Cuba: Computerization with an eye on the citizen (+ Infography)

The computerization process of Cuban society consolidates and marked a standard for our economic and social development in the year that has just concluded.

At the end of 2017, Wilfredo González, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications (MINCOM), reiterated that there’s no limitation from the political point of view for Cubans’ access to the Internet, but a willingness to increase both their access and the basic products and services that use new technologies for the benefit of the population.

He explained that the Policy for the Computerization of the Society approved last February is transversal, requires a national plan and therefore, the responsibility of several national bodies and entities, not only from the MINCOM, governing body that directs the resources of the country towards prioritized bodies and projects. “Within that plan we have 21 projects, which have a general scope (…) There started a computerization process of the public records of the country, a process that is run by the central body, that is, the Ministry of Justice, which we must boost together with the MINCOM (…); in the end, we are talking about the procedures and services for the population.”

“Granma Province, he claims, is a good example of what can be done to computerize a group of services with an eye on the citizen, such as the request of a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, or others offered by the Provincial Office of Justice and that are available in the Internet environment, because at least in this first part of the procedure, the citizen can request it via the digital space, in a website. This is, however, a complex process, because it requires an important organizational design in order to introduce technologies later.”

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The Cuban vice minister highlighted the effort of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) in terms of institutional connectivity, as a basis for the computerization of the country and how it is working with national entities, Central State Administration bodies and Software development enterprises in creating conditions and infrastructure capacity. This is a step that allows processes that are computerized within these entities not only to benefit them, but the population as well.

He also praised high-impact projects, such as, the Surfing Rooms opened in 2013 and the so-called public WiFi networks in 2015. “This is a project that is worth highlighting, because we will continue developing it in the coming years and in my opinion it also handles a concept, that is, the concept of sharing and not excluding, as an imperative of our society, of our Revolution.”

According to the deputy minister of the Ministry of Communications, it has been necessary to organize and build more infrastructures for the creation of digital contents and there are outstanding actors in that process, such as the Youth Computer and Electronics Clubs across the country or CubaEduca Portal, of the Ministry of Education (MINED), positive experiences that have been widely accepted and that should continue expanding in 2018.

ETECSA: A main axis for development

As Wilfredo González states, the Telecommunications Company of Cuba continued the expansion of its services in the year that has just concluded, dynamically inserting itself into the computerization process and establishing itself as main axis for the development of society as a whole.

In conversation with Mayra Arevich, ETECSA executive president, she reiterated the priority the company grants to the individual wellbeing and development of Cubans. She said that 600,000 mobile phone lines have been activated in 2017 alone, for a total of 4.5 million in the country and works are underway to surpass 50 percent of telephone density with this service.

There are already more than 500 public WiFi hotspots in all municipalities and the marketing of the highly demanded Nauta Home service began last September 9, with more than 11,000 accesses now.

ETECSA worked on the expansion of other services linked to important institutional networks that later become welfare for the population: all universities were connected and their bandwidth was increased by high reliability fiber optic link; the connection to the most important hospitals of the country with their medicine faculties was completed and it was extended to more than 200 polyclinics and 190 pharmacies, 50 of them in the capital.

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For 2018, Mayra Arevich announced the expansion of the access of the educational sector at all levels, the start of Internet marketing via cell phone and the collection and payment gateway jointly with the National Bank of Cuba –what is known in the world as Mobile Bank– so customers can pay for such services as water, electricity, telephone itself, among others, via their cell phones.

“We have a high commitment with the mission the Revolution has given us with telecommunications development, of being able to contribute to the development of the country and the wellbeing of the population. (…) This is a sector that progresses very quickly and there’s a high commitment with the people”, she stated.

The computer of the Cuban family is boosted

The more than 600 Youth Computer and Electronics Clubs (JCCE) that are scattered throughout the country continued bringing the use of new technologies closer to the Cuban family in 2017. Thus, there stood out products like “Mochila” (Backpack), an important entertainment option that operates as a non-traditional TV cannel and that can be acquired in all Youth Clubs facilities free of charge.

The collaborative Encyclopedia Ecured consolidates today as Cuba’s best positioned website on both web 2.0 and the main Internet search engines, and continues to provide universal knowledge in dominium.cu to the largest possible number of customers with a current rate of 250,000 to 300,000 daily visits.

