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Embassy of Cuba Newsletter May 31

Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand
No.20 31ST May 2014

Upcoming events


3rd – 6th June VIII Cuban Congress of Cardiology
10th – 13th June Cytoprotection 2014
13th – 16th June 34th Pan-American Congress on Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
16th – 20th June IX International Congress on Disasters
18th – 20th June XXIII Congress of Poultry Farming of Central America and the Caribbean
2nd – 8th Nov General Information on Havana International Fair 2014 (FIHAV)

In this issue
'We should be friends and neighbours' says US Chamber of Commerce president
Mexican delegation visits important Cuban economic zone
Cuba to repel all US subversion plans
Uruguayan president receives large Cuban delegation
WHO director general congratulates Cuba
UNICEF highlights Cuba’s progress in child protection
WHO: inclusion of Cuba in terrorist states list unfair
Geneva recognizes operation miracle benefits
Most Cuban Children with leukemia have high survival rate
French fishermen confirm presence at Hemingway tournament in Cuba
'We should be friends and neighbours' says US Chamber of Commerce president

Thomas J Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, is currently leading a delegation of members to Cuba and has already held talks with Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of foreign relations and Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, minister of foreign trade and investment.

He took an early opportunity of emphasising his interest in boosting a greater rapprochement between the US business community and Cuba, in favour of the progress of the two peoples, only a few days after 44 US citizens - politicians, economists and commentators - signed a petition asking President Obama to ease the blockade.
'This is the moment to give the new generations of Cuban and US citizens the opportunity to know each other better, do business and support each other as friends and neighbours' he said, having for years been a strong opponent of the economic, commercial and financial blockade Washington imposed on Cuba half a century ago.

In the presence of students and Cuban state and government officials, Donahue stated that the presidency of Barack Obama could create new ways to increase imports and exports between the two nations, in addition to expanding diplomacy and promoting people-to-people exchanges.

The delegation includes Steve Van Andel, board chairman of the US body and president of Amway, along with Marcel Smits, executive vice president of the US CoC and chief financial officer of the Cargill Corporation.

For many years, he said, the policy had been marked by differences between the two governments and it was time to change that approach.

Donohue’s schedule included a tour of the Special Development Zone of Mariel, and he stressed to his audience the importance of the facility in the expansion of Cuba’s economic bonds with the world, and to understand that direct foreign investment is a powerful tool in the creation of jobs and wealth.

The mission will meet with businessmen and officials of the Caribbean nation in search of new business and investment opportunities on the island: also with the delegation were other executives and chamber representatives who will hold further meetings and visit places of interest, primarily linked to the process of updating Cuba’s economic model.


Army General Raul Castro, president of the councils of state and ministers, also met Thomas J. Donohue, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the US on its visit to Cuba.

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Mexican delegation visits important Cuban economic zone

A Mexican delegation of officials and business representatives has visited the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) which is seen as 'a spearhead toward many markets,' ProMexico general director Francisco Gonzalez told media this week.

During the first day of the visit, officials from both countries expressed their interest in strengthening trade relations. With that in mind, the ProMexico office in Cuba was opened, while ProMexico and the Cuban Centre for the Promotion of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (CEPEC) signed a cooperation agreement.

Gonzalez stated that the office will be a very important bridge to facilitate bilateral economic relations.

CEPEC director Roberto Verrier commented that there had been a relaunch of trade relations between the nations ever since the official visit of President Enrique Peña Nieto to Havana in January.

The signed agreement is seen as very important, taking place in the framework of the New Foreign Investment Law recently approved here, and the creation of the ZEDM, some 50 kilometres west of Havana.

The delegation was made up of 60 business representatives and eight government officials.
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Cuba to repel all US subversion plans

Cuba will repel all US subversive plans, including those using communication technologies, the Granma newspaper reports.
Washington justifies its programs against the island under the pretext of providing 'free flow of information to the Cuban people,' it stated, pointing out that the policy of economic, commercial and financial embargo prohibits exports of technology and telecommunications equipment to Havana.

Torricelli of 1992 and Helms-Burton of 1996 were quoted as US laws prohibiting any investment by US entities in the Cuban national telecommunications services, adding that the embargo also bans the acquisition of licences of software products and denies access to institutions and Cuban citizens to Internet sites and services, including those of information and technical tools like PC Tools and Netbeans.

Worldwide entities such as Microsoft, Mozilla, Adobe, Google and Sourceforge implement the US government prohibitions against Cuba, noted Oscar Sanchez, deputy director of Granma in the article.

In the case of Google, Cubans could not access tools like Google Analytic, Google Earth, Google Desktop Search and Google Toolbar.

