CIBERSOCIEDAD 2017: Cuban firms sign MOUs with foreign companies

Source:  Granma
October 19 2017

By: National news staff |

cs 2017CIBERSOCIEDAD 2017: Cuban firms sign memorandums of understanding with foreign companies

Cuban and foreign firms signed agreements that will contribute to the development of the Cuban software company.

Photo: Cibersociedad 2017

A memorandum of understanding was signed on October 18 between Cuba’s software applications company, Desoft, and Germany’s International Software Quality Institute, iSQI, as part of the Cibersociedad 2017 international event, underway in Varadero.

The Directors of Desoft and iSQI, Luis Guillermo Fernández Pérez and Stephan Georicke, respectively, signed the agreement with the objective of ensuring the international certification of Cuban specialists in different software development life cycle processes, and allowing iSQI to expand its market to the region.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Union of Computer Scientists (UIC) and the Information Technology Company, belonging to the BiocubaFarma business group, also signed an agreement. Aylin Febles, president of the UIC, explained that this will allow for collaboration between both entities in terms of courses, events and the training of sector personnel.

Ailyn Febles Estrada.jpgAilyn Febles Estrada

The Cibersociedad 2017 civil society forum was inaugurated the same day, with broad participation of the non-state sector, academics, state enterprises and government representatives. The main topics addressed were Industry 4.0, virtual education in health, Internet governance, human capital in the development of ICTs, and emerging platforms. Discussions also arose on information technology architecture, cybersecurity, software production, virtual teaching, among other areas.

“The civil society forum has been very enriching. The debate was full of suggestions on how to access virtual education. The views were diverse and that underscored the importance of debate in spaces like this,” explained Dunia Colomé, a delegate to Cibersociedad and a member of the UIC.

Meanwhile, Sheila Esquivel, a Uruguayan participant in the event, stated: “I work in the technology side of Banca en Uruguay, and the event has been very good. I have learned new terms related to information technologies, and subjects that I believe will be very interesting to apply in my country.”

The day was also marked by several keynote speeches. Topics such as the development of the high-performance computing platform for biopharmaceuticals in Cuba; infrastructures based on Huawei’s experience; data analytics; big data; and democratic and inclusive governance, featured.

Carlos de Castro, executive president of the Multimedia Production Center for Interactive Television, traveled from Córdoba, Spain, to explain the power of data analytics and cognitive intelligence applied to health, business and tourism.

To conclude the day’s activities, the NOVA operating system, made in Cuba, was launched. This software, among other facilities, represents an important step toward the island’s technological independence.

Today, scientific sessions and the civil society forum continued. Issues related to the Internet of Things, and human and economic development coupled with technology, featured on the agenda.

Cuban linemen conclude work in areas affected by Irma

Source:  Granma
October 2 2017

by Prensa Latina (PL) |

Linemen who traveled to the province of Ciego de Ávila to assist with the efforts to restore power following Hurricane Irma, have returned to their respective territories

cuban linemen 3.jpg

CIEGO DE ÁVILA.– Cuban linemen who traveled to this province to assist with the efforts to restore power following Hurricane Irma, have returned to their respective territories.

After 21 days of intense work, the almost 1,000 electricity workers from Guantánamo, Granma, Las Tunas, Camagüey and Sancti Spíritus, together with locals, succeeded in restoring 99.6% of the energy system across Ciego de Ávila.

Diosdado Hernández, director of the Electrical Company in the province, noted that workers recovered 250 kilometers of subtransmission lines, and more than 1,800km of primary and secondary power lines, as well as 1,020 utility posts and 202 transformers.

He added that some isolated homes still remain without electricity, but brigades of local linemen are working to restore power in the next few hours. (PL)

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Source:  Granma
October 3 2017

by: Ángel Freddy Pérez Cabrera |

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” walk, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death.

villa clara youth

As part of the activities, on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front. Photo: Freddy Pérez Cabrera

SANTA CLARA.– Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” (Che’s route) walk this Thursday, October 5, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death, which will be commemorated across the island this October 8.

The walk will begin at 4.00 pm at the Marta Abreu de Las Villas Central University, which served as Guevara’s command headquarters during the capture of the city of Santa Clara, and where he returned in December 1959 to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Pedagogy. It will conclude close to the Loma del Capiro, in areas of the Sandino Cultural and Recreational Complex, with a concert by trova artist Adrián Berazaín, as José Antonio Marimón Carrazana, vice rector of expansion, computerization and communication of the institution, told Granma.

