Three Mambises of our times

Source:  Granma
February 25 2018

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, in the tribute ceremony held in the Capitolio building, February 24, 2018, “Year 60 of the Revolution”

Compañeras and compañeros:

raul july 2015 2.jpg

Today, February 24, we celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the resumption of our War of Independence called for by José Martí.

The profound significance of this date marked the maturity and the crystallization of the project proposed by Martí, who in order to lead it and to make it happen, founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party.

When everything seemed lost, his ability to find an alternative and overcome any setback, led him to summon the people to a definitive effort: the war that he believed necessary when he thought it unavoidable. He continually called for national unity, articulating the best traditions of the past, without overlooking all those who were willing to sacrifice and give their lives for a greater cause.

A month later, on March 25, 1895, in Montecristi, the Dominican Republic, Martí, along with Major General Máximo Gómez, signed the Manifesto which set out the scope and aims of the struggle. Together they left for Cuba to join the liberation struggle, landing at Playitas de Cajobabo on April 11, just like Major General Antonio Maceo had done a few days before at Duaba.

As Fidel stated on the 100th anniversary of the Ten Years War, “Martí gathered up the flags of Céspedes, Agramonte, and the heroes that fell in that struggle and led Cuba’s revolutionary ideas in that period to their highest expression.”

Three brave compañeros

There is no better moment than this to award the honorific title of Hero of Labor of the Republic of Cuba – in fitting recognition of a lifetime of work committed to the Revolution – to three brave compañeros who already hold the honorable title of Heroes of the Republic of Cuba. I am referring to José Ramón Machado Ventura and Comandantes of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés Menéndez and Guillermo García Frías.

José Ramón Machado

As for Machado Ventura, I could highlight that he joined the struggle against the tyranny as a medical student at the University of Havana, and 65 years ago he participated in the first March of the Torches, in January 1953.

In 1957 he joined the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra and served as a doctor and guerilla fighter in various battles. He was a founder of the Second Front; and organized and led the Military Health Department until the end of the struggle, where he was wounded in combat. He developed a broad network of field hospitals and dispensaries which not only offered services to combatants but also, and most importantly, the area’s population, who in many places had never seen a doctor before.

After the triumph of the Revolution he was appointed Head of Medical Services of Havana and of the FAR(Revolutionary Armed Forces) and later Minister of Public Health.

He is a founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and in 1975 was elected as a member of the Political Bureau. He was First Party Secretary in various provinces.
Since 2011, he has served as second secretary of the Central Committee. He is a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.

Ramiro Valdés

Ramiro Valdés Menéndez joined the revolutionary struggle at a young age. He participated in the March of the Torches in January 1953 and in the attacks on the Moncada Garrison that same year, during which he was injured. He was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines and lived in exile in Mexico, where he joined the Granma expedition.

He was involved in multiple battles in the Sierra Maestra, and participated alongside Che in the invasion of the West as second commander of the Ciro Redondo Column No. 8.

Since the triumph of the Revolution he has occupied important posts, including Minister of the Interior on two occasions, and as a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, a position which he currently holds. He is a member of the Party Political Bureau.

A lot more can be said about each one of these figures on this occasion, but in the case of Ramiro, I have always admired him because he is the only one of us who – in addition to those actions taken some months before Moncada, during which we marched in the first March of the Torches led by Fidel 65 years ago – was wounded in the taking of the main post during the Moncada assault; where he was shot in the heel with the bullet lodging itself in his foot. When we met up, or when we were brought together again at the Vivac (prison) in Santiago de Cuba, he showed me his blood-stained socks, but said he didn’t know where the bullet was. The years went by and he began to limp in the Sierra Maestra because of a callus he had on the sole of his foot. On various occasions he was unable to continue marching with the rest of the initial group of the liberation war, until one day, he began to scrape away at the callus with his own knife until the bullet of the Moncada attack appeared, shot by an enemy as he fell to the ground mortally wounded.

There are dozens or hundreds of heroic feats or important acts linked to each one, and which of course were not even recorded in the few campaign diaries that were written. What is more, unlike the rest of us in the liberation war, Ramiro had the good fortune and honor of being the second commander of the Column led by Che to Las Villas.

