February 28, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
New water charges for hydrometric control in the productive or service sector will begin to be applied as of April 1, officials from the Higher Organization of Business Management (OSDE) Water and Sanitation, of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, reported in Havana.
According to the Cuban News Agency, the new prices should contribute to saving the vital liquid in hotels, industries and other centers of production and services, many of which have become large consumers, said Marcia Almeida Llanes, director of State Commissioning of the aforementioned OSDE.
She clarified that, in addition to the companies in this group, there are also self-employed workers and cooperatives, especially when some of their activities or businesses require the important natural resource for commercial purposes.
Likewise, she explained that the water supply service will maintain up to the established standard of a cost of 1.55 pesos per cubic meter (m3) for hotels and other tourism entities.
Industries or other productive sectors and commercial facilities of service and offices will have as rates an amount of 4.20 pesos/m3 until its established standard and an increase to 15 pesos/m3 if they exceed 25 percent of the same. However, there are also discount bonuses of up to 35 percent for entities that save below 25 percent of the established standard, said Almeida Llanes.
“National demand is low and has been covered over the years. But exports in the form of raw materials offer us many possibilities,” said Félix Ramón Fernández, director of the pre-industrial division of the Tabacuba business group.
by Ronald Suárez Rivas | email@example.com
January 30, 2020 20:01:27
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
PINAR DEL RÍO: With the purpose of increasing exports, and attending a demand that today is not in conditions to cover, Cuba increases the plantating of burley tobacco.
During the current season, the plan is to reach some 1,700 hectares, distributed between the municipalities of Consolación del Sur and Pinar del Río, but the program to develop this crop aims to grow much more.
Félix Ramón Fernández, director of the pre-industry department of the Tabacuba business group, explains that there is currently confirmed demand from foreign customers for 5 000 tons. However, the country’s production will only be able to reach around 2,000 this year.
This is why increasing burley cultivation is one of the sector’s priorities.
Although currently only pineapple fertile lands are harvested, the official says that it will also be taken to other territories in the center of the country, in order to raise production to 10 000 tonnes.
However, the main focus will be on Vueltabajo, where it has already begun to replace dark tobacco in some of the Consolación del Sur and Pinar del Río plantations.
Fernández points out that burley production was very depressed, and was aimed solely at the Cuban industry.
“National demand is low and has been covered all these years. But export in the form of raw materials offers us many possibilities.
Justo Luis Fuentes, president of Tabacuba, assures that “this type of tobacco is very coveted in the world today. Therefore, the increase of its production constitutes a fundamental line of work, for the increase of exports.
“Cuban dark tobacco is also in great demand, but we have a greater quantity of that,” he adds.
Introduced into the country in 1947, in the area of Herradura (municipality of Consolación del Sur), burley is a type of blond tobacco that is mainly used in cigarette blends, due to its ability to retain aromas.
By Lissett Izquierdo, Cubadebate journalist. Graduated from the University of Havana (2014). She worked at the Cuban News Agency from 2011 until September 2018.
and Ferrer Ariel Ley Royero
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Cuban economy plan for 2020 will have a new conception: it will be elaborated without specific directives or limits, since it will come out of the active participation of workers in each company, informed Alejandro Gil, Minister of Economy and Planning (MEP), this Wednesday.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the VIII Congress of the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC), at the Havana Convention Center, the Minister argued that planning will become a collective construction, in which the potentialities of the country’s entities are identified.
Gil reminded the delegates and guests that up to the moment a global model of the economy was made, from which the specific directives for sectors came out, that is to say, the requests for goods and services, as well as the pre-defined level of imports and exports that the economy would have.
According to Gil, now “there is no straitjacket,” but we will have to be objective, realistic and conscious. This new way, demanded for years by the workers, also requires a change of mentality, because “there will be those who are used to the numbers coming from above,” said the minister.
For this reason, he said, this process – which is currently taking place in the labor collectives – will require the support of ANEC and the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC). “The plan that is built has to be by nature more efficient than the one that came from the top down.
Gil ratified that for next year, in the midst of the restrictions that the country presents and the tightening of the blockade imposed by the United States, growth and development can be guaranteed due to the existence of human capital, a national industry with potentialities to be better exploited and a more diversified foreign trade.
Among the priorities, he mentioned activities related to food production, housing programs, transportation, computerization and medicines. The financing of national industry will also take precedence.
