Cuban, Kenyan presidents vow to strengthen bilateral ties

Cuban President Raul Castro on Thursday met with his visiting Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, with the two sides agreeing to strengthen political and economic relations.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with the official inauguration of the Kenyan embassy in Havana, which is scheduled to take place on Friday.

Castro also thanked the Kenyan government for its support and donation last year after Hurricane Irma hit Cuba's north coast, costing more than 13 billion U.S. dollars in economic losses.

Earlier in the day, Kenyatta unveiled a statue of his late father and Kenya's founding President Jomo Kenyatta at a park in Havana.

In a speech made after paying tribute to other African independence heroes at the park, the president stressed the need to strengthen ties among developing nations, including their bilateral relations.

"I thank the people of Cuba for their constant solidarity with the African nations. Africa will always keep its relations with Cuba high and together we will continue developing our beneficial links for the prosperity of our peoples and nations," he said.

In 2016, Kenya opened its embassy in Havana to boost future cooperation in sectors such as commerce, education, culture and health.

Kenyatta will return to Nairobi on Saturday after a three-day official visit to the Caribbean nation. 

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Cuba and Djibouti Strengthen Sports Collaboration

Hassan Mohammad Kamil, Secretary of State of Djibouti for Youth and Sports and the president of Cuba’s National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation Antonio Becali signed a collaboration agreement Tuesday, said Cuban website JIT.

‘We have signed an agreement in the sports sector. I want to congratulate all those people who have received us so well in Havana,’ said the former soccer player of Djibouti, who was the director of the national soccer federation in his country.

‘I have visited many places and I am really amazed. I have talked to sports personalities and I am sure that we’ll go forward in the sector,’ Kamil stated.

The agreement reflects the will of both countries in exchanging in several disciplines and includes aspects such as infrastructure, investigation, medicine, fighting the use of drugs and technical assistance.

‘I must return to Cuba because of two reasons: first, because of the security and second, because of the sport. I have felt secure in the places where I have been, and I’ve seen you have many places for practicing sports,’ Kamil concluded.

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Cuba, Kenya Seek to Strengthen Relations By Opening Embassy

With the opening of Kenya''s embassy in Cuba this week the two countries seek to strengthen their political and cooperation relations, agreed sources from the two nations.

The inauguration of the diplomatic headquarters in this capital will be held next Friday, in the context of the official visit to the island of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, scheduled from Wednesday to Saturday.

Nairobi and Havana have expressed their willingness to expand the ties established in 1995, which have solidarity as their characteristic, according to the parties.

According to data published here, 60 Kenyans graduated in the Caribbean country until the 2015-2016 academic year, while five currently study at the Latin American School of Medicine.

Cuba has had the support of Kenya in forums of the African Union and the United Nations in its demand to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than half a century.

Regarding the visit of Kenyatta, spokesman Manoah Esipisu highlighted the 'special historical relations of Cuba with Kenya and with Africa'.

Cuba began its ties with the African liberation movements in the 1960s, and the Cuban revolution was a great inspiration, particularly during the struggles on the continent against colonialism and apartheid, he warned in Nairobi.

Esipisu pointed out that the president's trip will boost bilateral relations in areas of mutual benefit, among which he mentioned the public health.

According to the program of the visit, Kenyatta will pay homage in this capital to the national hero of Cuba, José Martí, and to the African heroes, and will hold official talks with high host authorities.

On Friday he will participate in the inauguration of the embassy and on Saturday he will complete his stay in the Caribbean nation.

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Neurology Institute Increases its Research

Dr. Rafael Estrada Gonzalez, of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute said on Monday in Havana that the center continues to improve in comprehensive treatment and specialized attention of its neurological-degenerative illness and those that increase due to the aging population.

The challenges for the center, reference of Neurological sciences in Cuba, are the development of advanced and minimum invasive neurological surgery techniques for the treatment of tumors of the central nervous system and the increase of research in neurological sciences.

The Head of the Institution’s Neurological physiology, Dr. Yoel Gutierrez Gil said that among the projections this year is the development of diagnostic technology for neurological ailments through MRI with the construction of a high camp equipment and strengthen a comprehensive attention of patients with epilepsy, movement disorders and neuro-muscular ailments.

In addition, neurological stimulation and neurological modulation techniques in diseases of the central nervous system and the treatment of pain, among others.

After 56 years in the creation of the institution, the main impacts are related with the following research topics: epidemiology in neurological ailments (Parkinson, Guillain-Barre; epilepsy, vascular diseases and brain tumors.

Other inquiries are discussed on the development of new methods for the prenatal molecular diagnosis and carriers of severe neurological diseases (spine and muscular atrophy); epidemic neuropathy (optic and peripheral) hyperthyroidism, dementia and the study of neurological psychology in neurological genetic ailments.

The Neurological and Neurosurgery Institute is a national reference for the diagnosis and treatment of the ailments that affect the central and peripheral nervous system includes specialists in Neurology, Neurosurgery and other disciplines in the field.

