An aggression against US diplomats in Havana? A groundless story

The unbelievable story of US diplomats that would have suffered hearing loss and other health problems during their tour of duty in Cuba, was published by the media in August last year. The first of such alleged incidents dates back to November 2016 and the last one to only a few weeks ago.

However, to date there is no credible explanation for the variety of symptoms described, and experts deny that the laws of physics could even apply in some of the hypothesis stated.

The story, which seems a science fiction story, has been taken very seriously in Havana.

On instructions from the senior Government, the Cuban authorities opened their own investigation as soon as they were first notified of the alleged incidents by the US Embassy in Havana and by the US State Department on February 17, this year.

“According to the preliminary results and the information we’ve shared with the US authorities, there is no evidence so far that would confirm the causes or origin of the alleged health problems experienced by the US diplomats and their family members”, stated a familiar source with the Cuban investigation.

The US investigations do not shed any light into the story either. Members of the US specialized agencies were invited to Cuba to conduct an on-site investigation, but the results have not been conclusive. “The truth is that we don’t know what or who have caused this”, acknowledged a spokesperson with the US Department of State, Heather Nauert. “This is why the investigation is still ongoing”.

The complexity of the investigation and the perplexity of the experts have not prevented some from trying to point at Cuba as the nation responsible, as they also try to reverse the progress achieved in the US-Cuba bilateral relations that has been taking place as from December 17, 2014.

Marco Rubio, a senator of Cuban-origin and a hardliner against any rapprochement with Havana, sent a letter recently to the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, requesting the expulsion of all Cuban diplomats from Washington D.C. and the eventual closing of the US Embassy in Havana as retaliation for the alleged “sonic attacks” that would have caused the health problems to the US officials in Cuba.

However, the letter signed also by the Republican senators Tom Cotton, Richard Burr, John Cornyn and James Lankford, mentions no proof of the “Cuban guilt” and leaves out the willingness that the Cuban authorities expressed from day one, to cooperate and conduct the investigation.

Rubio was one of the minds behind the review of the Cuba policy adopted by the Trump Administration in June this year to intensify the application of the blockade. The legislator, who holds a seat in the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has used every means available to him to restrain the ties between both countries.

Unbelievable facts

The hypothesis of a “Sonic attack” and the use of sophisticated “Sonic devices” against US diplomats have been constant since the story hit the headlines despite the lack of evidence and the criteria of experts indicating that no device is able to cause the symptoms described in the conditions stated.

The US Department of State has remained tight-lipped on the particular damages to the health of its personnel in Havana, but the media has reported a wide variety of symptoms. In some cases, these symptoms include severe headaches, dizziness and hearing loss, while others have experienced cognitive disruption, memory loss and mild brain damage.

The diagnosis provoke confusion among experts, the FBI, the State Department and the US agencies involved in the investigation, according to reports of the Associated Press (AP).

“Brain damage and concussions, that’s not possible”, said Joseph Pompei to AP, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers”.

Dr. Toby Heys, Leader of the Future Technologies research center at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, told New Scientist last month that directing ultrasound into the ear cavity could theoretically cause permanent hearing damage but it would require the use of huge devices in great volumes, which would be difficult to hide.

Sonic weapons used to disperse crowds and for the protection of some vessels in the face of pirate ships, work with the same type of equipment. The devices cover a considerable area and every person within its reach is affected.

However, most of the alleged incidents in Havana, according to US public sources, took place in enclosed spaces, sometimes even inside one single room, and with precision laser, affecting one person in particular, without affecting the rest.

Some of the alleged attacks would have taken place in the residence of diplomats and even in public buildings such as the Hotel Capri recently refurbished, a 19-story tower of concrete and 250 rooms, where there are no reports of other hotel guests affected.

According to AP reports, the FBI itself travelled to Havana and investigated some of the rooms where the attacks would have taken place, but found no trace of sonic devices.

The Cuban specialized services have not detected “possible perpetrators or individuals with motivation, intention or means to carry out this sort of actions”, according to sources linked to the investigations. “The presence of suspicious individuals or means have not been established at the places or surrounding areas where the incidents were reported”.

In Cuba, there is no precedent of this sort of actions. “The Cuban authorities don’t have nor are they familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for purposes similar to those described as sonic attacks”, added the same source.

Cuba has always been willing to cooperate

After they were notified for the first time by the US Embassy in Havana, the Cuban authorities set up an inter-institutional expert commission to analyze the facts. They expanded and intensified the measures that guarantee the protection, security and safety of the Embassy premises, its staff and the diplomatic residences. They also opened new direct communication channels between the US Embassy and the Cuban Department for the Security and Safety of Diplomats, as stated in the official statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated August 9, 2017, when the news were made public.