Such restrictions were comprehensive for the use of free software and its most popular browser Sourceforge by Cuba, which violates the premise of the Open Source Initiative, an organization dedicated to the promotion of free software.

Sanchez pointed out that Cuba cannot connect to the tens of submarine optical fibre cables around the island, which forces them to seek more costly alternatives for their Internet connectivity.

Paradoxically, the US government has announced its plans to take a submarine cable to the territory illegally occupied by the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, in clear violation of the sovereignty of Cuba, he says, also stating that while Washington promotes secret programs like Zunzuneo, Piramideo and finances a digital diary with subversive purposes, it at the same time imposes sanctions on US telecommunication and foreign companies which serve Cuba.

It concludes that the US government is the only one in the world that forbids its citizens to visit Cuba freely, thereby preventing contacts, exchanges, communication and the free flow of information between the two peoples.

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Uruguayan president receives large Cuban delegation

Montevideo: President Jose Mujica received a large Cuban delegation on a visit to Uruguay last week to learn about the cattle-breeding experience in his country.
Led by Cuban deputy economy and finance minister Maria Elena Velez, and deputy agriculture minister Jesus Garcia Piloto, the delegation was accompanied by the Uruguayan president on a visit this weekend to a major cattle ranch in the Rio Negro region.
Mujica said that along with this training, he seeks 'to help repay a part of the support given to train more than 400 Uruguayan physicians who are already working here.'

A Cuban medical brigade that has carried out more than 45,000 eye surgeries as an example of the Cuban solidarity with the Uruguayan people is currently at work in Uganda.

In statements to local media, the president stated that 'although the conditions are very different, there are general principles of diet and animal husbandry that can provide useful experience.'

The delegation, comprising 23 Cuban agronomists, is also accompanied by Cuban ambassador Mercedes Vicente, who told media that this exchange is a result of the excellent state of relations between Cuba and Uruguay.

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WHO director general congratulates Cuba

Director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, has congratulated Cuba on its presidency of the 67th World Health Assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Before the three thousand delegates from 194 member states, Chan highlighted the health care results of Cuba, presiding over the assembly for first time as the representing country from the Americas region.
Among the issues discussed by the World Health Assembly was the strategy to fight tuberculosis, the vaccination programme for the next decade, hepatitis, response to non-transmittable diseases and the impact of the climate change on certain illnesses.
Cuba's minister of public health, Roberto Morales Ojeda, congratulated Margaret Chan on her leadership and flexibility with the organization and its member states - a key element to unify positions and achieve the necessary consensus to make possible the success of the reunion.

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UNICEF highlights Cuba’s progress in child protection

Cuba shows important advances in terms of education, health and comprehensive protection of minors, Begoña Arellano, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to the island told media at the end of his visit last week.

Thanks to the political willingness of the Cuban government, these indicators are excellent, he said during the 2nd International Conference on Child Protection under way in this capital on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Arellano said that this year UNICEF and Cuba began a new cooperation programme on the rights of the infant-youth population, which includes many social sectors and will last until 2018.

Held at Havana’s Palco Hotel, the forum, organized by the Interior Ministry, brings together over specialists from 20 nations, among them officials of the regional offices of UNICEF, as well as representatives of the various Cuban ministries and organizations.

As part of the programme delegates and guests will visit those Havana's municipalities in where community projects aimed at encouraging children’s cultural and general development are carried out.
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WHO: inclusion of Cuba in terrorist states list unfair

Angola's minister of health Jose Van-Dunem has called the US government's decision to continue including Cuba in the list of States sponsoring terrorism a total injustice
'A generous, hospitable, and altruistic country does not deserve an injustice like that,' Van-Dunem told media during his participation at the World Health Organization Assembly, which has now concluded its current sessions at the Palace of Nations.

The minister recalled Cuba's support for the liberation of Angola, when she was invaded in the north and south by South African and Zairean troops, backed by the Western powers.

'The public health network was destroyed more than 70 percent over 30 years, and now we have rebuilt 55 percent of it,' said Van-Dunem.

The Angolan minister of health recalled that Cuba contributed to the training of health professionals and created five medicine faculties in the country, as well as offering 100 scholarships for young Angolan people annually.

Van-Dunem said that 2000 Cuban doctors are currently working in Angola, many of them in the 70 municipalities taking part in 'trio programmes' made up of doctor, monitor and nurse.

The teams are located in the most populated areas and results are extraordinary, he said.

The minister, who takes part in the 67th World Health Organization Assembly (WHO), chaired by Cuba, said that they fight against malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS; the decrease of the mother and child mortality rate; and the fight against transmissible diseases are among his priorities.