Guillermo García

Guillermo García Frías, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, organized a network of campesinos to help the Granma expeditionaries and take them to the Sierra Maestra. An astute man, he personally led Fidel and the other combatants to Cinco Palmas and recovered various rifles.

He was the first campesino to join the Rebel Army, with an outstanding record, first as a combatant and later as second commander of the Third Front when it was founded in early March 1958, led by then Comandante Juan Almeida.

There are hundreds of anecdotes about Guillermo; of the early days and following the Granmalanding, we will only touch on some aspects. It was he who led Fidel and two other compañeros, Faustino Pérez – who was a doctor – and Universo Sánchez, one of which was unarmed having left his rifle behind on treating the wounded in the first clash at Alegría de Pío.

That is to say that Fidel arrived to the Sierra Maestra with two other combatants, only one of which was armed. It was Guillermo García that got them around the blockade on the old road from the Pilón sugar mill to the municipal capital of Niquero; it was he who – fulfilling other urgent missions given him by the Comandante en Jefe, from Purial de Vicana, or Cinco Palmas de Vicana, where they first set up camp – gathered together almost all of us who originally joined up, including Ramiro himself, Almeida, Che, Camilo; and thus the initial group of three, then five more, then eight, gradually reuniting this important group of compañeros.

One of the first actions he took in support of the nascent guerilla force, was the number of rifles he collected in the days following these events of which I am speaking, from the 15th to the 18th, which together with the few we already had weren’t event sufficient to form a platoon, but were enough to launch the first attack; and although it might not have been the best moment to do so, with hundreds of soldiers hot on our heels, Fidel said that, with this first battle, we had to show the people that the guerillas were still here and would continue the war. This was the reason behind the battle of La Plata, barely a few weeks after this initial group, with the help of Guillermo García, were reunited. Other tasks would follow later.

As the first campesino to join the Rebel Army, he was also the first to be promoted. He had an outstanding track record, first as a combatant and then as second commander of the Third Front, under the command of Almeida.

After the triumph of the Revolution, he occupied various positions in the Revolutionary Armed Forces. Later he also served, among other roles, as a Political Bureau delegate in the former province of Oriente; a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, Minister of Transport, and President of the Flora and Fauna Enterprise Group, where he has done an outstanding job.

He was a member of the Party Political Bureau from 1965 through 1986, and is currently a member of the Central Committee and Council of State.

Loyalty to the Revolution

Regarding characteristics shared by these three Mambises of our times I can cite their loyalty to the Revolution and to Fidel, their commitment to work, modesty and humility, which have made them worthy of the recognition and respect of the Cuban people.

It is not by chance that we are commemorating this date in the Capitolio building, whose tenacious restoration, has enabled the attributes of one of the most important buildings in the country to be highlighted, and in whose crypt rest the ashes of the Unknown Mambí, before which an eternal flame burns as a tribute of the people to their founding fathers and the glorious Liberation Army, and is surrounded by the flags of nations of the continent.

Today, this building is the headquarters of the National Assembly of People’s Power. It is also irrefutable proof of the care and interest that must always be put into preserving the cultural heritage of the nation.

Let me take this solemn moment to extend a well-deserved congratulations to Havana City Historian, Eusebio Leal, and those collaborators who have been most closely associated with the massive restoration of the Capitolio; including architect Perla Rosales; engineers Mariela Mulet, Yohanna Aedo and Tatiana Fernández; restoration expert Patricia Coma; professor Juan Carlos Botello and his students from the Vocational School; historian Lesbia Méndez; director of the City Historian Office’s Construction Enterprise, Conrado Hechavarría; and German expert Michael Diegmann.

On a day like today, as we honor those noble Cubans who in 1895 returned to the battle field to free Cuba, I repeat Fidel’s words spoken in 1965: “We would have been like them then, and they would have been like us now!” This is the commitment we have upheld and will also be that which guides the present and future generations, in order that the Homeland continues to be free.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

Raúl receives Namibian Prime Minister

Source:  Granma
February 16 2018

The two leaders held a friendly conversation discussing the excellent relations shared by their peoples and governments, and reaffirmed their intention to work on strengthening these ties

raul receives pm of namibia.jpg

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, yesterday February 15, received her Excellency Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, who is making an official visit to our country.

