of the deputies in Cuba are women. There are ten women in the Council of State. “The number of workers directly linked to science and technology was 89,214, and of these 47,326 were women,” according to the Cuban Statistical Yearbook 2019 January-December 2018.
The woman of this century walks beside the man, she does not subordinate herself to him. She enjoys total equality of opportunity and rights, as endorsed by the current Constitution of the Republic. They have access to paid work with equal pay for work of equal value and to social security. Cuban legislation protects her from maternity and illness. It enjoys free access to education at all levels. Her average life span is 80 years, one of the highest in the world.
Every day, Cuban women are becoming more indispensable on all fronts of economic, political and social life in the country and the community. She strives to enhance the role of the family in strengthening values, contributes to community hygiene, participates in health campaigns and faces any exceptional situation.
March 3, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Base workers of the Bolivian Aviation Company (BoA) declared a state of emergency after not being attended by the Ministry of Public Works, and asked to hold a meeting with President Jeanine Añez to learn about the situation of the state company.
The representative of the BoA collective, Francia Gonzales, expressed her fear and that of the other workers of the airline that the same pattern that occurred with the companies Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB) and Aerosur, which went bankrupt last decade, will be repeated.
“This is precisely the reason for this mobilization. Our company is gradually going into decline and this is the concern of all the workers. Many of them, former officials of LAB and Aerosur, are seeing the same steps, the same as what has happened with other companies, we are focused on the same path,” emphasized Gonzales.
This Tuesday, BoA’s president, Juan Carlos Ossio, denounced a loss of at least $50 million during the last four administrations of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).
“Boliviana de Aviación does not escape the logic that the country has been suffering systematically. MAS never tires of saying that it delivered an armored economy, and as we are seeing little by little, BoA is just another one of the badly managed companies that is showing a loss of more than 50 million dollars,” said Ossio.
The manager of the state-run company also considered that the rank and file workers are in a “plot”. In response to this statement, Gonzales said that the state airline workers “are not in a plot, but that the plot is coming from management” by cutting BoA’s schedule.
“At no time do we as workers intend to stop operations, that would be a plot. The plot we are seeing is from management making bad decisions in cutting routes, cutting catering and other types of services,” he added.
Claudia Mallón, a deputy from Unidad Demócrata (UD), denounced that the state-owned airline BoA failed to receive more than 79 million Bolivians (Bs) due to the reduction of frequencies as determined by the airline’s manager and the “complicit” silence of Public Works Minister Iván Arias.
Authorities say that April will show some improvement in the supply of toiletries.
As of May and June the situation should be stable in the country.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Based on the current conditions of the national industry, the conciliation in terms of production and the assigned financing, the toiletries -such as soap, toothpaste, liquid detergent and others that are sold in the retail stores-must start to show a greater availability in the market, even from this month.
This was announced by Betsy Diaz Velazquez, head of Domestic Trade (Mincin). She explained that now in March, the levels of presence and assurance of these products will show better performance compared to previous weeks, which should go to stability once they begin to recover inventories.
In this regard, she added, April will also show some improvement, and from May and June the situation of sanitation should be stable in the country.
As to why these items are not marketed through the system of the ration book, perhaps as an emerging measure in the face of hoarding and re-sellers, the Minister explained that the toiletries can not be included in the basic family basket, as it would become a controlled product and, therefore, acquire rights.
If we do not have enough to put, for example, one soap per person, and ensure that it reaches the population according to the established cycles, then we can not assume control measures in the register of consumers, said Diaz Velazquez.
“What we can do, and do, is give the authorities of the territory the power to apply regulatory measures in the sale of products in high demand and with insufficient supply on the market. We are not talking about the administrator, but a power of governments and municipal administrations,” he said.
In addition, he insisted, there are certain items that can only market the units of MINCIN, such as Lis and Nacar soap, or liquid detergent Limtel. No one else is authorized, and anyone who incurs in this type of sales is acting illegally.
AT THE SUCHEL COMPANY
Carlos Miguel Boggiano Sánchez, Managing Director of the company Suchel, agrees with the words of the head of MINCIN, telling Granma that “in May they will start to gradually improve deliveries, after achieving sustainability in their production and marketing”.
