Cuba: Together we can make it!

Cource:  Cuba Minrex
March 24 2020

Speech delivered by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the First Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health of the Association of Caribbean States on Covid-19 held by Video Conference.

Allow me to mention that it has been thanks to a technical miracle and the support of the Secretariat that Cuba has been able to participate in this video-conference.  It so happens that the website that hosts the platform of the Association, through which all participants are able to connect to this important meeting, has denied access to Cuba for reasons of the blockade imposed by the United States against our country.

Congratulations to Barbados 

First of all I would like to congratulate Barbados in its condition as President of the Council of Ministers; as well as the Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States for taking the initiative of convening the First Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health on COVID-19 for the purpose of exchanging on the urgent efforts called for by humanity in view of the impact of the new coronavirus (SARS CoV 2/Covid-19).

We are here because we are facing a crisis that goes beyond all of us, the consequences of which are sure to be serious and enduring.

Unity of will to to develop joint cooperative actions

The quick spreading of the disease demands that we unite our wills to develop joint cooperative actions that will make it possible to cope with COVID -19, which we all human beings are exposed to.

But our responsibility is still bigger.  Further on, once we have overcome the pandemic, we will still have to confront its devastating and enduring social and economic effects. We are aware that we are currently on the path towards a profound recession or international economic depression and that our countries of the South will suffer severely its impact.

This moment calls for everyone to set aside political differences so we can all focus on dealing with the emergency and its serious consequences in the near future.

Every country can and should make a contribution and pursue every possible effort. The pandemic knows no borders or ideologies.  In order to confront such a serious challenge we should all concert our efforts and support each other.

Most of us are relatively small States, many with scarce natural resources.  We all suffer from the global economic contraction and some have to bear the additional burden of coercive economic measures.

The capacity to complement each other

In the midst of such difficulties, we have the capacity to complement each other. If we act on our own we would hardly achieve anything.  Together we could better withstand the impact, find some relief, protect our respective peoples and engage in the difficult task of recovery.

There are countries with better conditions to confront the pandemic and palliate its economic repercussions. Those which are doing relatively better could support the countries with fewer resources and those facing the most complex epidemiological situation first and afterwards those faced with the most complex economic situation.

The actions that we expect from WHO and PAHO to ensure collective, concerted and effective efforts should be supported by the initiatives that we are all capable of generating.

Sharing respective experiences

It is indispensable to share our respective experiences, intensify communication and identify those practices that have achieved good results somewhere else in the world.

We should not expect –much less be confident- that the rich and industrialized countries will come to save our peoples.  Little assistance will come from the North.  The responsibility of facing the challenge and acting the way our citizens deserve is ours.  The ACS can play a crucial role in that endeavor.

Allow me to share briefly the experience of Cuba.

We have adopted several measures to prevent, confront and control the infection in a context in which there isn’t a local transmission of the virus as yet.  Social cohesion and solidarity have been of the essence.

We have a primary health care infrastructure that ensures epidemiological control.  Our scientific development has specialized in communicable diseases and we have a pharmaceutical industry of a high technological level.

The country has and is implementing a national program to control and confront the infection that prioritizes the health of the people as well as visitors and foreigners residing in Cuba.

Responding to medical assistance requests

Despite this difficult situation, Cuba can modestly offer some cooperation.  After making some efforts we have been responding to the medical assistance requests received from several countries in the region, including five members of the Association, which have asked for medical personnel.

Based on the experience in China with the use of a medicine created by Cuba, we have also received requests for that medication, which we are trying to satisfy to the extent of our possibilities.  We have advanced in the negotiations of an agreement with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to guarantee a minimum amount of Interferon Alpha 2B vials.

Our Organization can help us socialize our experiences; design an institutional mechanism to bring our respective medical and scientific experts closer together; learn from successful social and local approaches; and identify new forms of cooperation.

We can not underestimate the value of joint efforts.

A virtual technical workshop

Therefore we suggest to the presidency of the Council of Ministers to organize, in coordination with the Secretary-General, a virtual technical workshop in the course of the next few days among our health specialists that will make it possible to establish ways of communication to share experiences and exchange information of interest that may contribute to cope with this pandemic.

Cuba also suggests inviting other countries of the hemisphere, including the United States and Canada, which may be willing to participate in the interest of expanding coordination and exchange.

Likewise, in an interactive way, we could all share a guide or questionnaire that could make it easier for us to identify fundamental data, statistics, concepts and practices that could be enhanced with whatever we have been able to learn from the experience in other countries and regions.

I can offer the participation of our experts to create this instrument.  This is a new initiative that we submit to the consideration of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Solidarity before inaction and selfishness

We are motivated by the fraternal values that have characterized Cuba, including the principle of sharing what we have, even if it’s scarce.  More than 400 000 Cuban professionals have accomplished missions in 164 countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia. The Cuban medical cooperation accumulates more than half a century of experience.

