Fostering of collaboration between Russia and Latin America discussed at Business Forum in Cuba

The Russia–Latin America Business Forum took place in Havana on 29 October. The event coincided with the 16th meeting of the Intergovernmental Russian-Cuban Commission on Trade, Economic, and Scientific and Technical Cooperation, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yury Borisov and Vice President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas Ruíz.

The plenary session of the Second Business Forum focused on the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Latin America, as well as current global political and economic challenges.

“Between 2014 and 2017, SPIEF hosted the roundtable on the relations between Russia and Latin America four times. In March 2016 the Roscongress Foundation organized a SPIEF visiting session in Uruguay. Today the hospitable Cuba welcomes guests of this event that already became a tradition. We’ll be glad to see the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean represented at the largest international events and forums in Russia next year. I am confident that efficient cooperation between Russian and Latin American businesses is essential for enhancing trade and developing investment ties. The objective of the Russian Government is to create comfortable conditions for joint projects and to support initiatives of the business community,” stated Yury Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, at the opening plenary session.

Among those taking part at the Forum’s plenary session were Minister of Finance and Public Credit of the Republic of Nicaragua Iván Acosta; Minister of Economy of the Republic of Guatemala Acisclo Valladares; Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba Orlando Hernández Guillén; and First Deputy General Director of Russian Railways Alexander Misharin. The speakers discussed long-term projects in energy, industry, transport infrastructure, and agriculture, which have been launched in the interests of sustainable trade and economic ties. They also highlighted new sources of growth in Russian-Latin American relations. The session was moderated by Sergey Brilev, television presenter, Deputy Director of the Rossiya TV Channel, and President of the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute for the Americas.

Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov noted that the Havana Business Forum will give a further boost to the development of trade and economic relations between Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. “Cooperation between Russia and Cuba are continuing to develop unabated. Collaboration between the countries extends to politics, trade, economics, finance, transport, the humanitarian sphere, and tourism. It is therefore fitting that a business forum of this kind has been held here specifically. This platform, and the multilateral dialogue it fosters, invariably creates a foundation for long-term partnerships and gives rise to new ideas. I firmly believe that the Russia–Latin America Business Forum will herald new, ambitious projects and initiatives. This dialogue between Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean is also set to continue at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on 6–8 June 2019,” he said.

The business programme continued with a roundtable entitled “Russia–Cuba: New Horizons for Cooperation”, which examined trade and economic collaboration between the two countries. A number of senior executives from major Russian and Latin American enterprises and export-oriented companies took part in the lively discussion. Among them were Vice-President for External Relations and Relations with Shareholders at AVTOVAZ and Chairman of the Russia–Cuba Business Council Eduard Vaino; Deputy Director of SPbSRIVS Andrey Vasiliev; General Director of EXIAR Nikita Gusakov; President of BioCubaFarma Eduardo Martínez Díaz; Deputy Director General for Relations with Government Authorities at Sinara-Transport Machines Anton Zubikhin; President of Banco Internacional de Comercio (BICSA) José Lázaro Alari Martinez; and General Director of Energoimport and Chairman of the Russian-Cuban Business Council (BICSA) Rafael Ernesto Lage Pérez; Director General of InterRAO – Export LLC Maxim Sergeev; Deputy Director General of TECHZVETMET Alexey Khovanov; Director for Special Commissions of Rosoboronexport Sergey Goreslavsky; President of Rosatom Latin America Ivan Dybov and other businessmen, as well as representatives of the expert community and media.

The Forum was organized by the Roscongress Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment of the Republic of Cuba, and the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute for the Americas. TECHZVETMET was the general partner of the event, while the St Petersburg Scientific Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, and the Biopharmaceutical Plant under the Federal Medical Biological Agency of Russia (SPbSRIVS) was the business programme partner. This event formed part of the official business programme of the 36th Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018). The fair hosted a joint meeting of the Russia–Cuba and Cuba–Russia councils. A Russian stand, set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, attracted a high degree of interest among visitors to the expo.