In the words of the head of the MEP, one of the problems that hinders the performance of the Cuban economy is the persistence of a mentality that is highly dependent on imports. In recent years there has been a trend towards increasing purchases abroad, which has an impact today, he argued.
He explained that goods are imported that with efforts can be produced within the country. For example, animal feed for pigs, because when there are failures in their purchase, the production and commercialization potholes appear, as happened in the last quarter of last year.
“The economy must prepare itself to gradually reduce these purchases, although it will not be resolved immediately,” he said.
In agreement with Gil, one of the ways to strengthen national industry is to promote productive chains, based on policies and financial incentives. It has also been conceived to strengthen local development projects, based on the use of the endogenous resources of the territories.
Another topic discussed by the Minister of Economy was that of investments. He commented that not infrequently there are differences between feasibility studies and yields. In these studies, scientific rigor must prevail, he said.
He added that the return on investment is little analyzed, when the most important thing is the examination of the expected result of the investment and how it impacted the economy.
Economists committed to the development of their country
In the opening remarks, Oscar Luis Hung Pentón, president of ANEC, reiterated the commitment of the more than 80,200 members of the organization to the process of updating the Cuban economic model.
In reviewing ANEC’s performance in recent years, Hung Pentón highlighted the activity of improvement, especially of officials and specialists in the state sector of the economy, as well as the development of science.
On the other hand, the working links between ANEC and the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines constitute an expression of the close communication existing today between the governmental structures, directly involved in the transformations of the economy, and the prevailing Cuban economic thought in the civil society, said the expert.
The meeting was attended by Jorge Cuevas Ramos, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party and Head of its Economic Department; Meisi Bolaños, head of Finance and Prices; and Abel Prieto, director of the Martiano Program Office and president of the José Martí Cultural Society.
By Arthur González
June 9, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Never before has the U.S. government allowed Internet access to Cuba, nor the use of under-sea cables that pass near its coasts or other facilities. Many Internet sites are banned from the island because of the 59-year economic war. However, Barack Obama approved a license for Google to enter Cuba. What were the reasons for that decision?
To help Cubans access more scientific, technical and other information to improve the Cuban economy?
Definitely not. Definitely not. Access restrictions still remain in many of these areas, the real objective was to reach Cuban youth with their distorted information, symbols, and values, as Obama himself stated:
“…we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through commitment. “The changes introduced in our new policy will further enhance our goal of empowering the Cuban people. […] and provide them with new sources of information…”
Of course, Cuba must take advantage of this opening, however small it may be. [We want] to go out into the world and make our truth known, to defeat the media campaigns that overflow the network of networks with lies, such as false claims of violations of the rights of Cubans, to share Cuba’s achievements, achieved with effort and sacrifice, despite the damage caused by the criminal policies of the United States.
It is the opportunity to tell the world about the terrorist acts carried out by the U.S. government, the biological warfare which affected the people and the persecution of all the foreign banks and companies that try to establish business with Cuba.
In order not to be naïve, Cubans must be aware of what lies behind Obama’s [granting of the] license and why Donald Trump maintains it, despite having taken steps to dismantle many aspects of his predecessor’s policy, including the Presidential Directive, which sought to kill the people with honey, rather than with whips.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump took on the reactionary and ultraconservative language embodied in the Republican Party Platform, which sets out, among other things, the following points:
“The opening of the current Obama administration to Cuba was a shameful accommodation to the demands of the tyrants. They will only strengthen that military dictatorship. […] We demand an aerial platform for Radio and TV Martí broadcasts, and the promotion of Internet access as a technological tool to strengthen the pro-democracy movement in Cuba.”
Since his arrival in the White House, Trump has delivered on his campaign for the presidency, but he has not changed the license granted to Google for Cuba. In recent days he allowed Google’s executive president, Eric Emerson Schmidt, to travel to Havana in the company of Republican Senator Jeff Flake. Their background speaks for itself.
In 1996, the RAND Corporation of the United States National Defense Research Institute conducted a study for the Defense Department entitled “Cuban Communications, Computer Networks and their Implications for U.S. Policy.
That work puts forth the need to help open up Cuba and to force the emergence of an independent civil society, for which it states:
“It is necessary to encourage Cuba’s link to the Internet, to use it to transmit balanced news and analysis, to promote its use by Cuban NGOs, universities and other audiences.
Insisting on that, in March 2005, ultra-conservative Roger Noriega, Under Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, testified at a congressional hearing:
“The United States has relaxed licensing requirements so that, for the first time, high-speed personal computers can be delivered to civil society groups.