At some point in time we will have to carefully meditate about the way to face the economic, commercial and the consequent social impacts affecting all of our countries. We will be faced with a situation in which tourism will be affected; transportation will be reduced; commercial lines will be depressed; supplies will be uncertain and markets will be distorted.

We can not think that the market will respond to these challenges.  This will require the dedicated efforts of our governments.  If we join our efforts, we will have better possibilities to move forward in less time.

The reality that we all face requires that we put our willingness to take action and our solidarity before inaction and selfishness.  Humanity demands an effective solution.

Together we can make it.

Thank you, very much.

Optimism beyond fear: 6 positive results following the coronavirus

Source: La Santa Mambisa

March 19 2020

 

Amid collective coronavirus psychosis, some good news began to circulate (yes, you read that right). After all, it is better to look at half of the glass that is full, than half empty.

Until now there is no vaccine tested in humans or specific treatment that fights COVID-19 , which (among many other things) has generated a strong feeling of lack of protection. However, the coronavirus pandemic has generated many impacts that have been positive for humanity.

  • You know what it is

In 1981, when Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease arose , it took two years for the virus to be identified and detected in patients. In the case of COVID-19 , the first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019, and by January 7 the virus had already been identified.

  • Invaluable levels of cooperation between scientists

Open science and for everyone : in the open access search engine on medical bibliography, PubMed, 1029 articles about COVID-19 can be consulted . They are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis and clinical aspects.

See image on Twitter

Internet giants unite against disinformation

In addition, doctors from different areas and countries have come together to work on new analyzes that allow us to ask ourselves doubts about the possible impacts of the disease, for example on hypertensive people .

  • Decreased pollution

The pandemic is causing a general stoppage of economic activity and transport in China and in the world in general. The reduction in vehicle and aircraft travel has caused a drop in CO2 emissions such as nitrogen dioxide and fine particles, leaving a clear sky.

Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China

The NASA images show that the effects of the virus are also causing a very clear reduction in the values of contaminants in the air.

Internet users have also noticed that, for example, they have photographed the Venice canal: now you can see fish swimming.

  • China closed all temporary hospitals 

The declines in cases have been so great that on March 10, doctors in Wuhan, epicenter of the epidemic in China, finally removed their chinstraps to celebrate the moment when the city closed the last of the 16 temporary hospitals , he published. the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

  • China claims it has a coronavirus vaccine

The new recombinant vaccine against COVID-19 has been approved for the first human clinical trials , reported the People’s Daily, a newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. The vaccine has been developed by Chinese epidemiologist Chen Wei and researchers affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

  • We have better hygiene 

We have learned the correct way to wash our hands : it takes at least 30 seconds with soap and water to clean them well and avoid transmitting diseases. In addition, we have also learned that to cough or sneeze it is convenient to do it on the elbow and never use your hands.

Fidel’s Vision and the Cuban Interferon in China

Source:  La Santa Mambisa

By Ángel Guerra

The selection by the Chinese health authorities of the Cuban interferon alfa 2B (IFRrec) among 30 other drugs to combat the new coronavirus Covid-19 should not be surprising.

In fact, there is a Sino-Cuban mixed company in the Asian giant in the province of Jilin that, with Cuban technology, has produced the drug since 2007, which has been used with good results by the Chinese health system to combat viral diseases, especially hepatitis B and C.

The product can also be used to treat HIV infections, respiratory papillomatosis caused by human papilloma, and condylomata acuminata.

“Interferon alfa 2B has the advantage that in situations like these it is a mechanism to protect oneself, its use prevents patients with the possibility of aggravating and complicating themselves from reaching that stage, and ultimately resulting in death,” said the doctor in Sciences Luis Herrera Martínez, one of the creators of the recombinant INF in Cuba and today a scientific and commercial advisor to the Cuban business group BioCubaFarma, holder of the patent, manufacturer and distributor of this and other Cuban biotechnology products.

The fruits of Fidel’s vision

fidel a2But it is natural that news like this cause strangeness or curiosity in many people, since Cuba is a poor, underdeveloped country, subjected to the merciless blockade of the United States and this may lead to doubts that it has an international biotechnology industry. Furthermore, there is the tremendous difficulty that the largest of the Antilles is one of the countries on which the dominant media machinery is most misinforming.

Many Mexicans can explain it better in these times, when they verify daily the grotesque way in which most of the national and international media deforms the reality of the administration of the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. They are the same media that also silence the economic, social, humanistic and scientific achievements that Cuba achieves in the midst of the redoubled harassment by Washington because their editorial interest is to disqualify it.

That is why many do not know that in 1965 Fidel Castro inspired the emergence of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNIC), where many young Medicine graduates voluntarily went to his call to train as researchers. Gradually, new research centers emerged from the CNIC harvest.

