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New ways of linking government with the people

Gobierno puebloWhat does electronic government mean to Cubans? This term, which is part of the country’s computerization policy, has been a premise for some years, and saw significant advances in 2018.

Broadly speaking, it is the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to provide services and information to citizens, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public administration, and boost citizen participation.

The country’s leadership is promoting and strictly following this process. President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, has offered directives on the subject on multiple occasions, one of the most recent being the 2018 report on the work of the Ministry of Communications, where he commented that to achieve the real computerization of society, that includes all aspects of life, more attention must be paid to the development of such processes.

Referring to the example of electronic government, Díaz-Canel stated: “We cannot settle for the existence of websites and platforms alone; all agencies and institutions must computerize their processes, both those related to their own work, and those directed toward the population.”

The main impact is on necessary procedures to meet the needs of the people, added the President. We cannot focus solely on state entities attached to the Ministry, he stressed, but its scope as a governing body, providing support to develop processes and solve problems in this field to any agency.

In accordance with this strategic policy, February 24, the official website of the Presidency of Cuba was launched, where contents related to the Cuban government will be published at:

This platform will allow citizens to view the latest updates on Councils of State and Ministers meetings, as well as tweets from leading authorities.

First Deputy Minister of Communications, Wilfredo González Vidal, explained that, “We are in a moment of fulfillment of the first stage of electronic government in Cuba, that of presence.”

This process covers four stages: Presence, Interaction, Transaction and Transformation; each with easily identifiable elements that mark the goals and progress of government management using ICT, Ministry of Communications officials explained.

Today, all agencies, Central State Administration Bodies (OACE), and territorial governments (at the provincial level and the Isle of Youth Special Municipality), have an institutional web portal.

However, complex elements concerning both form and content have arisen in the implementation of this policy, and work is ongoing to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of 2019, this stage is declared complete.

In the second stage, communication and exchange mechanisms with users will be implemented, increasing the level of interaction, with the aim of facilitating procedures.

The transaction stage will guarantee online procedures and services, as well as the users’ simultaneous interaction with the government. Some of the key points of this stage are the possibility of users’ customization of portals, providing direct benefits such as personalization and notifications; sending information to registered users via email, text messages and electronic bulletins; the online submission of necessary forms for the services and procedures that each agency or entity offers, among others.

The fourth and final stage should lead to a change in the thought and actions of citizens and organizations, with government interaction through ICT raised to a higher level.

It is important to mention that achieving the first stage and then advancing through the other three represents a challenge not only in terms of infrastructure and ICT platforms, but also in terms of optimizing the internal management of state entities and the logistics to ensure compliance with that administration, specialists noted.


The Computer Applications Company (DESOFT) has drawn up a work strategy that allows each provincial government to have a web portal to inform and interact with citizens, Elena Real Castro, company director in Pinar del Río, explained to Granma.

“This territory was at the forefront in this area, and it was decided to share the experience, since all provinces are part of the same government structure, in order to achieve standardization of the concept and work system,” she added.

In fact, the web portal of the Provincial Assembly of Pinar del Río, the Citizens’ Portal, was selected as a Champion Project by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and is up for one of its 2019 prizes.

The website was among the five most voted for projects in the category “The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development.”

The Granma Division of DESOFT contributed the Delegate Management System to this great project, an application put into operation several years ago in that provincial government, which is now incorporated into all provincial portals.

More than 30 enterprises subordinated to Provincial Administration Councils have a presence in each of these public portals, informing, guiding, facilitating procedures and services, and encouraging citizen participation.

Elena Real Castro emphasized that the Delegate Management System is a package of four modules that facilitate the recording and control of all possible proposals, complaints and requests made by citizens, allowing for ongoing monitoring of issues by all authorities involved.

“Both the System and the provincial portals are connected to each other, and the integration of both solutions offers the possibility of obtaining information regarding the proposals made to delegates in their accountability and consultation processes. This encourages a closer government relationship with citizens and greater transparency in their administration,” she explained.

Three key players work to ensure the success of this project, the Pinar del Río director noted. Firstly, the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) guarantees completely independent technological infrastructure, with security, availability, protection and backup of all the information that is handled.

Based on this technological infrastructure, DESOFT, using the virtual environment provided by ETECSA, provides governments with a technological platform, using a series of principles that offers the software as services, such that the use of these applications is characterized by the low-cost investments required, easy access, transparency, reliability, availability, interactivity, scalability, personalization, security and publicity, as Elena Real Castro explained.

As a third actor, and the main promoter of the project, the provincial government and its entities participate in order to incorporate citizens at the center of the transformations underway, making this environment increasingly inclusive. The provincial government is also responsible for ensuring the updating of the portal contents, and fostering a closer relationship with citizens and greater transparency in its administration.