During an event held in 2012 at the Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with Google Ideas, a report was prepared recommending that the U.S. government create a remote WIFI network to enable Cubans to access the Internet.
In that gathering Republican Senator Marco Rubio was present. He said:
“The Cuban totalitarian system could collapse if all Cubans had free access to the Internet, because Cuba would follow the same fate as those countries that spent the Arab Spring.
The State Department announced on June 13, 2013, proposed projects to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba, including the use of digital tools to be used, selectively and safely, by the civilian population, along with other programs to promote equality and defend the social networks of black Cubans.
Programs created for subversion in Cuba such as Zunzuneo and Conmotion, the latter designed by the Open Technology Institute at The New America Foundation, were promptly denounced.
We welcome full access to the Internet, because Cubans are sufficiently prepared to know how to differentiate between the useful and the subversive, but in the face of an enemy that has not stopped attacking for more than half a century, we must always be alert and, as José Martí said:
“Do at every moment what is necessary at every moment”
By Juventud Rebelde firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Thursday 12 April 2018 | 02:08:31 AM
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
At press time, it was announced that a customer had signed a contract with a commercial unit of the Cuban Telecommunications Company (Etecsa) in Guanabacoa, in the eastern part of Havana, with whom the country has five million active mobile line services. According to information provided by Etecsa’s Institutional Communication Department, this figure confirms the growing evolution of mobile telephony on the island in recent years. Keep in mind that in December 2003 there were only 43,000 active mobile lines, by April 2008 the number of these had risen to 223 000, by March 2014 it had reached 2 million, by December 2016 it had reached 4 million, and 2017 closed with 4.22 million of these services.
Although clients in our country can claim and assert their rights against any violation, it is worth asking what mechanisms and norms exist today to protect them.
Author: Yaditza del Sol González | email@example.com
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Of course, these evils are compounded by others that affect trade in our country. These include irregularity in supplies, price-quality balance, insufficient information provided to buyers on the terms of product guarantees, few strategies and promotional initiatives, or the symptoms of apathy and mistreatment sometimes shown by staff working in stores and other establishments.
One thing is clear: to leave it to spontaneity or good faith to solve this problem would be to be naïve. The country is aware that, more than a glance, the most important thing is to take precise action, without delay, to eliminate the culture of abuse. It is not a favor to attend to the people and provide them with the service they request.
SOME OF THE COMPLAINT MECHANISMS AND CHANNELS THAT EXIST IN THE COUNTRY:
The Assemblies of Accountability of the delegate of the People’s Power of the district or private attention by this delegate.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Legal Consultations, which deal with complaints and issue consultations to citizens.
In the Councils of the Municipal and Provincial Administration, and in the companies located in the different territories where the Departments of Attention to the Population operate.
The Offices of Attention to the Population of the Communist Party of Cuba, in all its instances.
The mass media is another way for the population to lodge complaints.
SOME CONSUMER RIGHTS ESTABLISHED IN RETAIL ENTITIES.
To the satisfaction of their basic needs, through access to essential basic goods and services through the different modalities established in the country and according to their income.
The protection of the life, health, and safety of the consumer against risks caused in the supply of products and services considered dangerous, harmful and against poor quality and false or misleading advertising.
To the protection of their economic income, through fair, just and respectful treatment in the purchase and sale and contractual transactions and against coercive commercial methods or methods involving misinformation about products and services.
To the information, that is, to receive all the truthful and timely information on the different goods and services, with correct specification of quantity, characteristics, composition, quality, and price, as well as on the risks they represent.
To education and dissemination on the appropriate consumption of goods or services that ensure freedom of choice, fairness in the conduct of exchange and the preparation of the consumer to engage in responsible consumption.
To choose, which gives the possibility to satisfy the needs of consumers according to their expectations, tastes, preferences, all within a national framework and in accordance with the specific possibilities and conditions of the national economy.
To ensure that the conservation and preservation of the environment is not undermined.
To full, timely and adequate compensation for damages resulting from the purchase of the goods or services offered on the market and to effective compensation, whenever feasible, as regulated in the event of the supplier’s default.
To have access to the corresponding bodies for the protection of their rights with a view to presenting their opinions and complaints in the different instances, creating the conditions for their analysis, through agile and efficient procedures.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The capitalist socio-economic order is synonymous with freedom only for those who accept that the first freedom must be for capital and that money must be free to buy everything. When the capacity of money to acquire the goods that sustain life in society is restricted or when it is prevented from behaving in the manner of another commodity that can be bought and sold, it is restricted to capitalism.