The Cuban Revolution gave birth to the universal and public health system

By then Fidel had given a huge boost to the development of medical sciences and research in this field and was looking for new scientific findings and technologies to strengthen the universal and public health system created by the Cuban Revolution. So in 1981 he inquired with the American oncologist Randolph Lee Clark, visiting Havana, what was new in the cure for cancer. His interlocutor told him about work that was being done with a new medicine called interferon at the Anderson Hospital and Tumoral Institute, in Texas, which he directed.

The commander was interested in the possibility of sending Cuban professionals to familiarize himself with the novel product, which only existed in a few first-world countries, and Clark agreed to receive two investigators, something possible then because Trump was not in the White House. The Cubans fulfilled the mission but were unable to bring INF back to the island because the American hospital center still received it from Finland, where it was produced under the direction of Professor Kari Kantel, in Helsinki.

The envoys, summoned by Fidel upon arrival in Cuba, explained to him the need for a group of researchers to carry out an internship in Dr. Kantel’s laboratory to learn how to produce the INF of blood cell banks. Between the moment the leader of the Cuban Revolution heard a suggestion like that and the researchers’ departure to Helsinki, not many days could pass.

A trip to Finland

Fidel, concerned like very few heads of state about the health of his compatriots and, it must be said, of humanity, saw in the new product the possibility of saving many lives. This explains not only the trip of five Cubans and one Cuban to the center of Kantel in Finland, but less than four months after their return to Cuba they already had the first amounts of INF from bank globules produced on the island and very soon INF Recombinant, which allows for increased production and is the desirable type in most diseases.

On the island, the appearance of the INF coincided with a great dengue epidemic, which allowed a number of serious cases to be successfully treated with the new product. Thus, in 1981, Cuba became the first third world country to produce INF.

From that initiative emerged the Center for Biological Research and five years later an institution with much more complex and ambitious objectives from a scientific point of view: the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Interferon

Interferon is a substance made by cells of the immune system of vertebrate animals and can be produced in large quantities in the laboratory. Refined from bacteria or yeast is called recombinant and counteracts viral diseases mentioned in the first part of this article. It is also useful to help fight certain types of cancer and other viral diseases such as Covid-19.

When China decided to use interferon alpha 2B (IFRrec) in the fight against Covid-19, there were not enough quantities of the drug in the warehouses of the Chinese-Cuban company Chang Heber. Explaining its executive director Li Wenlan: “Upon learning of the serious outbreak of the new coronavirus in China and the urgent need for the original interferon for the production of antiviral drugs, the Cuban side postponed its previous import requests to China.

Cuba – China cooperation 

In addition, he appointed a group of Cuban experts to help China. ” As Cuba deferred in favor of China the receipt of quantities of IFRrec produced by Chang Heber, it was possible to shorten the time to make a certain amount of the product available to Chinese patients from 50 to 21 days.

The Cuban cooperation was mentioned in a telephone conversation by President Xi Jinping with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Díaz-Canel. Xi said China highly appreciates the understanding that the Cuban side and President Díaz-Canel himself have shown in China’s efforts against the epidemic.

It is very interesting that in this talk, around February 28, the Chinese president already stated that “the positive trend” in the prevention and control of Covid-19 “was gaining strength” and that his country had “full confidence, capacity and certainty ”that he will win the battle against the epidemic. The facts have confirmed XI’s claim, with the constant decrease in the number of infected and deceased in China, lately almost exclusively in Hubei, whose capital Wuhan is the epicenter of the epidemic.

The fact that the 16 provisional hospitals authorized in Hubei for the treatment of the disease have been closed and that on Monday 5 only 19 cases were presented in all of China, including two imported cases, demonstrates the robustness, humanism and ability to efficiently solve very complex problems that characterize the Asian giant’s socio-political system, contrary to what is claimed by the racist, anti-communist and anti-Chinese slander and lies of the Western hegemonic media.

In the telephone talk, Xi added that China is ready to continue cooperation with Cuba in the fields of medicine and the control of epidemics. China and Cuba “are good friends, good comrades and good brothers who can depend on each other in difficult times and are as close as lips and teeth.”

The Chinese leader recalled that this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, adding that his country will take the opportunity to raise bilateral exchanges and cooperation in different fields to new levels, starting from a new historical starting point.

The advantages of the socialist system

I do not remember reading warmer words from the Chinese leader to another country. For his part, Díaz-Canel stressed that this experience has fully demonstrated China’s mobilization capacity and the advantages of the socialist system. He added that China’s timely and effective response made outstanding contributions to controlling the spread of the epidemic, which has been highly appreciated by the international community, including the UN and WHO.