The event will be attended by young people from all higher education centers of the territory, including those studying at the MININT (Ministry of the Interior) Independent Faculty; Brigadier General Luis Felipe Denis; as well as students from the province’s schools, who will pay tribute to Che’s example and ideas.

che may day in Cuba.jpg

“Por la ruta del Che” is just one of many activities to be held in this province, which has the honor of guarding the remains of the Heroic Guerrilla and his fellow combatants, to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Voluntary work tasks will also be undertaken in workplaces and institutions, as part of the recovery efforts of the territory following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.

October 7 will see a cultural gala in Leoncio Vidal Park, while on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front.

A postage stamp commemorating the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the remains of Che and his comrades in arms to the city of Santa Clara will also be issued, while 50 students of the Ernesto Che Guevara semi-boarding school will be recognized as pioneers, in the act that will take place on the morning of October 8, in the square honored with his name.

Cuba will be ready for tourist high season without a trace of Hurricane Irma

Source:  Granma
September 27 2017

By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver |

Cuba’s Tourism minister noted that the main damage in this sector was limited to light roofing, false ceilings, broken windows, and green areas

cuba ready sept 2017.jpgVaradero’s Hotel Meliá Las Américas is open and offering services to tourists. Photo: Juan Diego nusa Peñalver

We reiterate our commitment that all Cuban tourism facilities will be operational in time for the upcoming high season, Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz stressed during a meeting with some 160 tour operators September 23, in Varadero’s Plaza América Convention Center, to address the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The minister explained that the necessary financial and material resources, equipment, and personnel are available for this purpose.

Marrero insisted that our “commitment to you is not limited to recovering from the effects of the hurricane, but that everything will be better than before and that we will have as a final result an updated and higher quality tourist product.”

Read more here:  Cuba will be ready for tourist high season without a trace of Hurricane Irma

Cuba opens bank accounts to help victims of Irma

Source:  Granma
September 26 2017

by: Granma |

Given the destruction caused after Hurricane Irma’s passage over the island, Cuban citizens have expressed their interest in making monetary donations to contribute to the recovery process.

hurricane irma in cubaAs such, listed below are bank accounts in Cuban National Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) that have been opened for Cuban residents to make deposits:

Account number in CUP: 0598770001459913
Account number in CUC: 0598770000989221

Donations can be made in the following ways:
– Cash deposits, which can be made at any bank nationwide
– Bank transfers
– Via bank cards, ATM machines, and telephone and mobile banking

Related:  Minute by minute: Hurricane Irma in Cuba

Cuba: Medical care guaranteed

Source:  Granma
September 20 2017

Nuria Barbosa León |

Minsap leaders emphasized that immediate priorities for institutions and staff across the country are the gradual reestablishment of services in polyclinics and hospital damaged by the hurricane, and the intensification of hygienic and sanitary efforts

cuba medical care guaranteed sept 2017.jpgNurse María Isabel Rodríguez Miranda (standing) faced Hurricane Irma on
the job at the William Soler. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Speaking to Granma International, Lázara Hernández Arias and Nayari Corrales Medina stated that they “never felt scared” as Hurricane Irma made its way along Cuba’s northern coastline.

At that time, both were at a medical facility in Havana, with their sons Leovany and César, respectively.

The two women noted how thankful they were to the staff at the William Soler Pediatric Cardiology Hospital, for the care they received during those difficult hours of strong winds and persistent rain. Lázara and Nayari explained that the ward remained lit and the television on to receive information; food and medicines were distributed as usual, while the director of the hospital also made several visits.

Ward nurse María Isabel Rodríguez Miranda, worked a double shift, as her colleague was unable to make it to the hospital given the weather situation. For over 24 hours María cared for and reassured patients and their families.

cuba medical care guaranteed sept 2017 2.jpgMothers Lázara Hernández Arias and Nayari Corrales Medina with their sons
Leovany and César, respectively, in Havana’s William Soler Pediatric Cardiology Hospital. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

“Luckily the building didn’t suffer any major damage, and we all awoke on September 10 anxious to get back to normal as quickly as possible,” she stated.

This has been the number one aim of healthcare workers across Cuba, who provided medical services in difficult conditions, which resulted in damage to 785 facilities, 62 of which were hospitals, 116 polyclinics ,and 314 local doctors’ offices, among others.

Partial damage to roofs, broken windows, and fallen trees constituted the main damages caused by the storm.

A series of measures were taken

In this regard Dr. José Ernesto Betancourt Lavastida, director of the Ministry of Public Health’s (Minsap) Defense and Civil Defense departments, stated that given the proximity of the dangerous hurricane a series of measures were taken, above all to protect the lives of patients, staff, and family members.

Steps were also taken to protect material resources and supplies, to ensure that all healthcare institutions were ready to support the post-hurricane recovery efforts currently underway.