Various nations recognized the support Cuba has given to many nations during its 55 years of Revolution.

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Geneva recognizes operation miracle benefits

More than 2.5 million people have recovered or improved vision today thanks to Operation Miracle, a Cuban-Venezuelan programme underway in many countries and whose benefits are recognized here by many health authorities.

Pilar Gonzalez, director of the Uruguayan National Rural Health Plan, told media that the Jose Marti eye centre, where more than 40,000 free surgeries have been carried out, has been operating in her country since 2007.

'We are very grateful for the Cuban collaboration. We consider this an example of international solidarity,' said Gonzalez at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gonzalez - also assistant minister of the Health Ministry - stated that a team of Cuban and Uruguayan physicians make weekly visits to small towns and rural areas throughout the country, to detect patients suffering from eye afflictions and have them sent to Montevideo.

A great number of people suffering from cataracts and other diseases improved their vision and with it, their quality of life, Gonzalez said.

Not only adults but also children are being assisted at the Jose Marti eye centre where human resources and research training take place.

The Operation Miracle programme emerged in 2004 on the initiative of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, supported by Venezuela. Its objective is to assist low-income people who have become blind from curable causes.

The programme is addressing some six million patients in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.

The World Health Organization stated that about 80 percent of visual impairment cases can be avoided or cured.
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Most Cuban Children with leukemia have high survival rate

The incorporation of Cuba in an international group for treatment of leukemia to increase the survival rate of patients, which has now grown to be over 70 percent since the 80s when Cuba joined the protocols of the Berlin-Frankfurt-Müster Group, along with 15 other countries.

The protocols have contributed to improvement of the results, Dr Sergio Machin, head of the pediatrics group in the Institute of Haematology and Immunology of Havana (IHH) told media.

'The survival percentage was too low in the past, but now, there are data similar to those obtained by developed nations,' he said.

'In pediatrics, leukemia is the kind of cancer presents most. But within the condition there is a kind of leukemia called Acute Linfoid that has a high healing potential.

'The cause is unknown in most of the cases, but it is not contagious. Most of the times it presents in healthy children.

'Even when the leukemia symptoms are fever, anaemia and hematomas, the disease can cause changes, and this makes the diagnosis more difficult.'

Doctor Machin said numerous factors have been identified at the disease inception which can contribute to predict its evolution and diagnosis, such as the nutrition of the children, and an early diagnosis.

He also noted that in Cuba malignant haematological conditions are handled by seven institutions, including two in Havana, one each in Pinar del Rio, Villa Clara, Camaguey, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba, all providing services where necessary conditions provide demand along with a well trained medical team.

Machin also told media that transplants of haematopoietic progenitor cells constitute a therapeutic option for some cases.

The success of the procedure depends critically on a match between donor and receiver, he said, recalling that both the drug treatment and transplant are performed in Cuba free, but are very expensive.

When immature blood cells proliferate and reproduce without control in the bone marrow, they accumulate there but also in the blood, replacing the normal cells.

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French fishermen confirm presence at Hemingway tournament in Cuba

France, with six boats confirmed, leads the group of countries that will participate from 64 th Ernest Hemingway Marlin Fishing International Tournament this month.

Marlin SA Nautical and Marinas Business Group representatives told media that to date 17 crews including the United States (5) and Canada (4), have already confirmed participation.

The competition, one of the oldest globally, will also be attended by teams from Mexico and England, and the total enrolment is almost double last year when nine only boats were involved.

According to Mario Ramos, Marlin's business manager, the event will start on June 9 with the traditional skippers meeting at Hemingway Marina Residential, where the sport fishers will receive details on the competition.

As a contribution to the preservation of the species, the use of circle hooks is being introduced to minimize possible damage to marlins or Dorados, and the introduction of satellite tagging systems, which spread knowledge of fish behavious, said the director of development, business and quality, Francisco Diaz.

It is expected next year’s event to be attended by at least 50 boats because Cuba is also hosting the 35th International Tourism Fair, which will be specifically devoted to marine leisure.

The Ernest Hemingway Marlin Fishing International Tournament, popularised at the beginning of the 1950s by the Nobel Prize for Literature winner stands out as one of the first in the world, only surpassed by the Tuna World Cup tuna, in Nova Scotia, and the Tarpon Tournament in Mexico.

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Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in New Zealand
76 Messines Rd, Karori, Wellington 6012

Visit the Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand Facebook page
Text edited by David Reade of International Public Relations ( on behalf of the Cuban Embassy, Wellington, from Cuban news agency sources

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