In Cuba they seek to get ahead: they face two pandemics (+ Photos)

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By Lázaro David Najarro Pujol / Collaborator.

May, 2020.- From the sugarcane fields to the tippers of the Cuban sugar mills, thousands of men and women support the country in the midst of two great challenges: the confrontation with the coronavirus COVID-19 and the most extensive economic, commercial and financial blockade. of humanity, imposed by the United States government on the largest of the Antilles, a fence that lasts more than 60 years.

Men and women who are convinced that to avoid the spread of the virus they must comply with all the measures ordered by the Ministry of Public Health and the highest authorities in the country, also aware that the production of grain is one of the unavoidable tasks that they cannot be paralyzed.

To guarantee the health of workers, the Azcuba Sugar Group implemented 55 measures, with the aim of continuing the harvest, but above all, guaranteeing the protection of the health of the workers, from the fields to the mill. In addition, keep a close watch on vulnerable people.

Data published by the Granma newspaper illustrate that more than four thousand Azcuba facilities implement all protection measures and that some three thousand people are controlled to prevent or detect any case of infection with the disease.

The publication reveals that “to date only six of the workers in the sector have been infected by the new coronavirus, but none belongs to the sugar mills, which guarantees compliance and the effectiveness of all the measures applied there.”

Julio Andrés García Pérez, president of the Azcuba business group, pointed out in an informative program on Cuban television that agro-industrial sugar production has focused on the internal economy, without neglecting exports.

«Currently, the Azcuba group works to secure the internal economy. Refining, crude and alcohols are insured until December ». He added that regarding exports, appreciated from the favorable price that sugar is having this year in the market, the aspirations are to fulfill the income to the country’s central financing fund and, from that point of view, not to cause major damages.

He acknowledged that “this year we will not meet the sugar harvest, which ends this month, but we do intend to contribute to the country’s income from exports.”

The economic, commercial and financial blockade is the main economic affectation of Cuba. COVID-19 greatly affects the country’s economy, but the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government on the largest of the Antilles, more than 60 years ago, represents the greatest challenge not only for the sugar cane sector -sugar bowl but for Cuban society.

More than two months have passed, when in early March, the first COVID-19 patients were diagnosed on the island and the government authorities immediately called for social distancing.

The essential measures were adopted in an exceptional situation in the face of a pandemic that currently affects more than 98 percent of the world’s nations.

Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (Mincex) announced on television that “the Cuban economy, like the rest of the world, will see the negative effects of the pandemic.”

To the prejudices of COVID-19 is added the escalation by the current administration of the United States of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, which constitutes the main monetary deterioration.

Rodrigo Malmierca reasoned: «There are foods that we need, which have had a significant price increase in the international market. Each country seeks to protect its people from shortages.

The Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment said that «Cuba does not renounce its right to develop economically and socially. We will continue working, without crossing our arms, despite the difficulties ».

Malmierca assured: «We are not on the verge of a new special period (economic crisis). Our economy is more prepared than it was in the 90s. ”

He emphasized the island’s successes in the biopharmaceutical industry with the export of Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha-2b, of proven effectiveness for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, and that thousands of Cuban health professionals provide medical assistance in more from 20 countries.

“That solidarity philosophy of ours faces ruthless neoliberalism,” said Malmierca.

“In the first months of this year, new projects have been approved for more than $ 600 million of committed capital, and others are being negotiated, worth more than $ 1 billion,” he said.

Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba stated: «We are living in difficult times, in which an unprecedented pandemic joins the archaic blockade of the United States, which intensifies every day, despite the complex circumstances. In this context, Cuba seriously faces the negative effects of these two evils. ” (Author’s photos).(Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez)
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