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Learning from experience

Diaz Canel puebloAt dawn this Wednesday, July 11, on another extremely hot summer’s day, the Cuban President began a working visit to Matanzas to understand the situation on the ground in the province, and assess how the territory is overcoming the effects of Hurricane Irma and the heavy rains of Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The tour began in Ciénaga de Zapata, where few escaped the effects of the recent flooding throughout the municipality, which forced a third of the population to evacuate.

Undoubtedly, this was a very significant event for local residents, without precedents in the region.


The President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reflected on the recent weather events that caused floods in various parts of the territory, and stressed that climate change is ongoing and will impact the lives of many people.

It is true that there was more flooding than expected, as never before, but we must learn from this experience, because intense and persistent rains, as well as other natural phenomena, can happen again, he noted.

He insisted that this is one of the lessons we must take from such events, which we cannot ignore, as they can cause as much, or even more, damage than hurricanes.

As such, the President suggested a rigorous study of the issue and that this form part of the disaster risk prevention and reduction plan.

The damage caused by the flooding can still be seen here in several homes and patios, but what is most visible is the nerve of the people, who show no signs of despair, commented Marisol Alonso González, government president in the municipality.

The official informed Díaz-Canel of the details of the situation here, and noted that a significant number of those residents who were affected are receiving help, be it essential supplies or other necessary material resources, with the option to buy on credit.

“We were well looked after,” stated Elizabeth Sigarrate, a local resident who was evacuated to a center outside the municipality.

People have responded as expected, explained Rey Aragón, president of the local defense zone.

Díaz-Canel toured the Cayo Ramona medical outpost, an extension of the polyclinic located in the municipal capital of Playa Larga, which provides emergency services to more than 2,200 inhabitants.

Just before entering the premises, two residents from the El Helechal community informed him they were unhappy that diagnostic ultrasound services were no longer offered at this medical center.

“Now we have to go to Playa Larga to get an ultrasound, and that’s very far away,” said one of them.

The Cuban President listened, nodding, before explaining the reasons why it was necessary to centralize health services across the country.

He then placed his hand on the shoulder of one of the residents, and told them not to worry: “Nonetheless, we’re going to review this.”

As he went out into the street, surrounded by people, the President asked: “What other problems do you have?”
“Everything is being solved little by little, President,” someone responded. “We have advanced and we will carry on,” he added.

A moment of special interest was the visit to the Museo Girón, an institution that records the glorious days of those who defended the Homeland against the mercenary invasion of April 1961.

After touring some of its rooms and appreciating the museum’s new displays and exhibits, Díaz-Canel addressed residents gathered on the opposite sidewalk and summarized the spirit he had observed until then in the southern territory.

“Always heroic as in Girón,” he declared with his arm raised.

The agenda included, in addition, a brief meeting in which Inés María Chapman, president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources and a vice president of the Council of State, and Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, minister of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma) participated, that shed some light on the efforts underway to prevent future floods from causing so much destruction in the area.


Accompanied by Teresa Rojas Monzón, first Party secretary in the province, and Tania León Silveira, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power, Díaz-Canel reviewed the program that seeks to restore the productive splendor of citrus fruits in Matanzas.

Armando Perdomo García, director of the Victoria de Girón agro-industrial enterprise, referred to the efforts to replenish approximately 1,000 hectares each year, which will provide for a total of 18,000 in 2030.

He recalled that the beginnings of citrus fruit growing in the region were a kind of productive and human adventure, since the land to be used was plagued with stones, and he recognized the role of Fidel in the creation and development of the plan.

The Cuban President praised the productive results of the enterprise, already consolidated, he noted, and suggested the management team take better advantage of the potential of science, particularly that of computerization and automation. This ensures development, he stressed.

He also commented on the importance of using higher quality packaging in industrial processing and of increasing production for export and national consumption.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero reported that next year two new production lines will be installed in the industrial plant, one to process potatoes into different products, which will strengthen this center, well-known for the processing of concentrated and fresh juices, and essential oils.

Miguel Díaz-Canel also visited the Lenin Agricultural Enterprise, one of the main productive poles of the province, and the Suchel-Jovel Enterprise, both located in the municipality of Jovellanos; and held a meeting with representatives of educational training centers.


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