Eusebio Leal Granted Chile’s Merit Order

Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, City Historian of Havana was granted on Thursday in Havana the Chilean Merit Order by the ambassador to that South American nation in Havana, Ricardo Herrera.

The official declaration was expedited and signed last February 2nd at the Moneda Palace by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet; sealed with the republic’s coat of arms and endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the official communique, the Chilean Head of State exposed that: “the action awaits that this piece, example of our esteem and appreciation, encourages him to repeat praiseworthy virtues and noble friendship towards Chile”.

Herrera also shared the letter sent by Bachelet, highlighting the pride that the award represents for such illustrious historian who constitutes one of the major architects of the conscious of Latin American heritage.

The Chilean President characterized the moment as “an act of justice for a man, which, for decades has fought to preserve the historic memory of our peoples”.

She recalled that Chile has granted Eusebio Leal with the Doctrine Award of the Central University of Santiago de Chile; the Pablo Neruda Presidential Honor Medal; and the Key to the City of Valparaiso, World Heritage Site.

Leal expressed gratitude in receiving the high distinction and above all, receiving the medal at the Flag Salon of the Captain General Palace.

The City Historian recalled and thanked the illustrious Chilean people and recalled when Salvador Allende presented him a Flag from that South American nation in the same Palace.

“The Homeland is a poem, it is a desire, it’s an expression of feeling from the heart; the country is a singular territory that forms our character; among volcanoes, between mountains and palm trees; here at the shore of the sea which is the ocean that does not divide us, but unites us”, concluded Eusebio Leal.

The official ceremony included the presence of the diplomat corps accredited in Cuba, members of the Foreign Ministry and guests from both countries.

The Merit Order is the oldest distinction in the country, created in 1817 by the Supreme Liberator Director Bernardo O’Higgins and has the objective of awarding foreign citizens for their outstanding civil services given by the Republic of Chile. (ACN)

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University 2018: Cuba is the Reference

Environment, renewable energy sources, sustainable and local development, the use of new technologies, tourism, industry, studies of Medicine, curricula, didactics, the role of university in different contexts, all of these subjects were discussed in the 11th International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018 — event that marked the 100th anniversary of the Argentine University Reform.

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University 2018 gathered more than 2,000 delegated from 60 nations.

Few hours before the closing ceremony, Cuba’s Minister of Higher Education Jose Ramon Saborido Loidi was asked by a colleague about the most interesting thing of the Congress and he highlighted that Cuba “is today a reference in the educative field.”

Without ignoring handicaps and obstacles, the truth is that our country can boast realities that are still yearnings for other countries of the world.

In this regard, following the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015), the Minister pointed out: “we are in a better position to fulfill them” and noted that Cuba is working hard to meet these goals as soon as possible.

As he stressed in the opening ceremony speech: “The advance of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development is imperative for the world as nations are trying to counteract the current unsustainable model of development—discriminatory, hegemonic, and predatory.

Today’s University in Cuba

There have been many changes in Cuba’s Higher Education from the Triumph of the Revolution to the present days, always aiming at improving the quality and access to Universities in Cuba.

In this regard, almost 1.5 million professionals have graduated from 1959 to present days. Therefore, 12% of the population and 22% of workers in Cuba has university level.

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Cuba’s Higher Education has graduated almost 1.5 million professionals

The remarkable growth of its institutions is another achievement. Cuba boasts today 50 universities all around the country compared to the 3 universities that existed back then (in Havana, Las Villas, and the Eastern side of Cuba). The system also includes 126 university centers in municipalities.

Destined to experience a continuous development process, the Higher Education in Cuba advances on the basis of an inclusive process, which has certainly brought positive results concerning material resources and financial savings as well as a better use of the workforce in universities, especially in the field of teaching.

The process that has been implemented since 2011 to updating Cuba’s economic and social model has demanded the accompaniment of the Higher Education as well. Thus, new policies have been approved.

A very good example of this is “the graduate and postgraduate teaching process improvement, short-and-medium term, so human potential stands behind the necessary technical, integral, and civic training, which allows working for the strategic goals for development.”

Likewise, as the Minister himself highlighted in the opening speech of Universidad 2018, “Cuba advances in the implementation of a new generation of curricula that sets the length of majors to four years and proposes a better interaction with the system of master’s degrees and postgraduate specialization through continuous training programs.”

The World and Higher Education

The critical nature and dissatisfaction of Cuban citizens lead us to believe we are the only nation in the world suffering from a certain ill.

However, this Congress allowed us not only to reflect on extremely serious problems affecting many countries in the region, but also to become aware of the right path of the policies undertaken by the Cuban State in order to overcome obstacles and certain quality index.

The testimonies of several foreign participants showed Higher Education is not going well and therefore, there is no positive sign in General Education (263 million students were not enrolled in schools as of 2014).

Uruguayan professor Fernando Rodal Mc Lean —President of the American Federation of Teachers— spoke in one of the panels about the need to “fight” against universities that limit enrollment. He also criticized that students, in order to access higher education, have to go into great debts.

“The university struggle —he pointed out— is the struggle for the quality of life of our people for the purpose of modifying the structure and functioning of capitalist society. It is to fight for a free university.”

Daniel Ricci, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Union in South America, noted that Latin America is showing a regressive trend as the right has regained power in some of the nations. “Imperialism dislikes justice, equity, and free education and health care.”

Hence, it is important to reach that free, inclusive education and teachers can enjoy a decent job.