That is why it is so important for capitalism that popular consciousness has been manipulated by the system and won over to the idea that “capitalism” equals “democracy” and that any attack on the freedom of money to acquire any of the earthly and moral goods of society is an attack on democracy.
Can you imagine what your country, and this planet, would be like if doctors, educators, courts, governments, the means of production and services, information, cultural expressions and even the conditions for making love were equally available to everyone in a society where money cannot determine differences in the quality and urgency of benefits?
But this would distort the precarious asymmetrical balance present in almost every society on the planet, because capitalism needs such ideas to continue on the fringes of citizen aspirations.
Because, for capitalism, it would be terrible if a person with many economic resources were condemned to the same quality of life and the same conditions of treatment and possibilities of cure in cases of illness as those who lack sufficient money.
Because, from a capitalist point of view, it cannot be considered logical that the descendants of the wealthy should have to share the same classrooms and quality of education with children from poor families.
Because it does not seem rational to a good bourgeois that the poor and the rich should be judged, in the case of crime, by the same standards, nor that they should share galleys in prison with corrupt millionaire and hungry common criminals.
Because in the electoral systems of capitalism, it should not happen that elected leaders should dispense with the donations made by the richest, most influential and responsible individuals and entities of society in their campaigns for office. In their future performance as leaders, they may consider themselves obliged to protect the security of corporate capital and that of the nation’s most important and powerful layer.
Because, in the capitalist order, the media is only free if private capital can buy radio and television stations, magazines, newspapers, news agencies or any other means of communication. This is so that they may be in a position to efficiently ensure that what is published serves their own interests, which are the determining factors in bourgeois society as a whole.
Because the capitalist system needs the best of national and international art and culture to be exhibited or imported for the enjoyment of society’s educated elite, which has the resources to pay for the costs involved through advertising.
Because in a capitalist society it is considered healthy that everything is structured in such a way that the main attraction for gender relations is money and economic position. Thus, the most beautiful men and women are attracted to other beautiful men and woman with greater wealth, without peculiar considerations such as understanding, kindness, sensitivity or other sentimental or otherwise subjective arguments.s.
For capitalism, stimulating competitiveness and the struggle for profit as engines of progress, at every level of the economy, brings the greatest dividends and any other consideration – moral, ethical or patriotic, for example – limits the development of the nation.
When any of the above conditions are missing or are threatened by the misunderstanding that they are inherent to capitalism and that this is the same as democracy, we must act with haste and without mercy.
This is how modern capitalism does it systematically, through the government of the United States and the oligarchies that are submissive to it, anywhere in the world.
The erratic hegemonic performance of the United States in recent years has contributed greatly to the discrediting of the capitalist way of life on a global scale. Capitalism has shown that its model is not in line with the aspirations of the dispossessed classes of the rich countries, nor with those of the peoples of the Third World, who are eager to live in a less cruel and more equitable system.
April 5, 2018.
By Redaccion OnCuba
January 27, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews[The sign says, “If we weren’t Cubans, we would pay to be.”]
Padura, who was in the Spanish city of Toledo to present his new novel La transparencia del tiempo, answered reporters’ questions, that although he can’t be sure, he believes Trump is president “because in ahead of him, there was a candidate who was a woman.
And, in the United States, it was easier to have a black president than a female president, it’s a very complicated society,” he added.
Cuban writer Leonardo Padura said that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,”is the sin that Americans themselves are paying for their way of thinking”.
In this regard, he recalled that the story he tells in his latest novel takes place fundamentally in 2014 and ends with the beginning of talks between Cuba and the United States to re-establish relations.
It was a very hopeful development for the vast majority of Cubans and a large majority of Americans. But unfortunately, one of President Trump’s fundamental policies has been to dismantle President Obama’s policies,” said Padura.
I don’t believe that he has had a definite policy, except in the dismantling of what Obama created, and that’s where Cuba also fell,” said the writer, for whom relations between Cuba and the United States were restored but not normalized,” because, with an economic and financial embargo there can’t be normal relations.
In this context, he stressed that the Cuban community in Miami “is really very important.
It is a community that has made great efforts, which has even been able to accumulate capital “and will be important in the future development of Cuba,” according to Padura. He added that although in his principles this community “was characterized by being totally hostile to the Cuban revolutionary system,” now other more open generations have arrived.