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For its part, “Reflejos” (Reflections) platform, blog creation space with almost 4000 active blogs, more than 23,000 users and 300,000 daily visits, continued providing a large amount of content to Red Cuba (Cuba Network) based on our identity, interests, tastes and demands of the society.

According to Danays Moreno, director of Youth Clubs Programs, the main challenges of these facilities that are celebrating 30 years of their creation, focused on the community and the family, are the modernization of this national network and the continuous boosting of the products that are offered and to make them sustainable over time.

Other important actors of the process: the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) and the Union of Computer Specialists of Cuba (UIC)

The University of Computer Sciences reached its 15th anniversary in 2017 and celebrated it with more than 14,000 high-profile graduates in the area of computing. More than 50 percent of all computing graduates of the country have graduated from this university, created by Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro with the idea that all the country’s territories were represented there.

“We are now in a better position to provide services with an eye on citizens jointly with entities, (…) to take that step more visible, more noticeable by Cubans, and that has to do with infrastructure issues, but we’re in better conditions, along with the institutions, which we’re working with, because we have cleared a path within the institution, in information management. Now, we should continue to consolidate the offers and services to the population”, Rosado specified.

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This year, the Union of Computer Specialists of Cuba has consolidated too and now has more than 8,000 members across the national territory. For its president, Aylin Febles, the entity has achieved important socialization, exchange and learning spaces based on a system of activities carried out throughout the country, has identified more than 100 applications that could have been developed by the individual initiative of a technology professional, private workers, universities, technology companies or from any other sector, but there is already a bank that can be made available for the computerization process.

Regarding the insertion of non-state workers, Febles claimed this is a small force within the UCI, but there are many projects that can be developed from their innovating ideas and an organization that listens to them, gives them prominence and facilities to insert themselves into this process together with other Cuban organizations and institutions. “The biggest challenge for 2018 is that every UIC member has a task, has a mission given by the organization and feels summoned to contribute to the computerization process.”

Present and future challenges

“In 2018, the computerization process of Cuban society will enter, undoubtedly, a higher phase. The application of the policy approved in the cybersecurity field will be an important challenge to protect not only the benefits of the Revolution, but also the data of Cuban citizens who access the Internet”, stated Wilfredo Gonzalez, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications.

In terms of access capacity, content development and digital services, the deputy minister considers it is necessary to seek greater affordability of the population, a much more agile organization of the process and to work on what constitutes today the main barrier Cubans have, and not only those of our country, but also those from Latin America: the absence of a relevant digital content in the networks.

Citizen participation as part of a principle of the Socialist Revolution, through the so-called e-government is another big challenge, so that citizens can suggest, share and form part of the process of socio-economic construction of the country, by means of their interaction with territorial bodies and governments via online.

Import substitution and export stimulation is something in which we also have to make progress as long as the industry inserts itself into the process –and not only through the state enterprise– to position a larger number of digital services in the Internet environment in our country and to reorganize the industry of computer applications.

“I think this is even a duty we have with the Commander in Chief, with the view the Commander in Chief had regarding this industry”, the Cuban DM summed up.

Cuba progresses in the safe computerization of society, aware that the Internet era and new technologies should be a learning space, with firm development steps, inclusive and safe in order to guarantee the invulnerability of the Revolution, the defense of culture and the prosperous and sustainable socialism that our people are building.

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Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Casa de las Americas in 2018

Cuban cultural life will be marked in January by the Literary Prize of this prestigious Cuban cultural institution.

This is how it will begin, as every year, its program in 2018 that will also include, among other proposals, the Musicology Prize, another edition of its Colloquy on Women, as well as the intense days of the Latin American and the Caribbean Theater Season Mayo Teatral, among other events. There will also be workshops, homage, besides exhibits, book premieres, and concerts in favor of common creation of our America.

On January 15th will be formed the jury for the Literary Prize Casa de las Americas that this year arrives to its 59th edition. This award is one of the oldest in the continent. Winning works will be made public on Thursday 25th.

As it’s tradition, during the sessions it will be developed alongside the main event presentations of books, round-tables, panels, and debates about topics related with the genres and categories in competition. The jurors coming from different Latin American countries will participate. The encounters will have venue in Cienfuegos where the jury will work and then here in Havana, on January 22-25.