A moving situation was narrated by Salvadorians Monica Fernandez Rubio (Spanish woman naturalized citizen of El Salvador) and Sabas Clavel Fuentes, who showed the situations of young people in that country where just the 8% of the population have access to universities. In rural areas, this number barely represents 2%.

The International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018, in the words of the Minister Jose Ramon Saborido, was successful. “We have showed our truth and we have felt the appreciation of other nations for Cuba’s actions.”

The next Congress will take place on February 10-14, 2020. A lot will happen from now on. Nonetheless, Cuba will surely present new experiences, contributions, and impacts.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

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Russian diesel locomotives arrive in Cuba

A second batch of Russian locomotives, comprising eight vehicles, has arrived in the port of Havana this week, according to the head of the Russian engineering company Sinara Transport Machines (STM).

Gennady Dotsenko told TASS that 28 additional units (in four batches) will be delivered to Cuba this year. “We are planning to unload seven diesel locomotives in March and expect them to reach Havana in late May or early June,” he said.

The first batch of seven diesel locomotives of the TGM8KM series was delivered to the Caribbean island in November. As part of the contract signed by STM and the Cuban import agency Tradex, Russia will supply 75 locomotives to the country by the end of 2021.

Cuban Union Railways (UFC) already operates a fleet of Russian diesel-hydraulic locomotives, which are mainly used to haul sugar trains. UFC hauls 16 million tons of freight per year for the sugar industry.

The new locomotives are primarily destined for this purpose, as the present fleet is ageing, but UFC plans to deploy the new trains for other services, including passenger operations.

Russian STM is implementing projects in Cuba worth almost $246 million. In addition to locomotives, it plans to supply rail buses later this year. The company is also helping to modernize the locomotive-repair depot in Havana.

This year, Russia’s biggest carmaker, AvtoVAZ, delivered more than 300 of its Lada cars to Cuba. It was the first shipment of Russian vehicles to the Latin American country in more than a decade.

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State Counsellor receives Cuban Ambassador to Myanmar

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, received H.E. Mr. Hector Conde Almeida, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Nay Pyi Taw, at 10:00 am yesterday.

During the meeting, they discussed matters pertaining to bilateral relations and to enhance cooperation in health, education, climate change, including through frameworks such as Forum for East Asia – Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and South-South Cooperation.

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Cuba is an Example for Fighting Hunger: FAO

Resende said that Cuba demonstrated early on that it is possible to fight hunger with political will.

Cuba is an example to the world in fighting hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared Wednesday.


Cuba Reiterates ‘Unwavering Support’ for Palestinian State

FAO’s representative in Cuba, Marcelo Resende, said during an interview with the country’s Round Table television program, that Cuba leads in the promotion of agricultural production in the country and the world, as well as the democratization of land tenure, with agrarian reform being a cornerstone of the Cuban Revolution.

Resende said that Cuba demonstrated early on that it is possible to fight hunger with political will.

Currently, there are 800 million people around the world who go hungry despite the fact that food production is seven times higher than the needs of each person, which is due to the lack of political will, pressed the representative.

Resende recalled the words of the late revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, where he had remarked, that from the millions of children who go hungry in the world, none are Cuban.

The representative also highlighted the FAO’s extensive collaboration with the Caribbean island, especially in the areas of natural disasters, hurricanes, seed production. However, he added, FAO has continued to learn more from Cuba than vice versa, even when the FAO has provided technical assistance.

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Travellers’ Choice 2018 names Varadero among the best beaches of the World

Varadero —Cuba’s prime beach resort— was elected the third best beach of the world according to a list revealed by the 2018 TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards.

This portal revealed that such award is based on the opinion of millions users from different nationalities during the last twelve months.

Varadero was the third place among the top 25 beaches of the world just behind Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos), and Baia Do Sancho (Brazil).

Tours on catamaran, sport fishing, diving, and excursions, are some other options visitors may enjoy in Varadero, about 120 km east of Havana.

The so-called spa town treasures 52 hotels according to data released in November by the delegation of the Ministry of Tourism in the province of Matanzas.

Cuba welcomed 4.7 million tourists last year and expectations are 5 million foreign visitors for the first time in history in 2018.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz // CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba

ETECSA Enhances Connectivity to the Rest of the World with SES Networks

Cubans and visitors to Cuba will have additional access to reliable and uninterrupted connectivity throughout the main island of Cuba as ETECSA, Cuba’s national telecommunications operator, signed a deal with SES Networks for satellite services, SES announced today.

“Our unique network capabilities and suite of managed services allows ETECSA to guarantee their customers access to the best satellite internet technology available.”

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SES Networks will augment ETECSA’s existing terrestrial infrastructure with its high-performance fibre-like medium earth orbit (MEO) capacity and improve connectivity for end-customers of the Cuban operator.

“By working with SES Networks, we are ensuring that our customers across the main island will have a new way to access high-performing Internet at all times through this innovative satellite system. Our collaboration with SES Networks highlights ETECSA’s mission of providing telecommunications services that meet the current and future needs of Cuban citizens and our customers, as well as contributing to the country's socio-economic growth,” said Ing. Mayra Arevich Marín, executive president of ETECSA.

“The opportunity to work with organisations such as ETECSA that are consistently looking for ways to bring more reliable connectivity to their people is incredibly rewarding,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. “Our unique network capabilities and suite of managed services allows ETECSA to guarantee their customers access to the best satellite internet technology available.”

ETECSA provides public telecommunications services throughout the territory of the Republic of Cuba.

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