World Boxing after Gender Equality

A few days ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made public that boxing in the Olympic Games Tokío-2020 will grant 13 medals, just as its two previous editions, but this time only eight for men, and five among women.

After gender equality, boxing joins the rest of summer sports, where the participation of women equals that of men, to eliminate all the differences seen throughout history.

In this regard, the number of women categories will reach five now, although the weights in which they will participate aren’t decided yet, neither those to be eliminated among men.

Personally I support women boxing, but I don’t think the formula to do so is the right one. I find it fairer, and just equitable that instead of reducing the number of categories for men boxers, it decreases the number of boxers by weight.

Therefore allowing all boxers the chance to reach the Olympics. It’s true it’d be more difficult to win a place for the Games, but the opportunity it’s there, while the other way leaves out a large number of good boxers.

IOC’s main concern is to achieve the gender equality without damaging the number of contestants, hence the costs for organizers, but with this second variant which Cuban boxing authorities want to present at the AIBA Congress, and it would improve quality, because in the preliminary rounds many mismatched combats take place.

If this variant does not succeed, which according to experts, women will have two more medals in their goals and men two less. Hence it’s more than necessary to promote the practice of boxing among women worldwide.

What is Cuba doing about it? Well practically nothing, is still being "studied" the participation of women.

3G technology is already making its way in Cuba (+Photos)

Its introduction is perceived in the quality of services and although the Internet does not reach mobiles yet, ETECSA is working to achieve so in the shortest time possible.

The Telecommunications Company S.A. of Cuba (ETECSA) is working to implement Internet access from mobile phones as soon as possible.

Thus informed Tania Velázquez Rodríguez, Central Director of ETECSA’s Commercial and Marketing Direction, in a recent TV program Round Table (Mesa Redonda) to update on the programs the company is developing in mobile and fixed telephony, Internet access, as well as projections for the next months.

As regards the latter, the executive specified that this year ETECSA would continue to ensure the connectivity of local entities as a major support for the country’s development, implement over 200 new public surfing areas, deploy 38,000 capacities for Nauta-Home service with similar scenarios to the experiment carried out in Old Havana.

"Our company –she remarked– works with all the opinions and perceptions from different sectors of society, and insofar as possible and with the resources we own, we work to meet their expectations".

3G technology at hand

At present, 2G and 3G technologies coexist in Cuba, which allows to share voice and data traffic today, thus leading a better perception of the quality of service, stated Engineer Hilda María Arias Pérez, Central Director of ETECSA’s Mobile Services Division.

Arias Pérez detailed that since March this year the company began to provide prepaid clients with 3G technology, starting from Matanzas and extended to the rest of the territories. This service kicked off in Havana in late April.

She explained that in the last three years the number of mobile lines has doubled and that today they total 4,220,000. So far this year, over 320,000 new clients have been added.

The executive added that such growth requires in parallel a strong investment process to support it, hence radio base stations (RBS) have doubled in three years too.

Consequently, she said, Cuba has two networks now: one 2G, which has a territorial coverage of 75 percent, but covers 85 percent of the population, and also one 3G that has been implemented in the first four months of the running year.

By this time, in 2016, 3G technology was deployed in Havana’s northern coast, part of the airport, the major tourist poles and capital cities.

For example, 213 new sites have been created in Havana this year.

The engineer said that today there are 846 2G sites and 343 3G ones and that although the latter cover 13 percent of the national territory, they cover 47 percent of the population, since they’re located in the most densely populated places.

From the implementation of the said possibility, which allows faster access to data, hence consulting Nauta mail service has improved, “we have noticed a 3 percent growth in data traffic and almost 20 percent in voice traffic, which means there’s a better quality”, the executive exemplified.

She cleared up that the client’s perception in 3G network depends on the number people close to the radio base stations, what they’re demanding, as well as the mobile equipment they’re using. In 3G network, she pointed out, the mobile equipment is seen as part of the network.

Regarding the type of equipment Cubans should use to connect to the 3G network, she said it should be one that works on the 900 MHz frequency. All equipments with data access on sale by ETECSA have that requirement.

