Published on 4 September 2015 by Cuban News Agency


The average monthly salary in Cuba reported a significant 24-percent increase in 2014 with respect to the previous years, particularly for sugar workers, according to an article published on Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

While the general monthly average salary grew to 584 pesos (some 24,3 US dollars at current exchange), compared to 471 pesos (some 19,6 dollars) in 2013, the sugar sector reported an average 963 pesos (some 40.1 dollars) a month.

This salary raise was particularly due to the increase in the health sector, which employs over 400 thousand workers, as well as in some sports areas and in the foreign investment sector, meaning workers employed by companies operating with foreign capital, as part of a policy to gradually raise the salaries of state workers, the article explains and cites the National Statistics Office data on its Employment and Salary chapter.

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Published on 31 August 2015 by Granma


A 16-strong Cuban medical brigade including doctors, nurses and epidemiologists, together with three construction engineers and two electrical engineers, left for the Commonwealth of Dominica this Monday, where they will join the efforts to assist the victims of Tropical Storm Erika.

Shortly after 7.00 a.m., the Aero Caribbean ATR 72 aircraft took off from the Jose Martí International Airport in Havana, carrying 1.2 tons of medicines, supplies and disposable materials for assistive care, together with the personnel.

Dr. Norberto Ramos, leading the brigade, stated that the team who will attend to the population in disaster areas following the onslaught of the tropical storm had been put together in just 12 hours.

He noted that among those leaving for Dominica are specialists who traveled to West Africa earlier this year to combat Ebola, as well as the earthquakes in Chile and Nepal.

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Published on 23 August by Jamaica Observer

Cuba Jamaica

A senior Cuban biochemist attached to Cuba's largest biotechnology institute has reached out to Jamaica in an effort to save the struggling country millions of dollars and simultaneously improve health care for its people.

Leading Cuban biochemist, Dr Manuel Raices Perez-Castaneda, Business Development Executive at Cuba's Center for Generic Engineering and Biotechnology, said that Jamaica was so near, yet appeared to be far away from engaging Cuba in ways that it can improve health care to hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans who suffer from various ailments.

"For a long time we have had cooperation in health care with Jamaica, and even now we have a permanent medical brigade in your country," Perez-Castaneda told the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview at his organisation's offices here.

"But cooperation could be better between us. The first thing is for Jamaica, it will be a win-win situation, and personally, I get the feeling that this message is not clear.

"When you are talking about introducing knowledgeable therapists who are not in Jamaica, could be sent there, one of the things people think about is how expensive it could be in an economic scenario -- introducing new therapists that can be costly, and it's not clear of the impact that will be derived. We have an answer for that.

"When you look at health as an expense, you start making a mistake, and I am not talking about Jamaica alone. This is the first mistake a country can make, because in health you do not spend, you invest," Dr Perez-Castaneda said.

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Published on 11 August 2015 by Granma


A Cuban medication to treat chronic hepatitis B, HeberNasvac, created by scientists at the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB), is currently undergoing clinical trials in collaboration with the French company Abivax.

The product has been undergoing safety and efficacy tests for several years, stated a CIGB specialist.

According to Iris Lugo Carro, the clinical trials being carried out by Cuban scientists and Abivax - involving 230 patients from eight Asian countries, and the participation of 50 clinical centers - are being realized under regulation ABX 203.

To date, the study has been approved by the regulatory authorities of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand.

The trials were designed by high-level sector experts contracted by Abivax, in collaboration with Cuban scientists.

Satisfactory progress is being made in the investigation being carried out in this region of the world, where Hepatitis B prevalence is highest.

The chronic liver disease, caused by the hepatitis B (HBV) virus, is one of  the principal causes of liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and other illnesses such as ascites, esophageal varices, splenomegaly, all with high mortality rates.

HBV causes almost one million deaths every year, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Published on 18 August 2015 by Granma

ELAM students

Young Africans Yannick, Joëllevie, Lindokuhle, Thatonatsi, Darions and Abdoulaye, are grateful to Cuba for having welcomed them to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), which has graduated over 24,000 health professionals from 84 countries during its 16 years of existence.

Yannick Alban Joseph, aged 24, from the Central African Republic, tells of the internal conflicts affecting his country, which prevented him from enrolling in a higher education institute on completing his pre-university level education, until his brother informed him of the scholarship to study in Cuba.

“I study medicine because I know that the people lacking economic resources in my city, Bangui, are not treated in hospitals and when I graduate I will help all patients, not because they can contribute financially, but to fulfill my ethical duty to save lives.”

Joëllevie Okombi, from Congo, comes from a family of six children. She always dreamt of being a doctor. “I like to see people happy and healthy. When I see someone suffering from an illness it really hurts me, doctors are professionals who help human beings.”

“The main obstacle,” Okombi adds, “has been the language. I speak French, but on arrival we began a Spanish course, today I have a good command of it and I have done well in my courses. The most satisfying area has been the visits to family doctor surgeries. They gave me the opportunity to relate to Cubans in the community, to discover what their everyday problems are. I would like to devote myself to family and community medicine.”