The center is recognized by its assistance, education and clinical and basic researches, that contribute to stimulating scientific inquiries and offers a better medical attention, achieving a high grade of satisfaction in the patients.

The center is also highlighted by the effective modification of its indicators of neurological and neurosurgical diseases in children and adults, in addition to the development of highly specialized human resources. (ACN)

Uhuru Kenyatta's leaves for historic visit to Cuba

President Uhuru Kenyatta heads to the Caribbean in a historic visit to the island of Cuba on Tuesday, seeking a helping hand for his healthcare policy in the Big Four Agenda.

The president will be visiting the region for the first time since he took office in 2013.

It will also be the first visit by a Kenyan head of state since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2001.

State House said on Monday that the agenda of the trip will be boosting cooperation in health, sports and culture.


“Cuba has a well-developed health sector which has achieved great milestones such as discovery of vaccines against lung cancer, and the eradication of malaria. Cuba is also home to a thriving pharmaceutical industry,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said.

“There is a great opportunity during the President's visit for the two nations to expand the MoU on implementation for the achievement of universal healthcare, an important deliverable in President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda,” Mr Esipisu added, referring to an agreement signed between Kenya and Cuba last year.


Officials say the President sees Cuba as important in helping him achieve some of the Big Four issues, which include universal healthcare, adequate housing, manufacturing and food security.

Cuba, despite being under the communist leadership of Fidel Castro - who died in November 2016 - for five decades, has achieved what the World Health Organisation calls a model healthcare system.

Based on socialist tenets, Castro engineered a system based on accessibility and preventive medicine (vaccination) and regarded health as a basic human right.


Health services are offered for free and include check-ups, surgery, medical dispensing and doctor visitations.

Under Fidel’s brother Raul, the World Bank reports that Cuba’s community health has remained intact, reporting an infant mortality rate of four in 1,000 live births and a life expectancy of 80.

Kenya’s infant mortality rate is 37 out of 1,000 live births while the life expectancy is 62.


In Cuba, one medical doctor can serve up to 150 patients, beyond the World Health Organisation standard ratio of one doctor per 300 people.

In Kenya, a doctor has to work harder because he stands for 16,000 patients.

A preparatory concept note for the President’s visit said Kenya could tap into Cuba’s pharmaceuticals as well as its medical missions.


“The President will explore how to build Kenyan capacity, increase the number of medical specialists in orthopaedic surgery, oncology, neurology, and trauma management; and collaborate in research on cancer and diabetes drugs, and eradication of malaria,” State House said on Monday.

“Cuba is interested in registering and selling its pharmaceutical products in the Kenyan market. It is also keen to cooperate in vector control.

President Kenyatta will encourage Cuba to set up a pharmaceutical plant in Kenya to serve the East and Central Africa regional market.”


Cuba’s engagements with the outside world had been limited until 2016 when the US agreed to lift the sanctions it imposed on the country in the 1960s, and reopened its embassy in Havana.

President Barack Obama then made a historic visit to Havana. A few months later, Kenya announced it would open an embassy in Cuba.

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Raúl, the first to vote

The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, exercised his right to vote in a polling station located in the Santiago municipality of II Frente Oriental Frank País (Frank País Second Eastern Front)

SEGUNDO FRENTE. – With just a few minutes to go before the clock struck seven this Sunday morning, Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz arrived to vote in polling station 1, constituency 11, located in the Paquito Rosales Benítez School of the Santiago municipality of Segundo Frente.

Alongside other voters who had gathered early to exercise their right to vote, Raúl participated in the opening ceremony of the polling station, during which the Cuban flag was raised, the notes of the National Anthem were sung, the oath that governs the work of electoral authorities was read and the two ballot boxes were shown to be empty before sealing.

Raúl was the first to vote, followed by the First Secretary of the Party in Santiago de Cuba, Lázaro Expósito Canto. The Cuban President conversed with the electoral authorities and the two school girls who watched over the ballot boxes.

On exiting the polling station, Raúl shared anecdotes with residents regarding the founding of the Frank País Second Eastern Front (which this municipality is named after), and said it was a pleasure to have voted alongside them.

The municipality for which the Army General was a candidate to the National Assembly of People’s Power has a total population of around 40,000, divided into 79 electoral constituencies. A total of 114 polling stations were installed here.

This election day took on a special significance in this mountainous territory, as it occurred precisely on the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Frank País Second Front, under the command of the then Comandante Raúl Castro Ruz.

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Trump knows nothing about Cuba: ambassador

Alexis Bandrich Vega, Havana’s ambassador to Tehran, believes that U.S. President Donald Trump is ignorant of the realities in Cuba.

“This president of the United States is not interested in Cuba, nor knows anything, neither of Cuba nor of the Cubans,” Ambassador Bandrich Vega tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q:  How do you evaluate bilateral relations between Cuba and Iran, especially in the economic area?