Cuba’s Union of Computer Scientists (UIC) also plays a key role in the development of electronic government in Cuba. Given its cross-cutting nature, this organization that brings together computer and electronic specialists and those of other related specialties, has the opportunity to contribute “from the bottom up,” as its Vice President, Tatiana Delgado, noted.

This means, she added, supporting the training of local governments to understand the use and role of ICT in bringing them closer to citizens.

On the other hand, methodologies are shared to ensure a feasible process through the platforms and, above all, the services that can be generated to improve citizens’ quality of life. This process is also supported by evaluation tools and indicator systems, since it is of great interest to the UIC to stimulate innovation at the local level.

The Vice President of the organization referred to the huge role young computer sciences graduates can play in this process, by taking advantage of and putting into practice the knowledge acquired during their studies at different educational centers.

All these activities, Tatiana Delgado highlighted, are being carried out within an articulated platform for comprehensive territorial development, a framework project directed by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, of which the UIC is one of the associated national organizations.

“We have support from local governments and development groups, as well as from many entities. Together we act in accordance with this objective,” she explained.


The “Cuban Website Monitor” is a computer platform that diagnoses the status of a group of variables and properties that must be taken into account in the development and administration of websites, to ensure better positioning in search engines, and thus greater content visibility, explained Ariagna González Landeiro, deputy director of Special Projects at the University of Computer Sciences (UCI).

Under this premise, the UCI has used the monitor in the implementation of the e-government presence stage, as a working tool that has provided systematic monitoring of Cuban websites.

“The results of the evaluations carried out on the websites have been shared at different times with the different territories, agencies and entities of the country,” González reported.

This tool has facilitated the grouping of Cuban digital spaces according to the province and the agencies to which they belong, fostering a specialized analysis in each case and as such, through exchanges, training, and advice on the use and positioning of websites, has helped identify a series of good practices adjusted to the characteristics of each entity, she added.


There are still many challenges ahead this 2019. In the case of DESOFT, the company will continue working on the support, updating, maintenance, and technical stability of the e-government project, as well as the creation of municipal portals along the same lines as the provincial sites, maintaining the principles of scalability, interoperability, and security, among other requirements that were taken into account from the presence stage.

The integration of citizens’ portals into the Management System for the Electronic Programming Guide, E-progTv, developed for the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, within the framework of Digital Television projects, is a task that will allow the population to access updated television programming schedules, including those of local channels, explained Elena Real Castro.

Deputy Minister Wilfredo González Vidal noted that work is focused on three lines, to systematically evaluate the access level and use of these portals by the population, which must maintain updated information and digital services for citizens, by reviewing their visibility, quality, and availability.

In addition, entities must organize user assistance processes, and respond to the population through the new digital communication means fostered by these portals, for which measures must be established that promote appropriate use.

Likewise, a work system must be organized or articulated with the main actors of the entity or territory in question, to keep citizens systematically informed of all of the government’s work, including the possibility of offering digital services. “That is, we must modernize public administration, offering services and encouraging the participation of citizens in these processes, as an exercise of transparency with the population,” the deputy minister stressed.

An example of the above is the new website of the Ministry of Justice at:, which already offers online services related to criminal records, last will and testaments, and declarations of heirship.

“I believe that we have created the minimum conditions for the easiest stage, that of presence, but now it is necessary to continue working hard to computerize the internal and external processes of organizations, to give these government portals use value, and so that citizens feel the need and identify with these portals based on how up-to-date and useful the information and services they offer are,” concluded Wilfredo González Vidal.




Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez

Salvador Valdés Mesa
First Vice President

Ramiro Valdés Menéndez
Vice President

Inés María Chapman Waugh
Vice President

Ulises Rosales del Toro
Vice President

Roberto Morales Ojeda
Vice President

Meisi Bolaños Weiss
Minister of Finance and Prices

Alfredo López Valdés
Minister of Industry

Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella
Minister of Education

Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila
Minister of Transport

Iris Quiñones Rojas
Minister of Food Industry

René Mesa Villafaña
Minister of Construction

Irma Martínez Castrillón
Minister-President of the Central Bank of Cuba

José Angel Portal Miranda
Minister of Public Health

Oscar Silvera
Minister of Justice

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Foreign Minister

Manuel Marrero Cruz
Minister of Tourism

Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero
Minister of Agriculture

Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya
Minister of Science, Technology and Environment

Alfonso Noya Martínez
President of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT)

Margarita Marilene González Fernández
Minister of Labor and Social Security

Antonio Rodríguez Rodríguez
President of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources

Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz
Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment

Betsy Díaz Velázquez
Minister of Domestic Trade

Alejandro Gil Fernández
Minister of Economy and Planning

José Ramón Saborido Loidi
Minister of Higher Education

Raúl García Barreiro
Minister of Energy and Mines

Jorge Luis Perdomo
Minister of Communications

Alpidio Alonso Grau
Minister of Culture

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