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Published on 19 August 2015 by Granma

Cuba recycling

Finding value in waste, recycling, contributing to import substitution, are some of the motivations of those working at the Artemisa Company for the Recovery of Raw Materials.

With the aim of selling recyclable waste, destined for the domestic industry and exports, the mission for the entity this year is to recover over 13,600 tons of raw materials. In the first half of the year, targets have been surpassed, with sales up 20% over plans.

“We process 16 products, which we divide between ferrous, non-ferrous and metal recyclable scraps; scrap steel and cast iron are the leaders,” Andrés Ayllón, deputy manager, highlights.

Rum and beer bottles, paper, cardboard, aluminum, copper, sacks, medicine bottles, lead batteries, scrap steeland cast iron, are the recyclables destined for the domestic industry, among others.

Meanwhile, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and electronic scraps are destined for export, marketed by the Equipment Dismantling Company.

“We search out the added value - mainly bronze, paper and cardboard, plastic, and copper, according to classification, among other things, that is, we buy, process, classify and, in certain cases, we press,” comments Ayllón.

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Published on 8 August 2015 by Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

The first Cuban medical brigade to Haiti arrived on Dec. 4, 1998, bringing relief in the aftermath of hurricane Georges. Since then cooperation has been uninterrupted and has had a decisive effect in this impoverished country, which in 2010 suffered an earthquake that killed 316,000 people, according to government figures, along with an ongoing cholera epidemic that has also claimed thousands of lives.

It’s Saturday, and the entrance hall of a police station in front of the busy market in Salomon in the Haitian capital has become an improvised health post. In a few minutes there is a long queue of people waiting to be seen by the Cuban medical brigade.

The police officer on duty said he was not authorized to speak to journalists, but the extent of police cooperation is obvious. The police stations’ tables and chairs are quickly lined up along the entrance hall to facilitate the work of La Renaissance hospital workers, who carry out preventive health work here once a week.

“We are a mobile clinic,” said Damarys Ávila, the head of La Renaissance hospital, which is staffed by the Cuban medical mission. “We check for high blood pressure, cataracts, pterygium (a benign tumour of the conjunctiva) and glaucoma,” she told IPS. “We send people with these conditions to the hospital.”

Women are the majority of those waiting in line. “Women have the highest rate of high blood pressure because they bear the greatest burden of labour. Then there are dietary factors, like eating too much hot, spicy food, refined flour and salt,” she said.

“Many people have their blood pressure taken here for the first time in their lives,” Ávila said.

On a tour of this unusual health post, where in a single morning 167 poor women and men receive attention, expressions of gratitude abound.

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Published on 10 August 2015 by Granma

Participants at the 6th Assembly of Caribbean Peoples, which took place in Main Camp in Curacao, approved a statement in which they demand that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, put an end to the economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba.

 Representatives of trade union, political, feminist, environmental, campesino and youth organizations from 12 countries of the area also called on Obama to return the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo to the Cuban people.

The Assembly recognized the material and human resources provided by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela to promote the wellbeing and socio-economic development of Caribbean countries, a project that began ten years ago thanks to the solidarity of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

Those attending also reiterated their support for Venezuela given attempts at internal destabilization and rejected the continued presence of colonial and neo-colonialism in the region, as well as imperialist oppression and intervention. They expressed support for the independence of Puerto Rico and the freedom of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

Participants stated their support for regional organizations such as ALBA-TCP, CARICOM and CELAC and committed themselves to continue to work towards further integration and peace across the continent.

Published on 26 July 2015 by Granma

26 July in Santiago

'Santiago has shown that, without losing its hospitality, it remains rebellious and heroic'

As the July 26 commemoration in Santiago concluded, after the central remarks made by José Ramón Machado Ventura, President Raúl Castro Ruz shared a few words. Machado Ventura recalled that the July 26 commemoration is held not only to honor the past, but to reaffirm that the heroic 1953 actions were not in vain, that the seeds sown have borne fruit.

“I could not pass through here without saying something to you. Three or four words. I am leaving confident and hopeful that Santiago will always continue to be Santiago,” said Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, as the commemoration of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons in Santiago concluded.

The event’s central remarks were presented by José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Party Central Committee, who recalled that on another July 26, our first thoughts are directed toward the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, whose life and work are closely tied to the heroic city of Santiago, which is celebrating its glorious 500 year history.

Machado Ventura recalled that the city has been the scene of many significant events which call for celebration, as well as reflection.

He evoked the memory of the original inhabitants of the island who confronted Spanish conquerors, and that of Africans who led slave rebellions at nearby copper mines. It is no accident, he recalled, that the province is also known by the name Guamá and that a monument to the rebel slave was erected in Cobre.

He added that the city is full of stories of the independence and revolutionary armies’ actions, and is considered the cradle of the Revolution, where the remains of Mariana Grajales, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, José Martí, Frank País rest, with those of many others who gave their lives to win independence, defend the country’s sovereignty, and contribute to the liberation of sister peoples around the world.

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