A: In the political area they are very good. We were honored to receive the official visit of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in 2016. There is a good level of exchanges of messages and communications between our governments.

Each year the number of Iranians who travel to Cuba increases for different reasons, including tourism.

In the economic area, although there are many MOUs between both countries, neither of us is satisfied with the level of exchanges. Many reasons influence, such as the distance, the asymmetries of our economies and the difficulties imposed by the United States to realize our commercial operations not only with them, but with the rest of the world.

I can assure you that there is the political will of both governments to advance in this field and we will achieve it.

Q:  What about cultural cooperation between Cuba and Iran?

A: The good political relations coupled with economic ones will facilitate the increase of cultural cooperation. Iran has always had a good participation in the International Book Fair in Cuba every year. Iranian films enjoy good acceptance among the Cubans, as well as some programs facilitated by the Spanish-speaking channel Hispan TV.

We have just celebrated a Cuban Culture Week in the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, which was very well accepted among the attendees.

The cultures of both nations have transcended our borders and there´s no doubt that more and more bridges will unite us.

Q: How about scientific cooperation between Cuba and Iran, especially in the area of medicine?

A: Undoubtedly, this is an area where both countries have experienced important advances and where more opportunities for cooperation have been found.

Cuba has made, and will make, important technological transfers to Iran in the area of vaccine production.

We have developed important medications, some unique as Heberprot P, against diabetic foot ulcers, which helps reduce the need for amputation in more than 70% of treated cases and is registered in more than 20 countries. In the same way Cuba has also developed important vaccines against different types of cancer, which have shown high effectiveness. We look forward to achieve a possible agreement on med´s registration.

We have a vast network of facilities for health tourism, with a growing number of people coming to our country every day to undergo surgical operations and enjoy the hospitality of the Cubans and the benefits of our island.

Recently, a nanotechnology laboratory donated by Iran was inaugurated in Cuba, which predicts a promising collaboration in that area, with mutual benefits.

There is so much to do.

Q:  Would you explain about Iran-Cuba cooperation at international level?

A: In the international arena we have excellent cooperation. Cuba will always appreciate Iran's support for the Resolution against the blockade of the United States. We have always had the Iranian vote and we hope that we can also count on your denunciation in the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations later this year.

We frequently exchange support for the candidatures of our representatives for positions in international organizations.

On several occasions, the Cuban government has expressed its full support for the nuclear agreement, as well as demanding its strict compliance.

Q:  Donald Trump is trying to roll back what Obama did. It is true in the case of Cuba. What is the motivation behind such moves?

A: Totally true. On June 16, 2017, President Trump signed the Presidential National Security Memorandum on the strengthening of the U.S. policy towards Cuba, which increases the prohibitions on economic, commercial and financial transactions of U.S. companies and entities with Cuban companies and entities, restricts the trips of North
Americans to the Island, expands the list of government officials and Cuban citizens who cannot receive visas, remittances or engage in transactions with U.S. entities, and repeals the Presidential Policy Directive for the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba (Obama 14.10.2016).

The motivations are purely political, of domestic politics, because this president of the United States is not interested in Cuba, nor knows anything, neither of Cuba nor of the Cubans. The U.S. government ignores the majority support of American public opinion, the international community and Cuban emigration in the U.S. to the lifting of the blockade and the normalization of relations between the two countries, meanwhile satisfies the interests of a small minority of the American and Cuban-American extreme right of South Florida, whose interest is to provoke a confrontation between the two countries.

Cuba is willing to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest, and negotiate pending bilateral issues with the United States on the basis of equality, reciprocity, respect for sovereignty and national independence, without anyone expecting us to make concessions, or renounce one of our principles.

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Cuban Elections Marked by Massive Turnout

Still one hour to go before the polls closed in Cuban Sunday legislative elections, nearly 80 percent of voters had turned out to elect delegates to Provincial Assemblies and the National Parliament, according to preliminary reports.

Until 17:00 local time Sunday, 78,5 percent of 8,740.569 registered voters had casted their votes at the 24,470 polling stations, which were opened until 18:00. The National Electoral Commission is issueing the final report at a press conference this Monday.

Cubans were electing 1,265 delegates to 15 Provincial Assemblies and 605 lawmakers to the National Parliament that will be proclaimed in April.

To First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, by exercising their right to vote that is secret and egalitarian, the Cuban people defended their sovereignty in the face of growing threats to the Revolution amidst a complex world juncture.

In the first of voting late last year, a total of 12,515 delegates were elected to the 168 municipal assemblies across the island. These bodies then chose the candidates for this second electoral round to elect members for provincial legislative assemblies and Parliament.

For the elections, more than 200,000 citizens were trained to work at the voting process as electoral commissioners and supporting staff at polling stations.

As a distinguishing mark, children from primary and secondary education levels in their school uniforms guarded the ballot boxes.

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