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Taking advantage of national industry and its potential

Cuba biofarmaWe are going to better consolidate, advance, and defend national industry, import less,” stated Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on May 28, during a Council of Ministers meeting, in which the highest leadership of the Party and government in all provinces and municipalities participated via videoconference, according to reports on the Cuban Presidency’s website.

Referring to the national business fair held at ExpoCuba, he said, the event provided evidence that anything can be done in the country when we put our minds to it, and that, at times, we are not even aware of the products manufactured by our own enterprises.

The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers made these comments during a detailed analysis of the main indicators available regarding progress on the 2019 Economic Plan, as of the end of April.

Presenting the report was Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil Fernández, who explained that more than 450,000 tourists had arrived in April, representing 13% growth over the same period last year, although planned levels of economic activity in this sector are not being reached.

On the other hand, he reported that of the 167 investment projects which were expected to be at least partially ready at this point, only 53 have been completed. Among the projects underway, he mentioned the Multipurpose Terminal in Santiago de Cuba; more than 19 kilometers of water networks and 13 of conduits, to improve service; the repair of 16 railroad trains that will make available to the country 1,770 tons of cargo capacity, and transportation for some 14,000 passengers.

He insisted that analyses of these issues must be increasingly rigorous, to develop real understanding of the costs the country must assume, and the impact on plans, when projected investments are not completed.

The President stated that, given the shortages of high-demand products seen in the first four months of the year, resources have been allocated for imports of food for the population and animal feed, which should allow for a greater presence of some products, like cooking oil, on store shelves.

Given tensions with the supply of chicken and sausage, a series of temporary measures have been adopted by the government, including regulated sales. Likewise, resources within the plan have been re-distributed to support greater production and imports of food, medications, and other essential items.

Iris Quiñones Rojas, minister of Food Industry, noted that basic supplies are available for food processors, including bakeries, as well as for special summer commercial plans.

We have conducted a detailed analysis of the principle challenges to meeting the Plan, Díaz-Canel said, and now follow-up attention must be provided, and information made available to the population regarding prospects for an improved situation in terms of supplies and production.

He stated that the non-state sector must also be included in analyses of the Plan, so we understand and can evaluate its contribution and relationship to the state sector, among other elements.


During the meeting, the Council of Ministers approved the General Urban Plan for the town of Viñales, located in the province of Pinar del Río, presented by Samuel Rodiles Planas, president of the Institute of Physical Planning.

It is a model of urban planning that prioritizes the recuperation, conservation, and promotion of the values ​​of this unique site, recognized as a National Monument since 1979 and declared a Cultural Landscape of Humanity in 1999.

Given the town’s potential, the urban plan guarantees orderly development from the functional, structural, morphological, and environmental points of view; responding to the needs of the population through adequate zoning to establish appropriate use of the town’s distinguishing tangible and intangible natural and cultural features; and which is consistent with a commitment to protection and conservation of heritage.

Presidente Díaz-Canel described the plan as a good one, recalling comments made by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, when he referred to the importance of ensuring that the unique natural attractions of Viñales not be destroyed, to which the implementation of this plan will surely contribute.


Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, presented a report on foreign investment, the use of external credits, and exports by the Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Industries Enterprise Group (BioCubaFarma), a priority for the country’s development, and in which significant progress is needed, as regards these issues.

He emphasized that this is an industry with great social impact, in sectors such as public health, agriculture, and tourism, in which steps are being taken to enhance the participation of foreign capital as a means to promote development.

As a result of actions carried out, he stated, the joint venture Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance was established in the Mariel Special Development Zone, focused on research, development, and distribution of innovative Cuban medicines for the benefit of cancer patients. Other projects have also been identified to develop with foreign capital, which are in different stages of negotiation and identification of potential partners.

He pointed out that measures taken by the U.S. government, to tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade, complicate the acquisition of external financing, which affects our ability to meet internal and external demand for BioCubaFarma products and services, in a timely fashion, and with the required quality.

Malmierca recalled that, in December of 2018, the Comprehensive Strategy for the Export of Goods and Services was approved, in which the main lines of BioCubaFarma’s work were defined, including the preparation of a financial strategy to ensure access to resources to obtain raw materials on time, in the amounts required; the promotion of investments in the industry with preference given the Mariel Special Development Zone; and increasing investment and new products, among other tasks.

The sector was recognized as exemplary in the use of human capital as a means to create innovative products and services that generate income, attract know-how and capital, without selling the country. In addition, the importance of generating productive chains and promoting the development of other activities was emphasized.

Eduardo Martínez Díaz, president of BioCubaFarma, explained that in recent years exports have increased, while a greater effort is being made to diversify markets. He also explained that one of the strengths that currently distinguishes the sector, and that can support increased exports, lies in devloping innovative products, unique worldwide, that can solve problems associated with the main causes of death such as cancer and cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases.

The President of the Councils of State and Ministers praised the contribution of BioCubaFarma to increasing the country’s exports, now called upon to diversify its markets and products.


Gladys Bejerano Portela, Comptroller General of the Republic, reported two events with apparently criminal characteristics. The first, she said, was related to the payment of wage bonuses to managers and workers without productive backing, with fraudulent certification issued that did not reflect the company’s actual results.

In this regard, the Comptroller General drew attention to the need to constantly review the legitimacy and accuracy of accounting operations, especially in enterprises that surpass plans by unexpected, wide margins, as well as those which do not meet projections.

A second incident, she noted, was related to ethical behavior, with evidence revealed that a property owned by a state enterprise was occupied as a dwelling, with no formal change of use recorded or required documentation completed, indicating misappropriation of state resources or assets.

She emphasized that both events reveal weaknesses in the functioning of collegiate management and advisory bodies, which can lead to the adoption of decisions that exceed the authority of a given position.

The Comptroller insisted that we must learn from these experiences, while stressing the importance of strengthening internal accounting systems, discipline, and the planning of work, while sharpening cadres’ management skills to avoid administrative corruption.


A summary of the scientific and technological potential of GeoCuba to generate geospatial information, and develop related computer platforms, was presented by the general director of the enterprise group, Eladio Fernández Cívico.

Several projects have been successfully completed by the 12 companies in the group, related to areas as diverse as geodetic and spatial remote sensing, aero-cartographic surveys, modeling of surfaces in 3D technology, and marine studies.

On the basis of remote sensing technologies, services have been developed, such as aerial monitoring of disasters and technical networks; surveys of road conditions and defects in works; and documentation, he reported.

Among the projects that have been developed jointly with the most diverse sectors and organizations, noted as outstanding was the Information System of the National Property Register (Siscat), which allows for the management of data and descriptions of urban and rural real estate.

The Minister of Science, Technology, and Environment, Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, noted that the GeoCuba Group exemplifies progress being made in closing the research cycle without neglecting the training of human resources, demonstrating a very fluid relationship with universities.

On this subject, President Díaz-Canel highlighted the value of GeoCuba’s computer platforms, which can be applied in different scenarios by ministries, institutions, and enterprises, contributing significantly to the computerization of Cuban society.

(Information from

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