While referring to the promotions and offers of her entity, the executive highlighted: "we know that the main dissatisfaction –and it is ours as a company too– is the topic of tariffs and prices”, but pointed to the need of a fair balance between the tariff and traffic the network can support, which depends on the investments made by the company that are subject to the financial resources available.

However, she recalled that all plans have lowered their tariff. In the case of Nauta Package (Bolsa Nauta), for example, it reduced it by 70 percent. She also drew attention on the over 318,000 activated packages, and the importance that this and other services are self-configured, since the client does not need to go to the commercial office to do so, which was one of the complaints.

"We must combine those offers that allow to recover investments faster with the other ones that are for the benefit of the whole people, because what we do benefits the rest of the services, which are for everyone in the end", she said.

Connectivity grows

Adolfo Iglesias Reyes, Central Director of the Fixed Services Division, underlined that bringing the Internet closer to an increasingly larger number of people falls within the investment plans of the company and today there are already across the country 634 rooms for wired connection, with 2,102 seats for surfing.

As part of the development plans, so far this year 20 of these rooms have been added, with 79 seats. The executive highlighted that 10 of them were opened in hospitals and 4 in post offices.

Regarding Wi-Fi surfing spots, he announced that, unlike the information offered at the previous Round Table, now all municipalities of the country have at least one of these public places, as a result of the 70 created in the first four months of this year.

He added that there are 616 of spaces of this type altogether, counting the network with third parties, as well as that his company is in a full process of modernization, improvement and expansion of all this system.

Linked to surfing in rooms and public places, he recalled that last March 30 the company lowered the fees of the permanent accounts of domestic access to 0.10 CUC per hour or its equivalent 2.50 CUP, as well as the minimum recharge price to 0.10 CUC, also valid for international access accounts.

As for the sales of permanent accounts and recharges, the executive stressed there are 19.8 million now.

He also stressed the connectivity of the educational, cultural and public health institutions, as well as the banking network, and such government entities as industry, agriculture, food, commerce, tourism, etc, which have been benefited by these efforts and investments.

The company reports more than 30,000 links of this type and of them this year it grew by 2,000, some with major bandwidths.

Making investments visible

At the beginning of the TV program, the Central Director of ETECSA’s Commercial and Marketing Division, Tania Velázquez, had mentioned the complexity of the investments systems linked to telecommunications as main axis to understand the problems to develop the aforementioned activity on the island.

In particular, she drew attention over the fast technology obsolescence and the strong investment processes that are needed to undertake, mainly imposed by the world’s strongest tech providers, since they force through violent and quick processes to replace and modernize our networks, and infrastructure to be in sync with the services the population expects and that convey big financial amounts: millions.


She stressed that in our case, an important percentage of the technology is imported and its purchase must be financed with incomes from the exportable services provided by ETECSA.

"The funds that we have from our services abroad are the ones that allow us to finance our contractual commitments, not only to develop the investment process, but also to cover the expenses we need to maintain infrastructure and pay international service providers”, the executive added.

Regarding the Internet, Tania said that for this issue the business model is different from voice model, where two operators exchange traffic and share costs and added that in the case of the Internet, the operator providing the service should pay for it completely, thus having a significant impact on hard currency expenditure.

Moreover, she specified that the service provided is paid in full, to support not only the needs of our clients, but also anyone who is abroad and needs to browse a service or content that is in Cuba.

"We have capacity to support that demand, but, evidently, that conveys a major impact on the financial models we have to support”, she highlighted.

"We set priority to the services generating incomes from abroad, but we have also progressed in creating capacities and services destined to the domestic market, to people who do not have the possibility to access the services with payments from abroad. And since December, we’ve seen more dynamism in the promotion of our offers and options, as well as in the implementation of new platforms introduced in our infrastructure”, Velázquez Rodríguez concluded.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuban medicine would save thousands of diabetic feet in U.S.

Cuban drug Heberprot-P awaits the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, amidst storming scenario with Donald Trump in office.

While the amputation rates of people suffering diabetic foot surpass 20 percent in the most developed countries, Cuba claims to have put an end to this serious health problem with the use of Heberprot-P, a medication that might be used in thousands of patients in U.S. and Puerto Rico, but its entry into US market is frozen in the maelstrom caused by the change in command in the White House.