The Cuban side insisted that the US specialized agencies should travel to the country and conduct the investigations on-site, which occurred in June 2017. Other visits by these agencies took place in August and September.

“The three meetings held between representatives of the Cuban authorities and the US specialized agencies took place against a constructive and professional backdrop”, said a source with knowledge of the exchanges. The US side, he stated, expressed the intention to cooperate “more substantially with the investigation of the incidents”. Likewise, the members of the US specialized agencies who have visited Cuba, have acknowledged that the Cuban local authorities have acted promptly and with professionalism.

“We value positively the continuity of these visits. The Cuban authorities have great interest in expediting and completing the investigation, for which purpose, cooperation from the US authorities is essential”, said the source.

In the face of countless of variables to the case, influenced by the long history of conflicts between the two countries, cooperation is essential. Some of the fundamental aspects for the success of this cooperation and to achieve the results in any case scenario should include actions such as: timely notification of the incidents; submitting evidence; sharing information that would help establish the facts and identify possible perpetrators, should there be any; having access to those affected and to the medical doctors who diagnosed, and exchange with those experts who are familiar with the incidents and the alleged technology used.

Not even in the worst moments

Another fact that does not add up to the story of the sonic attack is timing. In November 2016, the governments of Cuba and the United States advanced quickly towards the completion of an important number of agreements for the benefit of both peoples.

After a long history of aggressions and attempts to subdue the Cuban people out of hunger and necessity, to transform the Cuban political system, the Obama Administration acknowledged on December 17, 2014, that the blockade had failed and accomplished the isolation of the United States.

The political backdrop between the two countries changed completely. Diplomatic ties were reestablished and 22 agreements on different areas were signed, including but not limited to environmental protection, the reopening of non-scheduled flights and the cooperation in the area of security and safety. Who would even think of sabotaging the relationship with Washington?

In addition, if the Cuban government never resorted to the use of aggressive methods against US diplomats out of its revolutionary principles, even when tension was at its height, what would be the logic to start doing so now, after the sovereign decision to reestablish ties with Washington?

On May, the State Department expelled two Cuban officials from the United States as a consequence of the alleged attacks that damaged the health of members of its staff in Havana, a measure considered by Cuba as “groundless and unsubstantiated”.

Now we know that, at the same time the Cuban officials were being expelled, the Cuban authorities were conducting the investigation and expressing their complete willingness to collaborate with their US counterparts.

The official statement by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads that Cuba “strictly and seriously” observes and has always observed its obligations deriving from the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which refer to the protection of the integrity of diplomatic agents and local staff of the mission. “Our country’s impeccable track record in this area is recognized internationally and Cuba is universally considered as a safe destination for both visitors and foreign diplomats, including the Americans”, he said.

In line with the statement, a Cuban high-ranking diplomat reaffirmed that “that Cuba has never perpetrated nor will it ever perpetrate actions of this nature, and has never permitted nor will it ever permit any third-party use of its territory for this purpose”.

Facing the lack of evidence and the complexity of this case, the Cuban authorities keep the investigation open and are willing to collaborate with their US counterparts to establish the facts.

  • Published in Now

Cycling: another key sport for Barranquilla 2018

Several sports will be key so Cuba can achieve the aim of remaining in first place in the medal standings in the Barranquilla 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.

One of them is cycling, which contribution should be around ten titles, all or almost all from the female team.

The power of the hosts, Mexicans and Venezuelans in this discipline is very well known, but our girls have a world-class quality and can achieve that goal with a good effort dosing.

Four years ago, the men contributed no gold medals, and within tem months exactly the scene should be similar, because we do not have talents that invite us to think otherwise. I wish I am wrong, but I think we won’t see any Cuban in the highest step on the podium, as it happened in Veracruz 2014, where we only picked Arnold Alcolea’s silver medal in the men’s points race.

In any case, Colombia has a great power in this sex, and pedaling at home makes them unbeaten to lead the general medal standings in this discipline.

But among the girls, things change, because Marlies Mejías and Arlenis Sierra should contribute more than one title each, and should Lisandra Guerra reaches the competition recovered after her pregnancy, we can expect the best from her too, likewise from Yudelmis Domínguez, another athlete with good results in the last few times.

The girls’ versatility will allow that, except Lisandra, they could also make it to the podium in the route events, and even strive as a team in the queen competition.