Interferon, Dr. Luis Herrera has said, was the inspiration for Cuban biotechnology. The always visionary commander took this product as if it were a lever and around it he developed natural production and created the bases for intensive genetic engineering development. The maturation of a biotech industry on the island is expressed with the emergence of the powerful Biocubafarma Business Group that employs more than 22,000 workers, exports to more than 50 countries, has 1,800 patents outside of Cuba, and its annual income amounts to around 2,000 million dollars, a totally new item in Cuban exports, which, in addition, has made a substantial contribution to the health of the people.

Among the institutions affiliated to the group are the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the Center for the Production of Laboratory Animals, the National Center for Biopreparations, the Center for Immunoassay and the Center for Molecular Immunology. Cuba has created very prestigious unique medicines :, among others, Heberprot-P, for the cure of diabetic foot; the CIMAvax-EFG C vaccine has opened up hope for the survival of people suffering from lung cancer; PPG is mainly used to lower cholesterol, but it has been shown to have antiplatelet, antiischemic and antithrombotic effects; VA-MENGOC-BC is the only effective vaccine in the world that attacks meningococci B and C.

The honor of helping Mozambique

Source:  Granma
April 2 2019

A medical brigade from the Henry Reeve Contingent, specialized in disaster situations and serious epidemics, is saving lives in this sister African country

Arriving in Mozambique, the Cuban brigade unloaded all the equipment they brought to perform their work in this sister nation. Photo: Minister of Public Health on Twitter

Damage caused by Hurricane Idai in Mozambique has once again mobilized Cuban solidarity, with a medical brigade from the Henry Reeve Contingent, specialized in disaster situations and serious epidemics, providing help in the city of Beira, Sofala province. The extreme weather left 468 dead, while another 259 perished in neighboring Zimbabwe and at least 56 in Malawi. Some three million inhabitants of the region suffered damage during the storm, described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as one of the worst weather-related disasters in the history of the African continent.

The brigade’s 40 members traveled with a field hospital donated by Cuba with spaces for consultations, operating rooms, a clinical and microbiological lab, imaging equipment, plus 20 hospital beds. Included in the group are specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine (MGI), surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, orthopedics, epidemiology, and health technology, who will join the more than 270 Cubans already working in the country, where our medical collaboration has been present since 1975, when independence was declared. Dr. Miguel Zorrilla Quiñones, a comprehensive medicine general practitioner, from the province of Pinar del Río, told Granma International that, when tragedy struck Mozambique on March 27, the Cuban government immediately proposed sending solidarity and began to prepare to depart, gathering information on the location and the epidemiological situation.

He has experience working in other countries: first in the Venezuelan state of Lara from 2001 to 2006; then in Pakistan in the wake of the 2006 earthquake there; in Angola (2006-2009); and Brazil (2015-2018). “In Mozambique I expect to find families with medical assistance needs and we will make every effort to resolve all the difficulties that the people are facing, as quickly as possible.” A similar comment was expressed by Dr. Ralfys Armando Carbó Sánchez, obstetrician at the Pedro Betancourt hospital in Jovellanos, Matanzas, who provided services in the city of Ebebellín, in Equatorial Guinea from 2008 through 2010, and treated patients with conditions rarely seen in Cuba.

As soon as everything was set up, Cuban doctors began attending the population in need. Photo: Minister of Public Health on Twitter

“I was the only Ob-Gyn. Also working there were a surgeon and a pediatrician, with two comprehensive medicine general practitioners. We organized shifts in general medicine and each of us faced all the ailments with which the population arrived at the emergency room. If a specific situation occurred, the specialist was called, so we were on duty 24 hours a day,” the doctor said. There was malaria, HIV/AIDS and typhoid fever, so he began prevention and health promotion work in suburban areas and distant villages to explain hygienic-sanitary measures to address these illnesses. During these community visits, he carried medicine to treat chronic non-infectious diseases and diagnose possible epidemiological conditions, while participating in the existing national program entitled “Growing without malaria,” offering educational talks on measures to be taken to control spreading the disease.

“I have several anecdotes to recount, but I was especially moved by the case of a pregnant woman who came to us in very serious condition. She had been in labor for five days, with very high blood pressure. She had convulsions when she arrived and without many material resources available, I was able to save her life. Neither she nor the baby died. Later, she came to visit me several times and thanked me for my efforts,” Carbó said. He also lived the experience of treating women who had abortions under poor sanitary conditions and developed infections due to these unsafe procedures. In these cases, he was obliged to use all his knowledge to assist the women, and is proud to say that in his two years of service, he had no maternal deaths and the infant mortality rate was reduced.

Getting ready to leave for Mozambique, he received updated information and participated in professional classes on cholera and malaria, since these are two diseases that can trigger epidemics after flooding occurs. “We discussed the prevention and prophylactic work we must carry out, mainly by presenting hygienic-sanitary talks.” He underwent medical tests to determine his health parameters and was vaccinated to prevent endemic diseases that have been eradicated in Cuba. He reviewed steps to take to avoid getting sick and updated his medical file, that he will take along, with this recent clinical evaluation.