Heberprot-P is an injectable product used in diabetic foot ulcers, many of which, estimated by Cuban scientists up to 80,000 annually, finish in amputation in the United States.

Cuba claims it has reduced amputation risk by 80 percent in foot ulcers in the country, statistics that according to Cuban experts could be achieved in U.S. too, should Heberprot-P gets FDA authorization for use.

Thanks to the new stage in the relations between both countries achieved by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro Ruz, this Cuban drug obtained a permit to begin FDA approval process, but the change of command in the White House has caused troubles to find a partner in U.S. who dares to finance the costly clinical experimentation trial demanded by US authorities.

"At this moment, the issue of the clinical assessment in the United States is a sensitive subject because of the change of administration. This brings new rules with it, causes a domino effect and slows everything down. It can be said there’s a period of uncertainty”, said to El Nuevo Día Dr. Manuel Raíces Pérez-Castañeda, head of the Department of Strategic Products and Government Programs of Heber Biotec S.A., Cuban pharmaceutical company attached to the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Cuba.

"Without a doubt, the medical registration of this drug in the United States will bring a very large social impact, because this disease affects 29.3 million inhabitants, which generates one million ulcers a year, and 200,000 out of them need more complex hospital care, in a country where between 73,000 and 80,000 legs are amputated due to diabetic foot ulcers”, the renowned Cuban scientist added.

Cuban estimates report that amputations on US soil could be lowered from 73,000 to 21,000 in a year.

The impact on poor or minority communities would be much larger, because rates of diabetics in those population sectors are much higher.

"All this has an impact on the social security system in U.S., because an amputated person is a person who no longer works, who depends on the social insurance”, he added.

The success of Heberprot-P, claims the Cuban State, is based on the fact that rather than a drug, it is about a program that focuses on the identification of cases.

It’s a public health model that, according to official figures, has 382 units with therapy available throughout the country.

The secret, they assure, has been an intensive education program for doctors, who, once a diabetes case is diagnosed, monitor the patients’ feet in their consultations aimed at detecting ulcers in their stages 1 or 2, so treatment with Heberprot-P is administered ambulatorily three times a week.

"If we were to send those who need therapy to hospital, costs would rise. Then we created some outpatient care units, which are called policlinics here, thus we can assist stage 1-2 outpatient patients”, claimed Raíces Pérez-Castañeda, who notices that everything was not all roses.

The early resistance of the physicians and the mistrust toward a model that was changing the routine of health professionals harmed. But once the patients began to see the benefits and, especially, surgeons turned from “amputators” to “healers”, things changed.

There are also the typical shortcomings of the health system of a third-world country, above all, in the face of the problems created by the economic blockade or embargo of U.S., which conditions the fluctuation of biomedical products, and the inefficiencies of the health structure itself.

"This is an example of the thesis of the Cuban health model that is not a perfect system, but it is a health system that functions and reaches the population. Cubans cannot tell anybody to use this model, but we can say: 'See what I’ve done, learn from my mistakes and hopefully what I’ve done may be useful to you”, Raíces Pérez-Castañeda stated.

Awaiting for Trump

In U.S. FDA approval process is stopped, awaiting President Donald Trump’s decision and his policy toward Cuba, the investment to achieve the approval for its use is estimated in $170 millions, amount of money that Cuban authorities cannot afford, therefore they are waiting for a partner.

As the scene in the political relations between Cuba and U.S. gets cleared and the search for a partner strengthens, the only choice for those who want to use this drug is to travel to Cuban hospitals, something that is happening at present.

It’s estimated that hundreds of Americans are coming to Cuba to be treated, not only with Heberprot-P, but also with a lung cancer vaccine that is already in its clinical experimentation trial in the United States, or treatment against vitiligo.

Cuba’s health system is free for Cubans, but foreigners must pay through specialized clinics for those aims, such as “Cira Garcia” Hospital or the International Center for Neurological Restoration (CIREN).

Cuban authorities bet that the medical tourism flow generates some pressure in U.S. and that Trump, who is supposed to make an announcement this month about his policy toward Cuba, takes into account the benefits it represents for the health of US citizens.

Edited by Cubasi

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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