“Pregnant women living in vulnerable zones and those likely to be affected were evacuated. Patients in hospitals at risk of flooding, such as the Hermanos Ameijeiras and América Arias, were transferred. Those in need of dialysis continued to receive treatment in sheltered facilities close to hospital establishments. Given the possibility of a breakdown in lines of communication, 76 clinical-surgical brigades were mobilized and deployed in communities located in remote or hard-to-reach areas, in order provide medical attention during and after the hurricane,” he stated.

Dr. Ernesto Betancourt Lavastida.jpg

Dr. Ernesto Betancourt Lavastida, director of Defense and Civil Defense for the Ministry of Public Health, said vital services were available during and following the storm. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Likewise, medical institutions such as doctor’s offices, polyclinics, opticians, nursing and maternity homes, located in buildings deemed unfit to withstand the hurricane, were relocated. Some 240 pharmacies were relocated to temporary premises belonging to state agencies and in local homes, in order to protect one hundred percent of their stock. Medical care was organized in all evacuation centers and thousands of health workers, including doctors, nurses, and hygiene and epidemiology technicians, worked uninterruptedly alongside Red Cross brigades to provide care to the evacuated population.


Now in the recovery phase

Now in the recovery phase, hygiene and sanitary measures are being implemented, and the population has been called on to pay the utmost attention to guidelines issued to prevent the outbreak of disease, Betancourt Lavastida assured.

Yanaris López Almaguer, Minsap Environmental Health director, confirmed that to date no outbreaks of any type of communicable disease, due to contaminated food or water, have been reported in the country. “If a suspected case were to appear, isolation would be carried out in the centers created for this purpose,” she noted.

During this recovery stage, cisterns, wells, and tanks are being cleaned and water chlorified. In addition, there is specialized monitoring at key points of the water distribution network, to ensure required quality, among other measures.

López Almaguer explained: “We will continue to undertake educational action through the media and personal intercommunication activities. Our family doctors will hold talks at sites where the population is concentrated, not only within health institutions but also in morning meetings in workplaces and student centers, explaining how to maintain hygienic measures to avoid the onset of gastrointestinal diseases.”

Dr. Yanaris López Almaguer.jpgShe also urged all Cubans to join the sanitation efforts inside and outside their homes, as help collecting debris, fallen trees, cleaning yards, streets and gardens is required, to eradicate vectors such as rats, insects, and mosquitoes.

Joint efforts of health workers and the population

According to the specialist, despite the magnitude of the hurricane, the joint efforts of health workers and the population in general was demonstrated, as evidenced in the reigning sense of calm. Even in those places without power and water, no cases of leptospirosis, outbreaks of diarrhea, or respiratory diseases were reported.

Medical students and those studying specialties aided these efforts, carrying out door-to-door surveys, inquiring as to the presence of any symptoms, and speaking to families about the measures they should take to stay healthy.

Jorge González Pérez, Minsap Teaching director, explained that in the 13 medical universities of the country, classes will be gradually resumed according to the situation in each territory. Meanwhile, students are undertaking social work within local communities.

Vital services restored

Minsap leaders emphasized that immediate priorities for institutions and staff across the country are the gradual reestablishment of services in polyclinics and hospital damaged by the hurricane, and the intensification of hygienic and sanitary efforts.
Granma International visited the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital located on Havana’s waterfront, seriously affected by flooding. Dr. Rigoberto García Gómez, deputy director of Teaching and Research, explained, “We implemented a plan designed for this type of disaster and safeguarded all the equipment, but the flooding caused by the hurricane surpassed expectations.”

To recover, help was first sought from the Firefighters Command to extract water from the basement and central cistern, then the entire staff assumed the clean-up of all areas to prepare for the resumption of services as quickly as possible.
A similar effort was mounted at Salvador Allende Hospital, in the Havana municipality of Cerro, a complex with several pavilions and 430 beds, 180 of which are for patents in serious condition.

Dr. Mery Torres La Era, deputy director of Medical Assistance, indicated that the principal cause of damage was falling trees, which downed utility lines and banks of electrical transformers.

To provide services during and after Irma, an emergency system of six fuel oil generators was activated to provide electricity. However, even after the national electric grid was restored, a ward serving chronic kidney disease patients remained without power, as a result of a damaged transformer.

These individuals were therefore transferred to another hospital, but thanks to a quick response, power was restored shortly in this vital area.

Dr. Torres reported that the institution’s 1,780 workers stayed on the job before the hurricane struck, and were focused on the return to normality, saying, “I thank all the state institutions which supported us during these difficult days, because we know that almost the entire country is immersed in addressing damage similar to ours.”