Some 40 members have the brigade have departed for areas affected by Hurricane Idai. Photo: Roberto Suárez

For his part, registered anesthesiology nurse Serguei León Alonso, from Villa Clara, who just arrived from Guatemala where he served in a hospital operating room, in the city of Ixchiguan, San Marcos province, commented, “In Mozambique I will face a difficult epidemiological situation. I expect to see the population very sad and in pain, after witnessing a great catastrophe,” the young man said. He said he was proud to have been selected to work in these circumstances to show the humanism of his profession, something learned over the many years of study, and as part the legacy of Fidel Castro’s life and thought, who instilled in Cubans the desire to help the most needy even if they live in faraway, remote villages, adding, “Every health professional should be wherever duty calls,” Leon said.

Likewise, Yoanky Valdés Baullosa, a 33-year-old psychiatrist at the Pedro Borrás Polyclinic in Pinar del Río, has the experience of working with indigenous peoples in a mountainous area in the municipalities of Cajigal y Cariacó, in the Venezuelan state of Sucre, 2016-2018.

He points out that Cuban professionals have sufficient academic preparation to adapt quickly to change and find solutions to their problems and those of others. His assignment involves providing clinical therapy to the local population and his own colleagues, who will no doubt experience difficult moments, given the complex situation they will face in Mozambique. “For me this is about fulfilling a duty, leaving a legacy, that is, to be part of the history of Cuban medicine.”

Cuba Sends Field Hospital to Help Mozambique amid Cyclone Idai

Source: TeleSUR
March 26 2019

  • Patients await treatment at a hospital that had roofing blown off during Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 26, 2019.
    Patients await treatment at a hospital that had roofing blown off during Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 26, 2019. | Photo: Reuter

Cuban cooperation includes doctors and equipment to counteract the public health effects of the worst southern hemisphere tropical storm ever.

Cuba’s vice minister of Foreign Affairs Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo announced that Cuba is sending Wednestay a “field hospital”, with full staff and equipment, to Mozambique, which is a form of international cooperation whose purpose is to contribute to the management of public health conditions after the devastating impact caused by Cyclone Idai.

RELATED:  Death Toll Reaches 446 in Mozambique After Cyclone Idai

This new internationalist medical brigade will join 372 Cuban doctors who are already providing their services in the African country, 36 of whom arrived on March 14, when Idai made landfall for the first time, according to the Cuban News Agency (ACN).

In Mozambique the death toll rises to 447 and the directly affected population reaches 794,035 people, 128,941 of which are currently staying in 143 shelters provided by President Filipe Nyusi administration, according to the data updated until Monday by the National Institute of Catastrophe Management (INGC).

Cyclone Idai started as a tropical storm at Mozambique’s eastern coast on March 4. Days later, Idai made landfall and became one of the worst southern hemisphere tropical cyclones ever recorded as it reached four of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale, causeing multiple economic losses in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

“Our Cuban doctors, the Cuban Revolution’s most perfect work, always upholding our values, with their love of humanity, helping with a solidarity gesture to the Mozambican people. We are Cuba. We are Continuity. Let’s go for more.”

Vice Minister Rodriguez Camejo also accompanied Tuesday Gladys Bejerano Portela, who is Cuba’s State Council vice president and Comptroller General, to the Mozambican embassy in Havana, where both officials signed a condolence book with the African republic.

“In the name of the Cuban state, government and people, we express our deepest condolences, sorrow and solidarity with the government and people of the sister Republic of Mozambique, in the face of the lamentable human and economic losses caused by Idai,” Bejerano wrote.

In the center of Mozambique, the provinces of Manica and Sofala, where some 4.4 million people live, were the most affected by the cyclone.

In the capital Maputo, some 25 million people experienced the onslaught of Idai, whose consequences have been described by the United Nations as a “Level 3” humanitarian emergency, a category which only Syria and Yemen had achieved so far.

Association of Caribbean States Highlights Cuban Cooperation

Source:  Prensa Latina
March 30 2019

Managua, Mar 30 (Prensa Latina) The preparatory meeting for the Council of Ministers of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) highlighted in this capital the work carried out by Cuba in cooperation with that geographical area.

This was confirmed in recent statements to Prensa Latina by the director of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Eugenio Martínez, who headed the Cuban delegation at the first segment of the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the organization.

The Secretary General of the ACS, June Soomer, described as excellent the cooperation projects that Cuba offers to the Caribbean area, said Martinez.

The delegations of Jamaica, Mexico and Panama also spoke in that regard, he said.

Cuba brought to the meeting in Managua a message of support for the revitalization of the ACS, as agreed at the Havana Summit in 2016.