And more than goodwill or an optimistic attitude to support the announced stability, the company has, since February, “all the financing required to respond to the planned levels of laundry and toilet soap, liquid detergent and toothpaste”, products that showed sensitive deficits during 2019 and at the beginning of the year.
This guarantee, stressed Boggiano Sanchez, “marks the difference with respect to previous periods and ensures compliance with contracts for raw materials, as well as their arrival.
To get an idea of the recovery trend shown by the industry, it is appropriate to review the production indices for the first quarter of 2019 and those contemplated for the same stage in 2020.
During the first three months of the previous year, this entity delivered to MINCIN 7,806 tons of cleaning supplies, a figure that represented 16.1% of the 2019 plan.
However, at the end of March, the company must deliver 8296 tons, equivalent to 16,5 % of the forecast for 2020, a schedule that shows growth in the four families of products mentioned.
“From the raw material already available in the market, it is projected to exceed the production of the quarter by 380 tons of washing soap and 500 tons of liquid detergent”, said the CEO of Suchel.
It is precisely this last product, together with toothpaste, that has shown the greatest impact at the beginning of the year. It is estimated that it will recover, as of May, in the following order: detergent, although demand continues to exceed supply; laundry soap, toilet soap and toothpaste.
He said that, so far, the most significant deliveries are concentrated in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara and Camagüey.
He stressed that as with the stable arrival of raw materials and the continuity of production, the industry, composed of six business units with a productive base, will put its capacities above 95% of use. This is the goal for which all the strategies are designed, from the availability of personnel to the organization of the required work shifts.
And it cannot leave out, from any productive analysis, as Boggiano Sanchez says, the impact of the hostile policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade of the US Government, whose tentacles press each sector of the economy.
The production of shavings, a fundamental raw material for making soap, requires imported oils and fats which, during 2019, in the words of the director, did not reach the country. This is, in addition to financial restrictions, due to the impossibility of tankers to touch Cuban ports, because of the pressures resulting from the unilateral and illegal U.S. sanctions against Cuba.
Of the 21,000 tons of shavings planned in 2019, barely 6,625 were obtained. This year no manufacture has been achieved, since the same constraints persist, not counting the increase in the price of the final product, which involves both the import of shavings and the import of fats and oils in different formats.
Although it might seem an excess, perhaps because of the reiterated nature of the subject, even in the production of soaps the economic blockade wags its tail.
IN DEVELOPMENT NEW LINE OF ECONOMIC PERFUMERY
By 2020, most of the demand of the mixed company Suchel Camacho s.a. is redirected to the network of stores in MINCIN, according to Caridad Estévez García, its sales manager.
In that sense, he said, the range of products is expanded with two new additions to the Daily line: cologne and deodorant. Other existing ones are consolidated, such as soap, children’s dental gel and [insect] repellent. In addition, there are also hair products such as professional dye and shampoo, conditioners and peroxides in large formats.
Likewise, he continued, “we are working on the development of new economic products of perfumery, cosmetics, and cleaning, which contribute to the substitution of imports, and guarantee the relation quality-price-opportunity”.
Together with the MINCIN and the governments of the territories, Suchel Camacho will participate, in the words of Estévez García, in the setting of personalized spaces, with adequate furniture for the positioning of such products.
In a first stage, the work will be done in stores located on Galiano and San Rafael streets in the capital, to be later extended to other establishments in the country.
Granma publishes the remarks of Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, at the 32nd anniversary of the Urban, Suburban and Family Farming Program in the municipality of Segundo Frente, Santiago de Cuba
Author: Manuel Marrero Cruz | firstname.lastname@example.org
February 16, 2020 21:02:00
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Compañeras and compañeros of the presidency and invited guests;
Delegates to this important work meeting:
More than three decades ago, on December 27, 1987, during a visit to an experience of growing vegetables in quarries enriched with organic matter in Hortifar, an entity belonging to the Military Agricultural Union, the Army General [Raul Castro] indicated to analyze and develop this method of cultivation. This is how the Urban Agriculture Program was born.
Years later, this type of quarry became part of the environment in every corner of Cuba, from the big cities to the small towns.