The two leaders held a friendly conversation discussing the excellent relations shared by their peoples and governments, and reaffirmed their intention to work on strengthening these ties. They also addressed a variety of issues on the current international agenda.

Accompanying the distinguished guest were Peya Mushelenga, minister of Yrban and Rural Development, and Namibia’s ambassador in Cuba, Jerobeam Shaanika.

Also participating on the Cuban side were First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz; and First Deputy Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina González.

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).

 

Raúl arrives in Antigua and Barbuda to attend 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit

Source: Xinhuanet and  Granma  
December 7 2017

raul arrives in antigua dec 2017 1.jpgArmy General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers arrived in Antigua and Barbuda, December 7, on an official visit to the country to attend the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit, to take place December 8.

President Raúl will also attend the Third Sitting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Assembly.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, received the Cuban President and accompanying delegation at Antigua’s Saint John’s International Airport.
The summit in Antigua will serve to structure a common agenda that advocates for a new fair international order, solidarity, integration and trade.

Integration, cooperation and development

Sources from the Cuban foreign ministry recently affirmed that Havana will make clear its will to promote integration, cooperation and development in the meeting with the other 14 Caribbean states.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Caribbean Emergency Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Cuban Civil Defense Agency is expected to provide the opportunity for closer collaboration, especially after the devastating impact in the region of major hurricanes in September.

Commercial relations between the two sides were strengthened last November with the signing of the Second Protocol of the CARICOM-Cuba Trade Agreement.

The protocol expands reciprocal access to a duty-free market for more than 320 items, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and clothing.

45th anniversary

The 45th anniversary of relations between CARICOM and Cuba was celebrated in Havana on Wednesday with a political event.

On December 8, 1972, the leaders of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago made the decision to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and create a formal cooperation mechanism with Cuba that would focus on common concerns of developing nations.

Raul: Venezuela has given another great lesson in peace, democratic vocation, courage, and dignity

Message from Army General Raúl Castro to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

raul y nicolas 4.jpg“I congratulate you on the results of the state elections. Venezuela has given another great lesson in peace, democratic vocation, courage, and dignity.

Source:  Granma
October 17, 2017 08:10:30

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

Havana

October 16, 2017

Comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Esteemed Nicolás:

I congratulate you on the results of the state elections. Venezuela has given another great lesson in peace, democratic vocation, courage, and dignity .

The legacy of Chávez is alive. He and Fidel would be very proud of this victory.

You can always count on the support and solidarity of Cuba.

An embrace,

Raúl Castro Ruz

President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba

President Nicolás Maduro visits Cuba

Source:  Granma
September 25 2017

Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu

maduro y raul sept 2017 1.jpgAt around midnight on September 21, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, received Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

The Venezuelan leader arrived to Cuba accompanied by First Combatant Cilia Flores, to present the island with a donation from the sister and solidarity nation, to help support recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma.

Also there to receive Maduro was First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

President Maduro left Cuba yesterday, September 24.

maduro y raul sept 2017 2.jpgConstitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros departed for his homeland from José Martí International Airport, where Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, bid him farewell.  Also accompanying Maduro to the airport was Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.

Raúl praises the hard work across the country following Hurricane Irma

Source:  Granma
September 15 2017

By : Leticia Martínez Hernández | internet@granma.cu

The President of the National Defense Council led a meeting to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Irma and the actions to be taken during the recovery phase

raul praises sept 2017.jpgPhoto: Estudio Revolución

The President of the National Defense Council, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, led a meeting with Party, state and government leaders on Wednesday, September 13, during which the damages caused by Hurricane Irma were evaluated, and the actions to be undertaken during the recovery phase outlined.

Raúl recognized the hard work in each of the areas affected by the devastating meteorological event, which struck virtually the entire island. He noted that if any benefit can be obtained from this difficult situation, it is to immediately collect experiences to better prepare for future events of this nature.