That agreement, which involved a review of the structure and work for a year and a half of a working group appointed for that purpose, sought to strengthen the role of the ACS as a mechanism for concertation and cooperation in the Greater Caribbean area, the Cuban diplomat recalled.

The cooperation policy of Havana highlights issues such as the one that focuses the attention of the Managua Summit, the confrontation of climate change, according to Martínez ‘very relevant to a region hit by several natural phenomena.’

The top official from the Cuban Foreign Ministry said that in the opening session, the secretary general commented on the progress in the field of cooperation, including the notable increase in funds received during the last triennium.

On this work front, the search for relations with third parties, observer countries, that have supported projects in the Caribbean, on all European and Asian nations stands out.

The above shows that the AEC is a necessary structure, it is not paralyzed and in which there is a broad spirit of collaboration among its members and associated states, concluded Martínez.

Raúl Castro: An increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible

Source:  Cubadebate
December 8 2017

raul in antigua dec 2017.jpg

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit. Antigua and Barbuda, December 8, 2017, “Year 59 of the Revolution.”

(Stenographic Versions – Council of State)

Honorable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda;

Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Granada and President of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom);

Honorable Prime Ministers and Presidents of the other member countries of Caricom;

His Excellency Ambassador Irwin Larocque, Secretary General of Caricom;

His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States;

Her Excellency June Soomer, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States;

Distinguished Heads of Delegations, Ministers and Special Guests:

I wish to express to the people and authorities of Antigua and Barbuda sincere gratitude for the expressions of friendship we have received since we arrived in this country and convey the appreciation and gratitude of the Cuban people and government for the expressions of solidarity of the Caribbean brothers after the physical fidel 26disappearance of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who was the initiator, guide and maximum promoter of political ties and cooperation between our countries.

Remember his words on December 8, 2002: “The only way out for our people is integration and cooperation, not only among States, but also among the various regional schemes and organizations.”
I am grateful for the determination of the Honorable Gaston Gaston Browne Antigua 2cBrowne and his government team, who despite the difficulties they face after the destructive passage of Hurricane Irma did not cease in their efforts to guarantee the conditions for the successful celebration of this, the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit .

A day like today, 45 years ago, the prime ministers of four countries of the Anglophone Caribbean, recently reached their independence, Errol Barrow, of Barbados; Forbes Burnham, of Guyana; Michael Manley, from Jamaica, and Eric Williams, from Trinidad and Tobago, decided to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

We will never forget that decision, which was a fundamental step for breaking the diplomatic and commercial siege against Cuba. It also allowed deepening the relations between the peoples of Our America, united by centuries of history, culture and neighborhood.

With pride we also celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Caricom-Cuba Summits, whose agreements and results have emanated a deeper and more effective relationship, based on solidarity and cooperation.

A sign of that everlasting friendship was the support that we offered each other before the passage of the two intense hurricanes that hit our region last September. I want to thank you for the expressions of brotherhood and Caribbean solidarity that we received.

A significant step

In this regard, the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between the Civil Defense of Cuba and the Caribbean Agency for Disaster and Emergency Management is a significant step.

In the next triennium we foresee the continuity of joint projects, the result of the political will of our governments, such as the Regional School of Arts in Jamaica and the Center for the Stimulation of the Development of Children, Adolescents and Youth with Special Educational Needs, based in in Guyana, which have made progress in their implementation process.

We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. The 5,432 young people from the Caribbean who have been trained and the 723 currently studying in them, as well as the 1,762 Cuban collaborators present in all the Caricom countries, including 1,469 in the health sector, are part of the contribution from Cuba to the development of the Caribbean peoples.

We intend to advance in the development of trade and investments. Between 2014 and 2016 the commercial exchange grew by 70%. This year marches at a good pace. The broad and diverse participation of Caribbean companies and agencies at the Havana Fair, last month, predicts higher growth.

We welcome the implementation, in January 2018, of the Second Protocol to the bilateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a document that expands the tariff preferences granted by Cuba and that facilitates access to our markets.

Dear Presidents and Prime Ministers and Guests:

How shall we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis that this hemisphere and the world are suffering? We must do it with unity in our diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among us.

The dangers for the survival of the human species increase. The consequences of the application of concepts not universally accepted as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” are used to cover up interventionist and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security and call us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

We should articulate to demand a fair action by the industrialized powers for the mitigation and adaptation of the effects of climate change, in particular with financial resources and technology transfer; to agree on approaches to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, to collectively address the mechanisms of domination imposed on us by the unjust international financial system.

I reiterate Cuba’s invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment.