Reinold García Moreiro, director of Public Health in the province of La Habana, reported that all measures projected in plans for this kind of disaster were adopted in the capital’s healthcare centers, thus avoiding greater damage and allowing services to be quickly reestablished in unaffected facilities, adding, “We have quantified the damages, and already estimated the economic expenses. Material resources available have been assigned to resolve problems.”

The main impact, he said, was concentrated in five municipalities of the capital: Plaza, Playa, Centro Habana, La Habana del Este and La Habana Vieja; while some 367 city blocks were seriously impacted, mainly by coastal flooding. Now, he emphasized, work must focus on ensuring hygiene in conjunction with authorities and the population, to avoid epidemiological problems.

Cuba: Recovery underway in resort areas hit by Irma

Source:  Granma
September 15 2017

by Alejandra García |

Granma International spoke with Alexis Trujillo Morejón, Cuba’s first deputy minister of Tourism, who addressed the recovery of resort areas and tourist

recovery underway after irma.jpgMany tourist facilities are already offering services after the passage of Hurricane Irma. Photo: Germán Veloz Placencia

When it became evident that Hurricane Irma would impact the island’s northern coast, steps were taken not only to protect Cuban families but also the thousands of tourists who had chosen Cuba as their vacation destination.

The country’s tourism poles – the majority located along the northern coastline – guests, and workers there immediately became a priority in preparedness and disaster mitigation efforts.

Alexis Trujillo Morejón.jpgAlexis Trujillo Morejón, first deputy minister of Tourism in Cuba, told Granma International that as a priority, among the measures adopted by the Ministry, along with Civil Defense authorities, was the protection of the 45,827 tourists staying in hotels along the country’s northern coast, a figure that represented 88% of all the international vacationers in the country (51,807), on September 5. Photo: Juvenal Balán

There were additionally 2,216 Cubans at Campismo Popular facilities in the region, who were also evacuated.

The transfer of tourists to more secure facilities began in the province of Camagüey and the northern keys of Ciego de Ávila and Villa Clara, including the barrier islands of Cayo Coco, Guillermo and Santa María, areas where the eye of the storm was forecast to make landfall.

Staying on the keys were 10,625 visitors, 5,134 of whom were evacuated to Havana and Varadero, a process that demanded greater organization and discipline than during such events in the past. The remaining 5,491 were Canadians, whose tour operators returned them to their country before the hurricane arrived.

A tense moment came when Irma’s expected turn to the north toward Florida was delayed, and the hurricane remained practically at a standstill very close to Varadero for several hours.

On the peninsula, as Irma approached, were 16,784 tourists – including those evacuated from the northern keys – as well as 4,179 workers.

Nonetheless, not one person was hurt, given the preparation, organization, and discipline achieved, Trujillo reported with pride.

In terms of the network of hotels in Havana, he recounted that the decision was made to evacuate all facilities located on the northern coast, from Jibacoa in Mayabeque to the Hemingway Marina on the west side of Havana, given the eminent danger of coastal flooding, adding that on other occasions only partial evacuations were necessary.

The recovery of tourists poles will be completed in record time

Despite the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma along the country’s northern coast, Trujillo said, “The tourist poles did not experience significant damage,” reporting that no installation suffered structural damage, although glass windows, ceilings, and aluminum trim were affected, while some lightweight constructions like beach huts and outdoor eating areas succumbed to the winds.

Tourist facilities in the country’s eastern region, which was not hit directly by the hurricane, are at this time operating normally, he said. Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, and Granma did not suffer damage, while in Las Tunas, hotel accommodations were quickly readied. Holguín, which faced only light damage, recovered within a short time, and maintained services. This resort area confronted Irma with 3,935 tourists safely lodged in its hotels.

The timeline established for the recovery work indicates that facilities in Camaguey’s Santa Lucía resort area will be completely repaired by the end of September, while in the case of the keys where damage was greater, all will be in order by the beginning of the high season.

Varadero maintained operations throughout the hurricane’s passage and the country’s most important resort began the clean-up as soon as the recovery phase was declared, starting immediately with the task of replacing glass and other light elements. The international airport was reopened, to complement the resort’s operations, and incoming and outgoing flights reestablished.

The capital will also recover in record time. Several hotels were barely affected, and others have begun repairs.

Likewise, the citywide clean-up is underway, and staff members are working feverishly to ready facilities in order to receive clients immediately.

The full recovery of all tourist poles is a priority, since tourism is a strategic sector for the economy. It has been reaffirmed that facilities will be ready and operating before the beginning of the winter high season. The human and material resources to accomplish this task are in place, Trujillo concluded.