We should not forget there are very good competitors in the region, mainly from Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, who have lost and won vs. the Cuban girls, now more experienced after running as part of professional teams in the world of cycling.

There are still ten months to go, enough time for some of them to recover from their present injuries and for Lisandra to retake her shape after achieving the most precious of her medals, that’s why, I am confident that cycling won’t fail at Barranquilla 2018.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Now

Game of Thrones Arya among 200 most popular names

Baby names are becoming increasingly adventurous - often inspired by characters and figures from the world of entertainment.

More than 300 girls born in England and Wales last year were named Arya, sharing their name with the well-known Game of Thrones character.

That's more than the number of children who received traditional names like Mary (204) and Catherine (163).

Another name from the HBO series growing in popularity is Khaleesi.

There were 69 girls born last year with the same name as the would-be Queen of Westeros, according to figures for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

More Game of Thrones names on the list include Tyrion (11), Sansa (5), Daenerys (4) and Brienne (3). No children were given the name of the evil character Joffrey.

Other names from the world of myth and legend are also becoming more commonplace, with 90 boys being called Loki, presumably because of the popularity of the Marvel villain played by Tom Hiddleston.

But his brother Thor only shares his name with 18 boys born in 2016.

The parents of some of the 16 boys named Kal-El could well be fans of Superman - Kal-El is the real name of the superhero from Krypton.

There were 69 girls born last year with the same name as the would-be Queen of Westeros, according to figures for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

More Game of Thrones names on the list include Tyrion (11), Sansa (5), Daenerys (4) and Brienne (3). No children were given the name of the evil character Joffrey.

Other names from the world of myth and legend are also becoming more commonplace, with 90 boys being called Loki, presumably because of the popularity of the Marvel villain played by Tom Hiddleston.

But his brother Thor only shares his name with 18 boys born in 2016.

The parents of some of the 16 boys named Kal-El could well be fans of Superman - Kal-El is the real name of the superhero from Krypton.

The return of Star Wars in 2015 may have influenced some name choices. Last year, 54 boys were called Kylo, and 17 girls were named Rey.

In addition 12 boys were given the name Anakin, the real first name of Darth Vader.

The name Hermione, now most associated with Harry Potter, also makes the list, with 95 girls sharing their name with Harry's intelligent, loyal friend.

The name peaked in 2004 when the popularity of the Harry Potter books and films was at its height.

It's possible that this year's spike is related to the 2016 launch of the hugely successful West End stage show, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

And following the death of one of entertainment's best known figures at the start of last year, there's been an increase in the number of children (seven girls and 35 boys) being named Bowie.

  • Published in Culture

From consumption to utopia? Reflections for parents…

Do we make our children happier when we strive to fill them with beautiful and bright things? Or are we creating fictitious needs that can always be sources of frustration?

After buying the princess covers or minions, the nylon rolls that are only enough for six notebooks and cost one dollar, the geometric figures printed on cardboard, the Disney markers plasticised so they last the whole academic year, apron, the supports and the doily, also plasticised and with fashionable dolls, wipes and napkins that match with the rest of the set and are practically the same as those of the other children, the puppet and even the plant already sown in a condensed milk tin, you feel relieved, since you have almost everything “necessary” to begin the school year, but at the same time, you know you will have to tighten your belt the whole month, because you don’t even want to think about how much money has gone, and suddenly, you miss your grandma…

Those times when granny used to sew....

....the aprons with any piece of cloth, improvised a remnant puppet and made a little tablecloth for us, less sophisticated than the Frozen doilies or McQuin Ray, but one-of-a-kind and touched by the grace of her skillful and tender hands.

Those times when the students cared about the content of the books and notebooks, which were very happy covered with Russian magazines, cat wrapping papers or with some invention from the great artist of the family, my mother, for example, she used to scrape crayon colors on a sheet of white paper (poster, calendar at hand), melted that with the iron and obviously, I took the latest in production to school.

The supports? They were always big, not the size of a letter-type sheet, a cardboard box open or covered by the most careful member of the family, with little figures cut from some book and the final touch, a nylon that I actually do not remember where it came from. The markers, of course: cardboard strips with the respective tip at the end and if you drew them with felt-tip pens, they were a success, but you were not diminished if you took them colored with colored pencils or even in white.

And what to say about “lunch boxes”, our lunch boxes were cloth bags that are soaked with the sweating from the water bottle (almost never a thermos flask), but we all had more or less the same ones and our parents managed to prevent our bread from getting wet, not to mention they lasted the whole school year.