We support the demand, equally just, to receive cooperation according to their real situation and needs, and not on the basis of per capita income statistics that classify them as middle income countries and exclude them from the flows of financial resources indispensable for its development

We join our voice against the persecution by transnational financial capital centers that seek to damage the international reputation of the Caribbean countries and hinder their economic development through inclusion in spurious and unilateral lists and singularization in dangerous supranational endeavors, supposedly for the confrontation to corruption.

We strongly support the just demand of the Caribbean Community for compensation from the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery and trafficking.

We also have an urgent duty with our peoples to advance with increasingly solid steps towards the political, economic and social integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Regional integration

Today, the successful trajectory of Caricom, the participation of all its Member States and Cuba in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Association of Caribbean States, as well as the membership of some of us in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, have contributed to the advancement of regional integration, which we must continue to promote. On the other hand, participation in Petrocaribe has represented a guarantee and significant contribution to the development of our countries.

I would like to highlight the signature by the Heads of State and Government of the region of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, on the occasion of the II Summit of Celac, held in Havana in January 2014, which constitutes the basis for the development of relations of mutual respect between the States and the commitment of these with the strict fulfillment of their obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and self-determination of peoples.

Venezuela

That is why we must not allow the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, one of our Latin American and Caribbean nations, to suffer continuous actions that pursue the destruction of its constitutional order. Cuba reiterates its permanent solidarity and support for the heroic Venezuelan people, its civic-military union and the Bolivarian and Chavez government led by President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Haiti

I underline the historical and ethical responsibility of our nations with the sister Republic of Haiti and the need to contribute to its development, with strict adherence to the will of its government and the legitimate needs of its people.

The blockade of Cuba

We Cubans deeply thank our Caribbean brothers for their unalterable position of respect and solidarity towards our country. We will never forget the permanent support for resolutions against the blockade of Cuba, as well as the numerous expressions of solidarity in the general debates of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and in other international forums.

This support is even more relevant in the face of the setbacks caused by the actions of the new government of the United States against Cuba. The blockade is the biggest obstacle to the economic and social development of our country, and to Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with the world.

Caribbean brothers:

“In the faithful of America are the Antilles,” José Martí wrote in 1894, the most universal of Cubans. His ideas, widely shared today, give us the conviction that an increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible; you can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude and support of Cuba.

Thank you very much (Applause).

 

Cuba-China relations: A cooperation model based on equality, respect, and mutual benefit

Source: Granma
October 2 2017

by Iramsy Peraza Forte | informacion@granma.cu

Miguel Ángel Ramírez, Cuban ambassador in Beijing, agreed to speak with Granma International about the current state of Cuba-China relations and their future prospects

cuba china relations oct 2017.jpgThere exists great potential to develop economic and political ties between Cuba and China. Photo: Ismael Batista

Beijing.- Cuba and China have enjoyed a special relationship since diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on September 28, 1960.
che y mao.jpgMonths before these ties were officially recognized, Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara led a delegation representing the nascent Cuban Revolution to Beijing, with the aim of cementing relations with the People’s Republic of China, founded 11 years prior.
Today, 57 years later, Cuba and China are celebrating having built a relationship which is not only an example for the world, but also a reference for the development of fraternal ties between two parties, governments, and peoples, which have stood the test of time.

Miguel Ángel Ramírez, Cuban ambassador in Beijing, agreed to speak with Granma Internationalabout the current state of Cuba-China relations and their future prospects.
This year is the 57th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and People’s Republic of China. More than half a century later how would you describe the current state of these ties, and the over 50-year relationship between the two countries?

fidel 200.jpgThe precursor to the emergence of these ties between Cuba and China is one of the most important moments of our history when, during the First Declaration of Havana on September 2, 1960, over one million Cubans, representing our people and led by leader of the Cuban Revolution Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, decided to recognize the People’s Republic of China.

Thus, Cuba became the first country in the western hemisphere to recognize the new China, even while the illegitimate government of Taiwan continued to hold its place in the United Nations. Since then, we have maintained ties of friendship, fraternity, and mutual support, which have strengthened over time.

The close ties of friendship between the two governments, parties, and peoples have a solid historical base, dating back to our independence struggles, in which Chinese immigrants played an important part; while the 170th anniversary of their arrival to the country is being celebrated this year. This important date, which laid the foundations for the creation of a Chinese-Cuban community, and the full integration of Chinese immigrants into our society to become part of our national identity, has been commemorated in both countries.

A model of cooperation

Our relations represent a model of cooperation based on equality, respect, and mutual benefit between two socialist, independent, economically strong nations.
Cuba has always shown its unequivocal support for the One China policy, and strongly rejects any actions which threaten its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese government and people have also continued to support the Cuban Revolution, and in particular its struggle against the U.S. blockade, a policy which despite continual, broad international rejection, remains intact and continues to escalate as seen by the continual persecution of Cuba’s financial transactions abroad.