This time the competition will include the following genres and categories: story, theater, and essay of artistic-literary topic; as well as work in Brazilian literature, with non-fiction books written in Portuguese, and texts published in Caribbean literature in either English or Creole. It has also been convoked the Prize of Studies on Women.

The history of this contest go as far back as the early foundational days of that institution, when, in July 1959, Casa de las Americas, newly created organized the first edition of the contest which after 59 years still has great prestige within the literature of our continent.

While on February 19-23, Casa will host a new edition of the International Colloquy of its Program on Women’s Studies. Those encounters are developed yearly since 1994. This time the main topic will be: “Women and Families in the History and Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean”. Further details at the e-mail:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The fourteenth edition of the Musicology Prize of Casa de Las Americas is scheduled for March 12-16. This year texts will compete on musical historiography; interpretation and critical explanation of the musical creation; traditional and folkloric music; theory and practice on music teaching; global theoretical frameworks of musicology; and other problems related to aesthetics, sociology and the anthropology of music among others. The dateline for the admission of works is February 1st. During those days it will also take place the Tenth International Colloquy of Musicology.

And of this spring, casa de las Americas will organize the tenth edition of Season of Latin American and the Caribbean Theater Mayo Teatral. On May 11-20 will arrive to this capital, representative theater groups in the region with a great variety that will include dramatic theater, testimony theater, scene of the street, theater of objects, rereading of classics and the presence of outstanding music.

This time the theme axis is the bonds between processes and results, the presentations will be accompanied by thorough explanations of the theater plays. There will also be workshops, conferences, exhibitions, book and magazine premieres, among other proposals.

Likewise the program of Casa de las Americas for 2018, announces the third International Colloquy of Studies on America’s Original Cultures, on October 9-12 dedicated to indigenous languages of America, expression, translation and recovery; and in November will arrive the Author's Week, as customary by yearend every year.

With its varied cultural program, Casa de las Americas, a beautiful project for unity, defense and promotion of the Latin American culture, will continue in 2018 its rich history in favor of the tree of common creation of our America.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Marco Rubio and his "Secret" Documents on the "Acoustic Attacks"

Last Saturday, visiting Cuba, the republican senator Jeff Flake affirmed that "U.S. authorities have not found evidence that the North American diplomats in Havana have been victims of attacks with an unknown weapon."  

The member of the Foreign Relationships Commission of the Senate declared to AP news agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the United States has told Cubans that after four trips to Cuba, their agents have not found evidence that the mysterious illnesses suffered by North American diplomats have been the result of attacks. However, the very president of the U.S., Donald Trump, classified the incident as an attack.

Likewise the Arizona senator asserted that “there is no evidence that somebody intentionally attempted to hurt anyone. Nobody is saying these people didn't experience some dysfunction, but there is no evidence that there was a deliberate attack perpetrated by somebody, either Cubans or someone else".

However, quickly in his twitter account the senator of Cuban origin, Marco Rubio, rejected the statement of his colleague. According to Rubio, Flake "knows very well that the method used in the attacks is still reviewed, but not the attack and the lesions they caused."

"It is a documented FACT that 24 officials of the United States government and their spouses were victims of some sort of sophisticated attack while living in Havana", tweeted Rubio.

In his opinion it’s impossible to "carry out 24 separate and sophisticated attacks" against U.S. government personnel without the Cuban officials knowing anything about it.

The documents Rubio mentions are apparently in his custody because they have never been seen by the Cuban part neither these documents have been presented to the “free” press of his country that keeps fueling the rumors and crazy versions on the topic.

It’s well known that what Marco Rubio says cannot be trusted. In October 2011 the senator was openly accused of liar by the newspaper St.Petersburg Times for using the political deceit that his parents of Cuban origin had arrived in Florida after the triumph of Fidel Castro, however, press reports revealed that the senator's parents had reached the United States in 1956, while Batista still ruled over Cuba. Rubio’s father was a barman and he traveled to the United States for economic reasons. Fidel Castro was not even in Cuba when Rubio’s family left the country.

But not everything is black and white and some truth must be behind Rubio’s tweets. His declarations confirm what some experts have already pointed out as a fact: that the invention of science fiction of allegedly acoustic attacks is a fiction within the sick minds of some members of the anti-Cuban mafia of Miami, and right now Rubio is their most active representative.