Then the idea emerged, also from the Army General, to increase the scale of those crops to the lands around the cities, which in their great majority remained unproductive.
As you will remember, this came to be on April 8, 2009, first in Camagüey, within a radius of ten kilometers from the center of the provincial capital. It was called suburban agriculture, and wisely integrated into the by-then already consolidated urban and family agriculture. It was under the direction of comrade Adolfo Rodríguez, known affectionately by all of us as Adolfito. With such passion, responsibility and efficiency he took on the task, practically until the last moment of his life, and to whose commitment we owe a great deal of what was achieved. May this event serve to honor his memory.
The concept has remained unchanged: to generalize a system of food production based on local potential, that is, creating there their own technologies and productive inputs by using the potential available in the territory.
Undoubtedly, since then, progress has been significant. The program has been consolidated as a popular movement of a productive extensionist nature and under agro-ecological principles. This is done with the use of sustainable production technologies, the use of local resources, and the combination of experience and traditions with science and technology.
It is a dynamic, deep, vertical, coordinated and directed work system through the National Group. This has allowed us to achieve positive results and with it, important savings to the country’s economy, contributing to the decrease of input imports.
At a time when the U.S. government has tightened the blockade and everything indicates that it will continue to do so, this project aimed at producing food for the people. It’s something that is not simply another priority, takes on much more importance. It is a vital issue for national security, I repeat, something that is not simply another priority; it is a vital issue for national security, which is equal to preserving our independence and sovereignty.
Today, our country imports $1.65 billion in food for the people, so replacing those imports is strategic. We must commit ourselves to the development of this program and extend its various productive structures to our cities, up to 10 square meters per inhabitant by next year. To take advantage of all available spaces in the cities or towns.
There are plenty of reasons to defend this strategy. In the first place, it is the most economical way of producing food. It can work with a minimum of motor transport and fuel – even without any if necessary – as people can buy them where they are grown, or the transport is a short distance and allows the use of alternative means.
Another very important point: it does not require imports of pesticides or fertilizers. Each hectare of quarry committed must be supported by the amount of fertilizer and other organic inputs needed.
In addition, it guarantees employment for thousands of workers, including women and young people. It is an elementary tool for achieving food security. It contributes to improving water management and nutrient recycling. It allows the use of unproductive, idle or underutilized spaces and is capable of producing the seeds it demands, among other advantages.
All this makes it a realistic and sustainable alternative, a reference for what we have to do to achieve food and nutritional sovereignty for our population.
It is fair and necessary to recognize what has been achieved, but you know, and you analyzed it during the event, that even greater results can be achieved with the resources available today, if we use them with the maximum of rationality and intelligence.
No one can feel satisfied until the last disused quarry and organoponico is recovered. The goal is to repair them all and put them into use during the current year. Likewise, to complete the reconstruction of the protected and semi-protected cultivation areas affected by meteorological phenomena or by the logical deterioration of the years of exploitation.
The yield per square meter must be increased. There are plenty of examples of what is possible when quality seeds are used and with a constant application of organic substrates and fertilizers, as well as the appropriate use of bio-products and agro-technology.
The use of animal traction in cultivation work around towns and villages should be a constant, whether or not fuel is available. In addition to the efficient use of water and renewable energy sources, such as biogas, windmills, solar panels, biomass and other alternatives, depending on the possibilities in each location.
We cannot stop at the incorporation of idle areas, covered with marabou and other weeds, in the surroundings of population settlements and communities.
It is also important to guarantee production throughout the year; not to neglect the summer under the excuse of unfavorable weather. In those months we have to promote products that are more resistant to heat, such as cucumbers, eggplants, beans, and okra, among others.
We must perfect the marketing of fresh vegetables and fruit, with emphasis on the population, but without forgetting tourism, social consumption, defense, and the internal order, and we must even get to export some products.
Closely linked to these purposes is the objective of continuing to adjust the organizational system of Urban Agriculture. It is necessary to analyze its financial structure and measure its impact, to ensure adequate profitability and stability in the results.
The Municipal Urban Farm and its representatives of the people’s councils must exercise a broad power of convocation among local producers. In turn, they must play the productive, political and social role for which they were created. It is necessary to work hard to re-establish the marketing network that will simplify and facilitate the acquisition of agro-products directly for the local population.