Over recent years, more than 3,000 Chinese students have come to study in Cuba through government scholarship programs, which give new generations from the country’s least developed provinces the opportunity to study Spanish, medicine, tourism, and education, among other degrees, on the island. Meanwhile, the number of self-financing students from that country wanting to earn a degree here has also risen, proof of the popularity and quality of Cuba’s educational system among Chinese youth.

How can economic exchanges be expanded between the two countries?
China became Cuba’s top trading partner for the first time in 2016, with exchanges between the two nations amounting to 2,585, 516,000 USD.
Chinese companies are present in almost all sectors of the island’s economy, via projects linked to foreign trade, through which our country obtains various types of equipment, consumer goods, or through direct Chinese investment in the country.

We have seen important achievements in promoting Chinese Direct Foreign Investment in Cuba with projects such as the Bello Monte initiative linked to golf-course real estate, in which Beijing has invested 500 million USD.

We are also working on various Chinese investment projects in the Mariel Special Development Zone as well as others in practically all spheres of our country’s social and economic life, meaning a substantial boost for commercial exchange.
Cuba is also in the process of transforming its energy matrix, for which substantial long-term investments are needed, and that goes for both wind, solar, and bio energy, areas in which the world’s second largest economic power should play a key role.
In fact, construction has already begun on what will be the country’s largest bioelectric plant, a joint venture featuring technology and financing from China, as well as Cuba and the UK.

The success and level of development achieved by various Cuban-Chinese ventures, is proof of what we can achieve through tenacity, motivation, and revolutionary spirit. As such, I would like to highlight the Shanghai-Suncuba company, owner of the Grand Kempinski-Shanghai and the three largest joint ventures in the biotechnology sector, based in different locations across the island: an expression of the strength and recognition achieved by this sector, founded by our Comandante en Jefe, and an example of the strategic direction being taken by the country.

Based on their individual realties, China and Cuba – two countries in the process of building socialism – share a similar outlook on many issues. What experiences can the two nations share in this process?
Cuba and China have both expressed their commitment to continue constructing socialism in accordance with each nation’s particular characteristics and under the leadership of their respective Communist Parties. We consider ourselves to be mutual references in the construction of socialism deriving from our own unique characteristics, on the basis of which we conduct a broad and systematic exchange of experiences.
The country is immersed in updating its socio-economic model, a process which, under the leadership of the Communist Party, establishes the bases for medium and long-term national development, to achieve sustainable, prosperous socialism in accordance with our reality. China’s experience in its “reforming and opening up” process has been an important reference in this phase, defined by a continual analysis of the achievements, mistakes, and particularities of each country.

As the world’s second largest economic power China is actively working to contribute to global economic stability, combat climate change and build a new type of international relations. How would you describe China’s efforts in this regard?

China is without a doubt a stabilizing factor in many aspects of the global scenario. As an emerging power, it has been leading efforts to promote peaceful global development. Its rise as a key player in an increasingly globalized world, has also seen it become a protagonist in defending the rights of Third World countries, with the G-77+China representing the most compelling example of cooperation between equals.
It has made a transcendental contribution in terms of poverty reduction, food production, the transfer of technology, and successful launching of satellites into space, among others areas.

More recently, the country’s 21st century One Belt One Road initiative and the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) represent a vote of confidence in the creation of a new international system.

The expansion and strengthening of its ties with Latin America and the Caribbean represent another example of balance and stability for the region. These ties have the potential to produce great benefits for all involved, especially looking toward the upcoming Second China-Celac Ministerial Forum, set to be held early next year in our region.

Cuba: Decision by US is ill-advised and will affect bilateral relations

Source:  Granma
September 29 2017

By Cubaminrex | internet@granma.cu

Statement to the press by Josefina Vidal, director general for the United States at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

josefina vidal sept 2017.jpgPhoto: Cubaminrex

Today we have learned of a State Department communiqué that reports the decision of the U.S. government to reduce personnel at its embassy in Havana.

As we reported this past September 26, in a meeting held that day with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the initiative of the Cuban side, our minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla:

  • advised him not make hasty decisions that were not based on evidence or conclusive results of investigations;
  • called on him to avoid politicizing an issue of this nature; and
  • reiterated our request for effective cooperation on the part of U.S. authorities to fully conclude the investigation underway regarding the alleged incidents involving U.S. diplomats in Havana.

He emphasized that the government of Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever for the alleged acts, and seriously, rigorously fulfills its obligations according to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, in terms of protecting the physical integrity of accredited diplomatic agents in the country and their family members, without exception.

We believe that the decision announced by the State Department is ill-advised and will affect bilateral relations, in particular, cooperation on issues of mutual interest and exchanges of a diverse nature between our two countries.

I would like to reiterate Cuba’s willingness to continue active cooperation between authorities of our two countries, to fully clarify these events, which requires more efficient involvement on the part of the United States.

Havana, September 29, 2017