Anti-Cuban legislators from Miami show serious symptoms of "breakdown attacks" after president Obama, with the reestablishment of relationships with Cuba in December 2014, ruined the "arguments" that for decades have justified their involvement in the U.S. politics.

President Mulatu on Working Visit in Cuba

President Mulatu Teshome is paying an official working visit to Cuba, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He is visiting the country following the invitation of President Raul Castro of Cuba.

The leaders will discuss about consolidating further the relations of the two countries in various sectors, in education, health and technology sectors in particular.

They are expected to sign various agreements.

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Jeff Flake says no evidence of ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says the U.S. has found no evidence that American diplomats in Havana were the victims of attacks with an unknown weapon.

Flake, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, met with high-ranking Cuban officials in Havana on Friday. He spoke with The Associated Press on Saturday morning.

The Cubans told Flake the FBI has told them its agents found no evidence that mysterious illnesses suffered by U.S. diplomats resulted from attacks, despite the Trump administration’s description of the incidents as attacks.

Flake says classified briefings from U.S. officials have left him with no reason to doubt the Cuban account. The U.S. has pulled most of its staff from Havana in response to the incidents.

Cuban and FBI officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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President Michelle Bachelet Arrives in Cuba on Official Visit

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet arrived in Cuba yesterday to pay a two-day official visit, during which she will meet with the country's highest authorities and will carry out other activities.

Shortly after 06:00 hours, local time, today, the plane of the Chilean Air Force that brought the head of State and her delegation landed at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport.

She was welcomed by Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra and other officials from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as diplomats from the Chilean Embassy in Havana.

According to her agenda, Bachellet will meet on Sunday with artists and intellectuals, and the official welcome ceremony will be held on Monday, when she will lay a wreath at Monument to Cuban National Hero Jose Marti at Revolution Square, will participate in a business forum and will visit the Salvador Allende Pedagogical School.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry said that the Caribbean island shares Bachelet's interest in consolidating and developing economic-commercial and cooperation relations, in addition to promoting investments.

Cuba and Chile, whose relations are in a good state, are united by long-term historic ties.

In 1971, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, visited Chile during Salvador Allende's government. It was the first official visit by a Cuban president to Santiago.

At the time, Allende said that Cuba is linked 'to the history of Latin America, Fidel Castro represents an authentic revolution and we want to intensify the traditional friendly ties that have always existed between our countries.'

The latest collaboration between the two countries took place after the earthquakes that shook Rancagua on February 27, 2010, and Valparaiso on April 24, 2017, when brigades from the International Contingent of Doctors were sent to assist Chileans.

Bachelet was Chile's president during a first term (2006-2010) and was elected for the second time for the 2014-2018 term.

The Chilean leader, who was the first pro tempore president of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), will be succeeded by Sebatian Piñera on March 11, who will repeat at La Moneda after winning the December elections runoff.

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Minister of Timor Leste Rejects US Blockade To Cuba

Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor Leste, Aurelio Guterres, expressed his solidarity with the Cuban people and government, and hopes for the end of the commercial and financial economic blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.

In a letter addressed to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, the minister stated that, as a member of the United Nations Organization, Timor Leste warns of the need to end that measure, to safeguard the rights of Cubans and access to the necessary goods.

As a sign of the principles of reciprocity and good relations, Timor Leste expresses its support for the people and opposition to the blockade of the US government, he added.

The US blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba since February 7, 1962 and converted into law in 1992 and 1995, is considered a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and qualifies as an act of genocide.

At the same time, this policy constitutes the greatest obstacle to the implementation of the country's National Economic and Social Development Plan, and to the development in general of all the potentialities of the economy.

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Evo Morales Highlights Cuba's Resistance to U.S. Hostility

Bolivian President Evo Morales has highlighted Cuba's resistance to the hostility of the U.S. government, which has maintained the economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba for more than 50 years.

In a message on his Twitter account, the Bolivian leader praised the dignity and sovereignty of Cubans in the face of U.S. interference.

He recalled events that mark the historical relations between the Caribbean nation and the U.S., marked by interference and an unsuccessful imperial logic.

He mentioned the rupture of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba on January 3, 1961 and the first defeat of imperialism in Americas at Playa Girón -- the Bay of Pigs -- in April of the same year.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

  • Published in Cuba
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