Tell me the truth, how many backpacks did you use in elementary school? I do not remember exactly, but I can swear that I did not have a new one every year, sometimes not because of the lack of money or offers in stores, but because almost anybody dared to wonder whether that of the previous year was “suitable” or it was necessary to buy another for next September.

Men do not have time to know anything; they buy things from markets....

Thanks to life, there aren’t friends markets yet, and children are still forced to exercise their charms to make friends the first day at school, but I would not be surprised that in the next few years someone will get a licence to set up a friends workshop, juicy enrolment involved, and so they would reach school with their assigned friends.

All of us who are parents today can remember how much we enjoyed that “doing” things together as a family, surely you would be thinking, like me, about some of the many inventions which our parents, uncles, aunts and relatives made us happy with, or the times you shared in the last days of your vacation helping to prepare everything for school.

And that is the first bitter taste I keep after letting myself be dragged, at times, into this bad copy of consumer societies, where there is no time to know or do and the only path is to buy: What are we teaching our children? Are we making them happier by filling them with beautiful and bright things? Or rather are we creating fictitious needs that can always be sources of frustration, complex and discrimination?

Let the vase be but the flower ...

Finally Marti, wise, shakes me in time, shakes me with that phrase he wrote to his beloved child. "A lot of shop little soul", he warned, "who carries a lot inside needs little outside" ... The school year has just begun and in Cuban schools our children have uniforms accessible to all, free school materials and books, the same teacher for those who carry the Mickey Mouse backpack and those who prefer a simpler and more economic one. Parents should think, and I include myself, about what they really need to learn and grow, and should not entangle them or entangle us with superficialities.

Like everyone, of course I enjoy meeting my children’s tastes and have nothing against beautiful and attractive things, I only wonder about the false need and the unbridled eagerness to have them. "I understand it, but if mine does not wear or carry it they look at him badly", a friend tells me truthfully, I too have gotten myself into this type of anxiety, but what if we save ourselves, look well once and recover the essential thing, is it a utopia?

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

TALKATIVE FILES: Carlos Enríquez’s muse

Sara Cheméndez posed for “The Kidnapping of the Mulatto Women” (El rapto de las mulatas). The steamy and beautiful mulatto Sara Cheméndez could well reincarnate one of the classic “Three Graces” (Tres Gracias), the goddesses of beauty, spell and joy.

She, in her best times, has everything at her feet, and to shine, she serves as a model for Ramos Blanco, Fidelio Ponce de León and, in particular, Carlos Enríquez, the rebel bohemian painter, enemy of the academy and avant-garde of the grove of guava trees, the almond trees, the palm tree, cigar boxes, rural myths and peasants in black and white, who will never forget his youthful and audacious treatment of female nudes.

Born in 1920, in Havana’s La Vibora neighborhood, Sara, Vizcaino by name, began her artistic life at the age of ten by the hand of sculptor Casagrán, who needed a little girl to make little clay heads. Then, after several years, Carlos Enríquez, a friend of the stone cutter, went to the girl’s house, took her for a walk, begged her mother, and at the end, hired her as muse of some of his oil paintings, in which the dynamic, fine, flashing and incisive lines as well as soft, elegant and very sensible colors stand out.

Over the years, Sara lives a complicity of flesh and soul with Carlos Enríquez at El Hurón Azul Farm, where the creator of the Romancero Guajiro, debtor, at the same time, of patriots and bandits and illustrator of texts by Guillén and Carpentier, enjoys very good Creole lunches with Félix Pita Rodríguez, Marcelo Pogolotti or Juan David. The dwelling, a copy of a train station in Pennsylvania and pride of Havana’s Párraga neighborhood, is named after the skin of this rodent that the artist tans and paints that color. El Hurón, a museum nowadays, is full of barefoot legends. María Elena Balán upholds this on her website Arca de Cubanía:

"I asked Alberto Valcárcel, specialist of the museum house, about the curious footprints of the owner that remain, despite the years, on the steps and have given way to various versions. One of them belongs to Sara Cheméndez (...). One day, while he was resting in a hammock in the yard, the rope broke and he fell to the ground. The girl, who was looking at him through a window from above, screamed and Carlos ran up the stairs. While hurrying, he set foot on a tray of yellow paint and his footprints remained marked on the steps. It is also likely that Carlos was provoking the traces, to leave them in a veiled way as something perceptible and at the same time, soft. "

Once, the painter of paintings such as “The King of the Fields of Cuba” (El Rey de los Campos de Cuba) (Manuel Garcia), awarded in 1935, “The Bathers of the Lagoon” (Las bañistas de la laguna”, “Dos Ríos” and “Virgen del Cobre”, an oil painting with a strong Afro-Cuban presence, chains his mestiza on the back of a stallion and orders to hit the furious animal with a whip. Thus, The Kidnapping of the Mulatto Women (1938), one of his most famous works, is born from the desperate ripping of the natural thing, where sensory links are established among men, women, horses and a landscape seen through loose and kinetic brushstrokes, shades, glazes and transparencies.