The new generation of Cubans from Miami is much more open, its members travel to Cuba very often ” and they feel Cuban,” said Padura. He added that he has personally perceived that “it is increasingly possible for a Cuban artist living in Cuba to present himself as something normal in Miami.
There is an atmosphere “in which you can find some sense of hostility,” although he pointed out that “this has remained for a political class for which the bad relationship with Cuba is part of their work and is also part of their business.
But, in general, I feel that it is a community that has changed a lot in recent times. The historical exile no longer exists,” said Padura, who, for this novel brings back the character of police officer Mario Conde, who has starred in half a dozen novels.
In the plot, Conde is going to turn 60 years old and age begins to worry him. Not because of vanity,”but because he wants to witness things that may happen in the future” even though he is a man obsessed with the past “and knows that this vital period is running out”.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba produces, consumes and exports substantial amounts of Havana cigars and rum, products that enjoy a lot of prestige and are in high demand in international markets.
It is somehow perplexing that a nation which –according to United Nations specialized agencies– contributes greatly to the prevention and cure of ailments through the medical assistance offered by its scientists in many countries, is likewise an important supplier in the world market of products that are harmful to health, such as alcohol and tobacco.
The inhabitants of the islands that make up the Cuban archipelago took control of their destiny after a bloody liberation struggle. By then, the humble and exploited Cuban peasants and workers had managed to develop –with sweat and tears resulting from strenuous capitalist exploitation– cultivation techniques, handicraft and manufacturing techniques which, together with climatic and agricultural conditions specific to parts of the Cuban archipelago, had placed the island at the head of the world in these product which make it proud today.
Cuba had always been denied democratic paths. It had to achieve its independence, in the decade of the 1950’s, through an armed struggle waged by a rebel vanguard at the cost of thousands of lives.
But when the popular revolution won and the Cuban people became owners of the country’s destiny, the new government was forced to limit the scope of its social welfare goals.
This was because of the need to defend against the counter-revolutionary actions of the oligarchy, already displaced from the government but supported by the United States superpower.
After the proclamation of Cuba’s independence from Spanish colonial rule, the US played the same hegemonic role that Spain had exercised previously.
Not all the big companies that were nationalized by the revolution reacted in the same way.
Virtually all non-US foreign companies accepted the path of negotiation and resolved the matter sensibly, without further conflict. Several of them, over the years, have returned to have investments in Cuba at much higher levels.
For more than sixty years, US companies nationalized in Cuba were not allowed by the US blockade laws against Cuba (euphemistically called “embargo”) to sit down and normally discuss compensation issues.
Everything had to be done in an organized manner, and the inevitable impact had to be treated carefully to minimize violent effects, always in the hope of future understanding and tolerance.
In the case of Bacardí, the former owners of the firm opted for making a legal war against Cuba.
Shortly after the triumph of the revolution, they registered the Bacardí Company in Bermuda and fought a legal battle in the International Court of The Hague for the ownership of the brand.
They managed to maintain the right to the Bacardi brand and the bat as its symbol, but they were denied the right to identify their rum as Cuban or originally from Havana.
In 1999, thanks to their political links and the blockade, Bacardi managed to get the US Congress to approve a provision that would allow it to seize the Havana Club brand within the US territory.
The World Trade Organization condemned the action, but allowed Bacardi to market, within the United States, the fake Havana Club rum made in Puerto Rico.
Through bizarre legal maneuvers, Bacardí allegedly had acquired from an industrialist named José Arechabala, the property of a small rum factory called Havana Club. This had been his property since 1934 until its nationalization in 1960. In truth, those rights were non-existent, because they belonged to the Cuban state.
Despite the blockade, Cuba has regularly renewed the Havana Club brand with the US Patent Office since 1976.
The brand was given to the rum Cuba produces that in the past had been named Bacardí. Cuba has continued producing the Havana Club rum with total international legal backing. Obviously, because of the US blockade, the Havana Club brand could not be registered in the United States.
Since 1994, the production of Havana Club rum and its worldwide distribution, except in the United States, has been done by a joint venture of the French Pernod Ricard and the Cuban Ron Cuba. This is a measure of defense against the intense harassment of the blockade against the Island.
In a short time, the Cuban Havana Club rum quality has captured the preference of rum drinkers from around the world who have stopped consuming Bacardi (manufactured in Puerto Rico). Drinkers of the best rum in the world, including Americans, do not settle for the fake that Bacardí is today.
February 6, 2018