Natalia Guevara Cruz

Natalia Guevara Cruz

Census: delays and setbacks

The September 15 marked one year after the country started the eighteenth Population and Housing Census. This far after and still all conclusive results of this important research, expected for last July haven’t been released. In a recent Cabinet meeting led by President Raul Castro it was announced that according to the final results of Census 2012, the Cuban population is 11,167,325 inhabitants, although the website of the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI) lowers that figure to 11,163,934. But if regarding the timetable established for the Census information is experiencing delays- the site states that the 2012 Statistical Yearbook of Cuba is finishing its processing-the figure reported indicate a setback in terms of population density, about 10,418 people less than in the 2002Population and Housing Census. Eleven million and counting down 11 million Cubans! For having repeated the figure in so many speeches, slogans, information, and even in colloquial language, the number seems to have been attached to the adjective, as another element of national identity itself. This is the case since 2002, when the Census of Population and Housing found out that we had reached that figure. And it is not only too quickly get used to...

Changes cancer in Cuba

Cancer in Cuba has generated much talk this year: in the last quarter it was announced the registration of Racotumomab (Vaxira), second vaccine against lung cancer, the result of the work of the Centre Molecular Immunology (CIM); it was announced the development in the laboratory of a promising new drug by Labiofam that, unlike cytostatic drugs attack malignant cells only (one antitumor peptide) and we learned that the above condition has surpassed cardiovascular diseases as the first cause of death in our country, accounting for 25% of all deaths. The latter information could be generating even some concern, from concluding that it is a growing evil, and it seems contradictory to bind it with both news above which are unquestionably positive. However, if we analyze all the factors that influence the hierarchical displacement of the cause of mortality (more associated with a rise in the control of cardiovascular disease, than of cancer deaths) and if we value the strengths of our biotechnology industry, we would be relieved to understand that we are not against an irrepressible aggression from nature. This was reaffirmed to OnCuba by doctor Teresa Romero, Head of the Independent Section of Cancer Control, Ministry of Public Health,...

New objects, more goals?

Until a few weeks in Cuba many services and goods that could have found interested customers, willing to pay for them, they would never be available or become a source of income. The margins of the rules which consigned the "social purpose" of a company or an entity were too strict to be changed. The "raison d'être" of a corporation, limited the use of its resources to a small number of basic functions that were not only mandatory, but of exclusive compliance. So, an institution dedicated to no matter what, but with a conditioned space for recreational activities, for example, could not agree to rent it because it was hardly included in their "social purpose" if it didn’t belong to the Trade service company. The repair shop that once met the needs of particular entity which is not running anymore was not allowed to charge for services to third parties and thus have additional income because its sole mission was to meet the demands of that business, and nothing more. Not only should it resign to miss opportunities to be useful, but passively observe the depreciation of a machine or a service required by potential customers. A printing company that...

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The second boom of appliances

The "update the Cuban economic model", a phrase that has almost become a legitimate label for all economic and social changes occurred in Cuba in the last two years, has opened in the national journalism a highly contrasting line: the same is included in it such important issues as openness to new ways of management and ownership, changes in immigration policy, and attention to aging population, which "elementary" measures as free selling of hygiene and sanitation products in national currency, the ability to access bank loans by individuals, or approval for unrestricted transfer ownership of a home or personal vehicle. The latest example of that high contrast between high strategy and tactics decisions is the Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 14, dated May 20, which contains the Resolution 143 of the General Customs of the Republic, referring to authorize importation by natural persons of appliances, and 134 of the Ministry of Economy and Planning, regarding the flexibility of corporate social purposes. While both were published in the same edition of the Gazette, it corresponds to discuss today the one from the General Customs of the Republic. It turns out that in less than a couple of years, the acquisition of household...

Will vendors low prices of agricultural products?

To say that the price of a particular good "is extremely high" is an undisputable fact: its exchange value is so high that it becomes unaffordable for a majority. However, in the case of agricultural products, a more proper expression would be "the price is like the ones of the wheelbarrows", which defines not only one of the ways this products have been marketed for a while, but rather its high standard price, as if there were a trade union of these vendors. After being passed among the new self-employment alternative at the end of 2010, the figure of the wheel barrower has emerged as one of the most frequent targets of the consumers´ dissatisfaction, who do not accept that a kilogram "of whatever" could cost three times its actual price in a market, only for being transported by wheelbarrow. Supposedly, this " is justified" by the fact that agro products vendors add the service of bringing the good to the door of the house to the price of the product, but in practice, we know that they have turned their carts into small markets (some wheelbarrows are almost trailers, roofed and with several floors) in semi-static stalls placed in...

Cooperatives or cooperation

How to create a food service cooperative in Cuba when it implies that the members of this association have, as a collective property, an estate and equipment which are difficult to acquire? In a nation where essential is the widespread possession style, how would we discard it and put it in the hands of a company that could succeed, but also fail? And even assuming we are to hand them this, will it be sufficient?

New tones for the beneficial ownership of ground

The concern of governments for producing food in national soil is not something exclusive to the Cuban one. Of course not. Just that, for a country that with very little aspires to do much, it is imperative to minimize imports of things that, along with oil, every day reach a new price peak on the international markets. That's why, as part of the update of the Cuban economic model, the agriculture sector must take on the most important changes in order to achieve high productivity levels.

And, what about the regulations?

While the Cuban Parliament meets in its year-end session, three important regulations have come into force in the week December 9-15. These are the Decree-Law 300, amending the previous 259, which refers to the granting of idle land in usufruct, and two even more momentous ones related transcendent to the gradual and experimental creation and operations of non-agricultural agricultural cooperatives, numbered 305 and 306.

The cooperative leaves the countryside

In this 2012 International Year of Cooperatives, as declared by the United Nations, Cuba announced how it plans to boost and spread, as an experiment in a first phase, this form of ownership so far only allowed in the agricultural sector, and due to the fact that cooperatives are, in essence, more social than other non-state forms of management, they will be encouraged, according to official sources.

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