The President warned that the present hurricane season, which has been described as intense, extends until November 30, an evident product of climate change and to which we must adapt.

The Army General called to continue working tirelessly to calmly resolve problems and to keep the people informed by all possible means on the situation facing the country.

Forced to evacuate to 1,738,000 people

During the meeting it was highlighted that given Irma’s path across several provinces, authorities were forced to evacuate to 1,738,000 people, of them 86% were sheltered in the homes of neighbors and relatives. The head of the National Civil Defense General Staff, Major General Ramón Pardo Guerra, reported that more than 26,000 people remain in evacuation centers.

As he noted, the National Office of Statistics and Information is working to assess the damages, and preliminary figures are expected to be released in the coming days.

Alfredo López Valdés, minister of Energy and Mines, stated that the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric power station in Matanzas had suffered the strongest and most difficult impact to be solved in this sector, as its sea water supply system, a key element in the cooling process, was destroyed by huge storm surges.

Highly specialized staff are working to compensate for damages and to ensure the plant is back in operation in the next few days.

Work ongoing day and night

In addition, 15 transmission lines suffered damages, and more than 3,600 posts and 2,039 kilometers of power lines were affected. Work is ongoing day and night to restore service, the minister stressed, emphasizing that this was the first time the power system had ceased to operate throughout the entire country.

Around 90 oil wells, located on the north coast of the western and central regions, were also damaged by the storm surges caused by the hurricane.

López Valdés praised the work of the mixed brigades which, on orders of the Army General, were created in the affected territories for debris clearing, tree pruning, and the transportation of utility poles.

Finally, he explained that the major efforts to restore electricity are concentrated in the provinces of Villa Clara and Ciego de Ávila, territories with the most complex impacts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Construction is participating in the recovery efforts with more than 20,400 construction workers and 855 engineering machines, devoted to debris collection, the repair of roads, bridges and drains, as well as the repair of housing and public buildings.

Cement and roof tile factories are producing at full capacity

Sector Minister René Mesa Villafaña noted that the major impacts of the hurricane were concentrated on housing, especially damage to roofing. Although the exact figures regarding the damage are not yet available, efforts are already underway to help those whose homes were destroyed, for which cement and roof tile factories are producing at full capacity. The Camagüey tile factory is also expected to begin operations in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the most serious damages to agriculture were seen in the poultry sector, as dozens of egg production sheds lost their roofs. Julio A. García Pérez, first deputy minister of Agriculture, explained that the production of feed, plantain and corn crops, as well as fruit trees, have also been affected.

Work is now intensifying in the reactivation of the varied crops campaign, for which, he said, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides are available.

On this point, José Ramón Machado Ventura, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, considered that, despite the damages, the agricultural sector is in better conditions than in previous situations to recover from Irma’s impact.

The health system maintained services

Public Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda reported that the health system maintained services during the passage of the hurricane, and that to date there have been no outbreaks of communicable diseases in evacuation centers or any territory. Regarding Cuban collaborators working in the Caribbean countries hit by the cyclone, he noted that they are well and have joined the recovery efforts in these islands.

Ojeda revealed that 516 health units were damaged, and work is underway to restore them in the shortest possible time. He added that the current priority is environmental sanitation and vector control, for which all necessary resources are available.

Finally, regarding the effects on tourism, sector Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz explained that more than 51,000 vacationers were on the island when the hurricane hit, of these some 45,000 were located on the northern coast. About 10,000 tourists were evacuated from the Santa María, Coco and Guillermo keys.

He noted that the damaged infrastructure is being repaired, to ensure it is ready for the upcoming high season beginning in the first half of November.

Raul:  we’ll come through this once again

On closing the meeting, President Raúl reiterated the need to deal with problems intelligently, taking into account the best experiences put into practice in the face of similar events, especially at the local level. In this regard, he mentioned the efforts deployed in Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, following the impact of hurricanes Sandy in 2012, and Matthew in 2016, respectively.

This time the impact has been very strong and spread throughout most of the country, he said, but with the hard work that is being done, we’ll come through this once again.