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Raúl, Díaz-Canel and Marrero visit Cuba’s strategic enclave ofthe Special Development Zone of Mariel

Raul Canel MarielThe First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, the President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel and the Prime Minister Manuel Marrero visited the Special Development Zone of Mariel, a strategic enclave for Cuba, located north of the province of Artemisa, 45 kilometers away from Havana, on the morning of Saturday December 12.

Touring the facilities for the first time in a long time, Raúl said he has been closely following the progress of the zone and expressed that “it grows by the day” and stressed the strategic importance of the Zone. He described it as a wonder, not only for Cuba, but also for the province of Artemisa. Likewise, he praised thegreat speed of the investments taking place in the enclave.

Raúl, Díaz-Caneland Marrero —accompanied by deputy prime ministers Ramiro Valdés Menéndez and Alejandro Gil Fernández, and directors of several organizations —received a detailed explanation of the investment process in the sectors established in the zone

Osvaldo Bravo Borrego,director general of the Company of Engineering Services for the Project Integrated Division said that a total of 733 hectares have been equipped with the necessary infrastructure for water, electricity, communication and other services since the second half of 2014. Also 317 kilometers of roads have been laid.

He also explained that over $ 3,000 million Cuban pesos have been invested since 2011.In 2020, despite the complex year due to the situation the country is going through, the zone is expected to fulfill the business plan, he added.

The executive offered details on each of the sectors they are currently working on; the incorporation of the national industry to the infrastructures of Mariel; and the dredging works in the bay, a matter of the utmost importance for the future of the Zone. In this sense, the Army General encouraged to continue the corresponding dredging works so the port can receive the super post-panamax ships, expected to arrive soon. According to some sources, these ships weight up to 130,000 tons, 366 meters of length, with a capacity for 13,500 containers and 16 meters of draft.

Bravo Borrego also spoke about the housing program in the QuiebraHacha settlement, which plans to build 716 apartments in its first stage, of which 146 are finished. The program is running well, he said and showed some images of the comfortable houses being provided to the community.

In the presentation to the highest authorities of the country, the director of the Office of the Special Development Zone of Mariel Ana Teresa Igarza Martínezexplained the development of the infrastructure and attracting investments have gone hand in hand since the foundation of the zone. Up to this date,55 businesses have established there: 31 are already in operation in major sectors such as the food industry, light and steel industry, construction, electronics, logistics, energy and finances and banking offices.

Over 11,700 jobs, both direct and indirect, have generated in the Special Zone, she said.

Igarza Martínez also stressed that, despite the US economic, financial and commercial blockade and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, work at the Special Zone has not stopped: neither the investment process nor the attracting of foreign investment. Several of the established companies have requested an expansion, which consolidates Mariel as a major enclave in the country, she said.

On these topics, the President of the Republic of Cuba commented how the economic impact of making business in the Special Zone is s starting to showin the Cuban enterprises, which can retain some of their liquidity for their self-development. However, this is in its initial stages and there are still some potential to explore.

The CEO of BioCubaFarma Eduardo Díaz Martínez provided details on the CIGB-Mariel Biotechnological Industry Complex, a research and industrial cluster 100% Cuban owned and that complies with the most rigorous rules of that sector in the world.

Martínez Díaz explained that the new plant will manufacture Cuban medicines such as Heberprot – P, with a new formulation based on the use of nanotechnology; a therapeutic recombinant vaccine for Hepatitis B, Heberferon for skin, brain and kidney cancer, which has also turned to be one of the most effective medicines to treat COVID-19; and Proctokinase, for the treatment of acute hemorrhoids. These modern facilities will also manufacture the future vaccine to treat the SARS-CoV-2.

The Army General said that the work of the Cuban biotechnology is very promising at the moment. He expressed that our scientists are aware of the role they will play in the future of Cuba. The country is giving them all the support now and in the future. The Army General also expressed that the more he listens about these topics, the more his admiration grows for Fidel.

The encouraging visit concluded with a tour of the ASection of the Special Development Zone, which included a visit to the Factory of disposable diapers and pantyliners of the Thai Binh Global Investment Corporation company, the first one from Vietnam to establish here.

Vi Nguyen, director, explained that the factory produces 120 million diapers and 240 million pantyliners a year. As the local demand grows, they are currently working in a second line of diapers and in a new line for wet wipes, which should be in operation next year.

Vi Nguyen explained that the factory has generated employment for 133 workers, most of them young women from the local community.

In his goodbye words, Raul said he was happy that the first Factory he visited in the Zone was one from Vietnam, a country with which Cuba recently celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations.

(Taken from Granma)

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