Susana Alfonso Tamayo

Susana Alfonso Tamayo

Foto: Susana Alfonso Tamayo

The man in the Whizzer

More than seven decades after its inception, Whizzer rides Cuban streets. It is not a famous person, but a moped, powered by the American company Breene-Taylor Engineering Corporation in the first half of last century and widely used in the period of the Second World War and after this. Arguably, the brand was the first to employ auxiliary engines for bicycles, mopeds because while the first begin to appear after the conflagration, this achieved great success during the wartime period. Various sources report that they could travel nearly 200 km with one liter of petrol. Today, on board these old pieces, members of the Whizzer Club arouse the curiosity of those who see them go by. For Elvis Perez Hernandez, a member of the club and founder of one subsidiary in the province of Artemisa, the essence of the group is in the rescue and conservation of these engines and restore utility to not only be able to use them as transportation, but also provide or enrich the culture of the population regarding the Whizzer. On their qualities, Elvis expands: "They are very affordable and adaptable. They spend little gasoline and break infrequently. I understand that here, many years ago,...

What paths lead to ZEDM?

Projects for industry, agribusiness, renewable energy and biotechnology, are included in the portfolio of opportunities offered by Special Zone Development Mariel (ZEDM). Speaking to reporters at the launch of the ZEDM at the International Fair of Havana, Ana Teresa Igarza, general director of its Office, said they have received offers from companies from 36 countries, such as Spain, Italy, France, Russia Netherlands, Canada, Brazil and China. Investment proposals could begin to materialize at the end of this year or early next, the sector A, developed in the early stage of the project. This covers about 43 square kilometers- 9% of the total ZEDM- and has been divided into 11 areas for better utilization, including those involved in port activities, oil, transport and agricultural development. Opportunities for industry and agribusiness The agribusiness and industry include 15 offers seeking new assembly plants with state-of-art and clean technology, or the creation of companies for the production for both the domestic and the foreign market. In many cases the main objective is import substitution. One of them, with estimated investment amount of $ 70 million, would have the task of replacing imports of glass containers for beverages, medicines and canned foods at levels that...

Lariel Laza Cardenas, a member of the Cuban medical mission in Sierra Leone / Photo courtesy of the interviewee

A Cuban in Sierra Leone

I wrote to Lariel Laza Cardenas as soon I had a PC in front. I introduced myself as a journalist and asked a few questions: the answer soon traveled from Sierra Leone to my screen. He is a native of the Artemisa municipality of Bahia Honda and has practiced nursing for a decade, a path that he had not planned on walking: "Really I chose it because I did not get Medicine, but during the studies I had very good teachers who taught me to love the profession”. That love led him to apply the theory in everyday practice at the José Ramón Martínez hospital, in the municipality of Guanajay and even beyond national borders, because in January 2011 he left for Jamaica, where he remained for three years in internationalist medical missions. A few months after his return, when they announced the need to incorporate Cuban doctors in the battle against Ebola virus being waged in Africa, he went to Sierra Leone. About his motivations to volunteer, he said: "I wanted to experience what the job is during an epidemic and help those who suffer from a condition in appalling conditions." The comments about the danger involved a task...

Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel

The Special Development Zone Mariel from within

After working two years in the Special Development Zone Mariel (ZEDM) Yasmany Cruz Garcia has purchased several appliances and other small things that contribute to a better quality of life. Although he is just an ironworker in DINVAI, his salary is higher than most professionals outside the ZEDM, not only in the province but throughout the country: an average of 500 pesos and 50 CUC a month, figures that vary depending on the work plan. As Yasmany, over 1,500 Artemisa people related to different areas of ZEDM found material and professional satisfaction in a place that has been established as one with the best and the most coveted jobs in the region. Among new experiences and opportunities Yanset Hernández Cruz, graduated as Bachelor in Civil Construction Technician, at only 23, has gone a comparable way to the work of any experienced engineer. She joined the project immediately after completing her studies and moved through its various areas, including the construction of a bridge of reinforced soil-first of its kind in Cuba and in the arrangement of the container yard, the foundation, which the RTG cranes move over. Yanset has been head of group in the former International Economic Association (IEA),...

Cooperativas no agropecuarias

Cooperativism and foreign investments

After more than a year from the approval of two decree laws and several resolutions that would open up the way for the creation of cooperatives outside the agricultural sector, and given their presence in a context of transformations in the Cuban economic and social policy, OnCuba offers an approach to possible links among non-agricultural cooperatives and the new Foreign Investment Law, by PhD. Hugo Pons Duarte, assessor to the President of the National Association of Cuban Economists and Accountants (ANEC by its acronym in Spanish). What elements have marked the progress of non-agricultural cooperatives in the country? There are about 500 non-agricultural cooperatives all over the country (Pinar del Río, Matanzas, Santiago, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus and Artemisa) in fields such as: construction, transport, and several kinds of services, which are necessary supplements for achieving efficiency nationwide. The process, initially developed with an experimental character and then gradually consolidated, aims at complying with seven principles of international cooperativism. In addition, despite its antecedents in the capitalist system between the 18th and 19th centuries, this organization was inserted in Cuba in the context of the socialist economy. We have studied the experiences of many nations regarding the implementation of cooperatives, their...