In conclusion of the Forum the Roscongress Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba signed a memorandum of cooperation. Additionally, giftbags with stationery supplies have been presented to Cuba’s school children in a special ceremony.

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  • Published in Cuba

Latin America Supports Chinese Anti-Poverty Initiative

Beijing, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) Latin American countries participated today with its art, culture and traditions in an international bazaar held each year with the purpose of supporting China's struggle against poverty, top priority of the government.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations again summoned this event 'Love knows no barriers' to embassies of almost one hundred countries accredited here to collect funds that will help support social improvement projects in impoverished zones of the Asian giant. A downtown stadium of Beijing hosted a varied and colorful exhibition of the most identifying elements of the states present at the venue, to which were also added national and foreign organizations.

For Latin America participated nations such as Cuba,

Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Panama, and the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, approached the stands to salute their attendance to the event.

In each stand was a promotion of music, cuisine, iconioc places, clothes and other typical manifestations of the identities of the region.

Panamanian ambassador, Francisco Escobar, told Prensa Latina that his country participates for the second consecutive time, after establishing diplomatic relations with China in June, 2017.

He commented on the health and infrastructure projects presented at the beginning the most needed sectors and considered i tan honor for Panama being one of the territories contributing efforts here against poverty.

'We will continue doing this year after year, because it is always our interests to participate in these events, supporting peoples and tightening diplomatic relations between both countries', added Escobar.

To the fair attended thousands of persons since early morning under the slogan 'Love knows no boundaries'.

The fair was held for the first time in 2009 and since then, the Foreign Ministry and the Charity Federation of China achieved to gather many forces to this action of solidarity aimed to improving living conditions of thousands of persons.

China celebrates the National Day of Alleviation of Poverty every October 17 since 2013, when the government applied an ambitious plan to conclude in 2020, with the construction of a moderately prosperous society, and for all citizens could live in a dignified manner.

Over the last five years, the campaign has benefitted 68.53 million inhabitants of low income in the rural zones, that is, a descent from 10.2 to 3.1 percent the national rate of this population segment.

There are still 30.46 million Chinese with low living standards and 10 million of them are expected to prosper this year.

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Mexico 68: The Olympic path in Latin America

From the place where is Granma yacht, which transported 82 expeditionary since Tuxpan in the year 1956 with Fidel as leader, a replica of Olympic Flame of Mexico 1968 departed, which will travel several states in this brother country, till arrive to the capital city.

Sixty eight glories of the Cuban sport movement, among which were several protagonists of the first Olympic Games celebrated in Latin America, guarded the Torch since the Museum of the Revolution till the quay of the capital, where it departed towards Veracruz in the “Cuauhtémoc” school ship.

The General Secretary of the Cuban Olympic Committee, Ruperto Herrera, thanked the gesture of initiate the commemorative activities for the 50 years of the Olympic exploit, by our Homeland. “For Cuba this event had very special motivations, because it deals about a brother country linked to our national liberation heroic deeds in many ways. Besides it allowed showing to the world the beginning of a world sport potency”, he pointed out.

Mexico 68: The Olympic path in Latin America

By his side the Ambassador of Mexico in Cuba, the excellent sir Enrique Martínez, said that between these two countries always has existed a great brotherhood. “We feel the support of the Cubans for receiving those Games. What a so extraordinary scenario this! With the Granma that has been the emblem and testimony of our brotherhood. We must recognize that the Cuban trainers have been key pieces in the development of the Mexican sport”.

The sprinter Enrique Figuerola, silver in the relay race 4x100 meters in the Olympic appointment of 1968, remembered those moments that lived together with the Mexicans. “We are reliving the stimulating and important that were those Olympics for us and for Latin America, due to they had a really hard time to receive the headquarters”, the first Olympic medalist after the Triumph of the Revolution declared.

Mexico 68: The Olympic path in Latin America

The First Vice-president of the Mexican Olympic Committee, Jimena Saldaña, manifested her gratefulness to the Cuban sport authorities for being part of these celebrations and she left as a remembrance, a replica of the Olympic Flame of Mexico 68.

