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In the face of adversity, Cuba turns to its strengths

canel conf `prensAmidst the battle Cuba is waging to control the expansion of Covid-19 in the country, the Council of Ministers, headed by President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, met, as they do every month, to make decisions on the economic and social life of the nation.

The highest body of the Cuban government approved the creation of a task force charged with developing new measures to strengthen efforts to combat the new coronavirus. The group includes heads of various ministries and is led by Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil Fernández.

Gil Fernández presented an initial assessment of the impact the pandemic will have on the Cuban economy. “It is not a matter of one geographical region, but of the entire world, with a decline in tourism, travel and consumption in many countries that is impacting production and employment,” he stated.

We are not talking about a matter of days, weeks or months, this will not be resolved in the short term, he said. “We must prepare to provide an organized, planned response, without improvisation, that will allow us to move forward.”

Gil Fernández, also Minister of Economy and Planning, explained that in the case of Cuba, income from exports, especially tourism, has already been affected, but other exportable lines are facing a decrease in demand and logistical problems on an international level, especially in terms of maritime and air cargo shipping.

(Source: Granma)

Difficulties in importing products are also emerging, given problems generated by the pandemic in producing countries; the devaluation of currencies with which the Cuban economy operates; and the impact on the productive levels of the state and non-state sector, and of foreign investment.

In addition to the hardship created by the Covid-19 pandemic, he denounced the U.S. blockade, with more than 300 measures imposed in recent months. There is no change, at this difficult time, he said, financial persecution of the island’s transactions and associates continues, as well as efforts to disrupt our fuel supply.

“We must focus on our strengths,” he said. “First, centralized planning, that gives us the ability to allocate material and financial resources where they are most needed and not where the market might direct them.”

“Here goods do not go where the highest price can be charged, nor where there is most demand; here resources are allocated according to the main priorities for the protection of the people,” he stated.

Other strengths we have, he said, include sovereignty in the management of budgetary resources; an inclusive social policy that calls on all economic actors to join in the solution of problems under the principle of thinking as a country; and experience gained in making adjustments to plans and budgets, given more than 60 years of blockade and economic aggression.

This is the basis on which new measures are being designed, he said, without any kind of improvisation. The situation is complex, which demands from us an organized and objective response to face this context, requiring more planning, carefully controlled implementation of measures, more rigorous compliance and more discipline on the part of economic actors.

Regarding new decisions made to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on Cuba, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said that economic and social arenas are being addressed as well, going beyond health-related work, and that strict compliance is needed with measures in these arenas, implementation of which the government will closely supervise.

He also referred to occasional disregard of government instructions to contain the dangerous disease, saying that enforcement must be reinforced, fundamentally by local governments, which must confront problems and support the National Revolutionary Police, since this battle is everyone’s.

Along these lines, Marrero spoke of the need to establish mechanisms to inform the population of possible fines and other sanctions that will be applied when regulations related to the Covid-19 battle are violated.


The country cannot halt its efforts to advance development despite the challenges presented by the health emergency. Thus the Council of Ministers also addressed other issues that impact the lives of Cubans.

On this occasion, the highest body of government approved a government plan for Prevention and Confrontation of Crime and Illegalities affecting Forests, Flora and Fauna, as well as other natural resources.

In this regard, the President of the Republic was emphatic in pointing out that there are illegalities that have been evident for some time, that have come to be considered normal, and have not been addressed. We are going to institute order in this arena, the President said, and have to “roll up our sleeves.”

Also approved by the Council of Ministers was a policy to improve the country’s system of copyright and other rights of a similar nature, which, it was explained, is governed by Article 62 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and allows for broad access to literary and artistic creation, combined with the recognition of creators for their work. Also updated were regulations on this subject, which date back three decades.

A Urban Planning plan for the city of Caibarién, located in the central province of Villa Clara and closely tied to tourist development on the area’s northern keys, was also adopted.

On another point, Minister of Finance and Prices Meisi Bolaños Weiss presented measures to strengthen accounting practices, which include the prioritization of accounting activity; training and preparation of cadres and technicians; and social recognition of these important professionals.

Among other topics, Minister of Transportation Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila presented a report on the Port -Transport -Internal Economy project, known as OPTEI, which is promoting the good practices with which this work was carried out for years under the direction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

In this important logistic process, he noted, there are objective shortcomings that will be resolved as financing and resources become available, but also others that involve better organization, discipline and control.

Related to these issues, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca reported on the impact of irregularities on foreign trade operations, an arena that is periodically reviewed by Council of Ministers.

Malmierca also presented an update on priority foreign investment projects. As of the end of 2019, he stated, 287 such businesses had been established on the island, mainly in the tourism and energy sectors.

In the first two months of this year, another six have been approved, showing the priority that Cuba gives to this modality, which is growing even amidst the economic battle being waged to confront intensification of the blockade and the activation of the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III.

Despite the aggression the Cuban economy must face, to which the Covid-19 battle is now added, the country is responding based on our strengths, leaving no one behind, a maxim that has always guided the Revolution.

(Source: Granma)

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