The success of this great effort has a decisive key: the women and men who make the land produce. It is essential to continue to increase the incorporation of the labor force into this activity, especially young people, and to perfect the systems of payment by results.
Also from Urban Agriculture, the fruit tree program was born, which was incorporated into the local supply in all the perimeter of our localities.
Regarding this program, Army General Raul Castro Ruz suggested to create a fruit tree cooperative in each municipality and today we can report with satisfaction that we have 353 cooperatives throughout the country, dedicated to the production of fruit for the people.
With regard to food production in general, today more than ever we have to promote polyculture.: It is not the same to invest in fuel, fertilizers and other resources to prepare the land and sow a single crop than to take advantage of the same for two and three more.
Compañeras and compañeros:
We had proposed to guarantee 30 pounds per month of food and vegetables to each fellow citizen,. Of those, we reached 20 in 2019. We will reach that goal in less time if we continue to increase the productive areas, from the backyards, the orchard, the giant organoponicos and suburban agriculture, to the large productive poles.
To do this, we must continue to produce high-quality seeds. Research centers already show positive results with seeds that are better adapted to our climate, increase yields and even reduce production cycles.
Another objective is to guarantee each Cuban five kilograms of animal protein per month, and last year we only reached 200 grams. It is unsustainable to try to increase the production of animal protein-based on imported feed and raw materials, in which we are investing 450 million dollars today. It is as much of a priority to produce animal feed as we consume directly as people.
We Cubans have inherited as a food tradition a diet made up of four basic products: rice, beans, food and protein, to which we should add vegetables or salads. Of these, we now have total sovereignty over only one: food. We import an important part of rice, and to a lesser extent, beans and meat, but also in considerable volume, and even a level of vegetables.
Our future has to be directed towards achieving food sovereignty. We have to aim for this in stages, the shorter the better, planned and well-coordinated in a comprehensive way through realistic plans. It is precisely vegetables and beans that we can stop importing in the short term.
We are convinced that this program will continue to grow and will play an important and irreplaceable role in achieving these strategic objectives.
We congratulate you on the results achieved in 2019 and we urge you to continue to move forward as a national reference in the production of food for the people and thereby demonstrate that Yes we could, Yes we can and Always we will.
Thank you very much.
March 6, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Text: CEAP collaboration
Considering the will of the private sector as a high strategic value for a city and reconciling concrete actions to transform not only the physical spaces but also the culture of life is magnanimous in these times. This was endorsed in the first workshop: governance from a public-private strategic alliance in Cuba. It was a meeting between the government and a large group of entrepreneurs from the capital.
The workshop, on this occasion, was convened by the Center for Public Administration Studies (CEAP), belonging to the Alma Mater of Cuban Higher Education. It’s part of a joint effort with the Public Administration Network of the aforementioned Center for the Study of Public Administration, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network of the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, in a conjunction of efforts and interests.
The meeting was held in response to the need and demand to create a space for exchange in the interest of presenting, debating and exchanging needs, potentialities, experiences and proposals, among others, aimed at promoting local development projects, as well as fostering links between the State and non-State sectors and foreign investment.
Its development was attended by the Coordinator of Economy in the Government of Havana, Jorge Luis Villa, as well as the economic coordinators of all the municipalities of the province and some Municipal Directors of Labour. The University of Havana was represented by the Director of the Center for the Study of Public Administration and the Cuban Economy, Dr. Noris Tamayo Pineda and Dr. Betsy Anaya Cruz, respectively, as well as the Presidents of the Public Administration and Entrepreneurship Networks, belonging to each of the aforementioned, in addition to academics linked to each of the aforementioned research centers.
Among the more than 70 participants, and during 6 hours, assertive communication and immediate commitments prevailed. It is to carry out in the next months the First Exhibition Fair with an international scope. There the creators of goods and services by their own efforts will not only make known their products, but also offer all kinds of possibilities and opportunities for the community’s integral development; it was established the need to transform at local scale and through the interactions, in such a way that it reaches to energize the different sectors (state and non-state) as an intention prioritized in the Project of social economic development of the country.