In that Olympics, the Cuban athletes achieved four medals of silver, in both relay races 4x100 and through the boxers Enrique Regüeiferos and Rolando Garbey. Among the ladies the posts were integrated by Marlene Elejalde, Fulgencia Romay, Violeta Quesada and Miguelina Cobián. Besides Enrique Figuerola; Hermes Ramírez, Pablo Montes and Juan Morales were in the male short relay race.

  • Published in Sports

Coffee: The Pride of Ticos

At the end of the 18th century, coffee came to Costa Rica for the first time. It was also the first Central American country to develop this important crop. In those remote times, our country had subsistence agriculture, but with the arrival of coffee in these lands, the way of thinking of the Costa Ricans began to change.

The richness of Costa Rica lies in the cultural diversity of its people: coffee is a culture in itself with a tradition built day by day, with a gained value for the people who are dedicated to its cultivation.

Costa Rican coffee is the main engine of development for the national economy. It was from almost the birth of the country as an independent nation, that coffee cultivation in the mid-nineteenth century had social and cultural consequences.

Coffee has been very important for our country, which is why it has lent its identity to create symbols and stereotypes that are of great emblematic importance for Costa Ricans.

By the time of independence, in 1821 Costa Rica was the poorest and most backward population of the Spanish colonial empire. However, by the year 1830, the country showed progress and economic recovery due to the abundant profits from coffee exported to England. In this way, coffee was positioned as the first and only export product of the country at that time.

Today the coffee themes are one of the most represented motifs in the arts, crafts, folklore and popular culture of the Ticos.

Coffee for Costa Rica became a civilizing agent, the “grain of gold” for the prosperity that was obtained from it; it became a great economic and social advance that was strengthened with the process of idealization and construction of national identity.

And this is how it deserved the title of “grain of gold” since the profits that were obtained from it allowed the development of banking, the road that connects San Jose and Puntarenas, the construction of railways to the Pacific and the Atlantic, the emergence of hospital services and education among other advances.

Over time, a class of medium and small peasant farmers was formed in the territory of the central valley, occupying large areas for the cultivation of coffee, thus forming a social and political elite enriched by the cultivation of coffee. This oligarchy marked the political destinies of Costa Rica for many years.

The government introduced policies that were achieved in the coffee industry, including the granting of land for coffee plantings and the delivery of coffee plants to farmers interested in producing coffee.

In the 19th century, coffee was the main part of banknotes and coins in Costa Rica; in fact, its image is present in the national coat of arms. The folkloric literature captured the genotype of the peasant of the central valley with his jovial air, simple good-natured and somewhat naive.

National art and architecture had coffee as its main impulse. The National Theater of Costa Rica built in 1897 was mainly financed with taxes from the sale of coffee. It is considered a jewel and historical heritage of the nation, the decorations and works of art present in this building are allusive to this bonanza obtained by the magnificent export of grain.

Coffee arrived to make a myth-symbol of a successful past and the promise of an assured future. This is how the idea arises that in Costa Rica “the best coffee in the world” is produced

Stereotypes of Coffee in Costa Rica

The carts are an interpretative art; they are intimately linked to coffee, within the coffee culture in Costa Rica, and have a tradition that dates back more than three centuries.

Being a resource through which the past is idealized, coffee continues to be manifest in new forms of expression such as the cultivation of organic coffee, “ecological and in harmony with the environment”

The production of Gourmet coffee, the coffee tours that attract foreign tourists, the most diverse handicrafts associated with the cultivation of coffee: the coffee pot and the tin cup, the painted cart and its yokes of oxen loaded with coffee beans, the little houses of Abobe, the peasant woman with her colored petticoat, the baskets to collect the grain, the handkerchief, the machete and the peasant.

At present, although it is no longer the only export product that the country has, coffee remains positioned among the most valuable products of Costa Rica and is recognized worldwide for its high quality.

  • Published in Culture

Cuba, ECLAC Discuss Preparations for Sustainable Development Forum

United Nations, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, presided today a working meeting of the member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Forum for Sustainable Development.

The permanent mission of Cuba to the UN hosted the meeting, which was also attended by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America of the United Nations (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, and ambassadors of the area.

By welcoming the participants, the Cuban Minister reiterated the interest of his country to continue promoting the work of ECLAC and its subsidiary entities, as well as to support the work of that Commission in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Meanwhile, Barcenas presented the results of the organization's session period and reviewed the new preparations for the ECLAC forum that examines the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Cuba currently holds the pro-tempore presidency of ECLAC in the period 2018-2020, from which it boosts regional cooperation and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the 36th session of ECLAC, held in Mexico from May 23 to 27, 2016, the member states approved a resolution through which the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development was created as a regional mechanism for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of these goals.

Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations endorsed the creation of the forum.

The Third Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development will be held at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile, from April 22 to 26, 2019.

  • Published in Cuba

Ralph Gonsalves Asks for Defense for Latin Countries

Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, called today in this capital to defend the governments of Nicaragua and Venezuela, and to support the people of Brazil.

'We have to support these sister nations with their successes and failures, that is the meaning of our struggle,' said Gonsalves, speaking on the opening day of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum that takes place at the Convention Center until Tuesday.

'One day is Venezuela, anotherday, it is Brazil and then Nicaragua, we always remember the coup against the government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in June 2009,' Gonsalves explained.

'Now Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in prison but the people support him because people continue to see him as their leader,' he said.

The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lamented the impact of the economic, financial and commercial blockade that Cuba suffers, as this policy of the United States affects in other latitudes.

He denounced how external agents conspire against governments and systematically practice interference in the internal affairs of countries.

To date Cuba has hosted two editions of the meeting, the one in 1993 and the one in 2001.

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More Than 430 Delegates Attend the 24 th Sao Paulo Forum in Cuba

Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) More than 430 delegates from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe are participating in the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, a three-day meeting inaugurated today in this capital with the Left's unity as its central theme.

The inauguration of the meeting was held in the Convention Palace, presided over by the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, and gathered more than a hundred left-wing and progressive parties and organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The opening ceremony was also led by the executive secretary of the Sao Paulo Forum, Monica Valente, with the participation of personalities such as the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and the Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera.

On its first day, the annual forum - which returns to Havana after the 1993 and 2001 editions - includes a debate to establish a position against colonialism and in favor of anti-imperialist solidarity and peace.

It will also host the meeting of the regional secretariats, the 3rd Seminar between the Left Party and the Sao Paulo Forum, and a meeting of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity.

This regional left-wing initiative was created in 1990 by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro (1926-2016), and the former president and founder of the Brazilian Workers' Party, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to the participants, the new edition of the Sao Paulo Forum should promote the momentum of the revolutionary and progressive forces of Latin America, in response to the onslaught of the right and the hostility of the United States towards governments and peoples who oppose its hegemony and interference.

  • Published in Cuba

Sao Paulo Forum: Space for Criticism and Construction of Perspectives

Port-au-Prince, Jul 14 (Prensa Latina) The Sao Paulo Forum, to be in session this Sunday in Havana, will be a space for criticism and the construction of new perspectives, said Haitian economist and political activist Camille Chalmers.

The teacher is also a delegate to the 24th Annual Meeting of political agreement of the regional left-wing forces, which aims to discuss and set guidelines on the struggles that unite us, he said.

'We are going to have a really important presence of all the left-wing forces, a wide range of options and trends, and innovation this year is that there will be a meeting with social movements,' Chalmers told Prensa Latina.

Camille, who is a great friend of Cuba and a follower of progressive social projects, remarked that the exchange with these movements will allow a rapprochement between concrete social struggles and policies, which can lead to 'the creation of a front to resist the pressure and the permanent threat of imperialism.'

He warned that an enormous violence against democracy, peoples and workers has been unleashed at present, with the intention of dismantling the conquests of the left in recent years.

'It is very important to create a front that can oppose this and that can overcome and relaunch the process of progressive accumulation in Latin America,' he said.

The Sao Paulo Forum, created by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, groups 112 left-wing political parties from Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Published in Cuba
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