Later on, Sara, cheerful and witty, frees herself from the omnipotent vocation of her tutor, who replaces her with models such as Eva and Germaine, and poses at San Alejandro Academy for Armando Menocal, the author of “The Death of Antonio Maceo”. For his part, Manuel Vega makes her unforgettable in his painting “Black Pearl”, which causes stir in Spain by showing a black and Caribbean aesthetics that is intertwined with the beauty of a woman as voluptuous as sacralized.

During the 1940s, Sara put up wall posters against the Ramón Grau San Martín government and hid one night at La Vigia Farm, belonging to Ernest Hemingway, where she was about to be bitten by two huge dogs. Then, she became a theater actress in Andoba and joined other projects to show a maturity carved in the map of her followers. One day, at the residence of a common friend, she managed to see Carlos Enríquez, who died in 1957 in Havana after also dabbling into the novel, and gave him her last joy: along with her joyful smile are those earrings he gave her one day. She never takes them off: they’re eternal, like his paintings.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Principio del formulario

Final del formulario

  • Published in Specials

Irma: Vignettes from an event!

In Cuba, there is no other issue today than Irma, the strong hurricane that swept houses, roofs and crops from throughout the country. Irma has left a trail of bad memories and indelible experiences.

Once again, Cubans’ idiosyncrasy stayed afloat. The help and collaboration among neighbors, the funny comments about one of the most fearful atmospheric events that have ever hit the country, and the willingness and perseverance to overcome difficulties among all have been present. Now, I leave you with some anecdotes –as vignettes– about my neighbors from a neighborhood in Havana’s outskirts. Solidarity, obsession, carelessness summarize some of the behaviors.

Yusmaikel and his "plasma TV set"

"It only took me a tile, I have a hole in the roof, but I'm worried about the “plasma” (flat screen TV) that I bought recently. Ask Irma (coincidentally my neighbor is named like that). She saw it, tell her to tell you the size it has, it's like that window. I'm afraid it gets wet and breaks down".

And the roof?, I ask him.

“That is not my matter for the moment. I will see when it rains. The plasma TV set is the most important thing. I use it as an atari, I love it, and that entertains me. Irma has already passed, I am not concerned”.

Mercedes’s cookings…

“As I have my sister and my brother-in-love at home, I bought several things to spend these days. I had chicken, some pork beefsteaks and mincemeat in the refrigerator. And in addition, since the mango harvest was good, I also kept some.

“So the lack of electric power made me very tense, and I resorted to cook. I boiled the meats, made croquettes and cooked the fruits, because there was guava too. I have spent the whole cyclone in the kitchen! I hope no one else comes, but if it happens I am not going to keep so many things in the freezer. If lacking is bad, under these circumstances, lightening the refrigerator is better. It’s an experience to face the forthcoming ones”.

Carlos, the truck and taters

Carlos drives a truck that services agriculture. He’s a strong black man, as tall as a palm tree, and perhaps that’s the reason why, backbone pains always beset him. Therefore, when he brings home some taters, he never forgets to share them with those around him.

“Bring me a sack, a bag”, he tells me from time to time, and fills it with sweet potatoes, cassava, or some other seasonal produce.

Irma had gone, but the whole neighborhood had no power and water. The children were playing, adults were awaiting the restoration of power but that moment never came. However, Carlos brought good news. Some neighbors surrounded the track and he offered something to everybody; as if easing their pains. And he accomplished it! A while later, in the middle of the darkness of the night, the savory Creole flavor revealed that locals were cooking more than one “caldosa” (traditional Cuban stew).

Raimundo: Electricist or mason?

He works in an enterprise that offers maintenance to power stations, fixing heavy equipment, such as transformers. But in his spare time, he earns extra money doing masonry works. Few people know he is an electrician, everybody thinks he only has to do with sand and cement.

"Irma" had not arrived yet. It was around 2:00 pm, and Margarita thought there was no power. It happened that there was a short circuit in her house. Someone let Raimundo know it, and he showed up at the old woman’s home quickly. He climbed a stool on a chair and found out that some cables were really burnt. He was about to fall down, the prop was quite high.

He removed the lamp, separated the cables, and when he decided to test, then there was no power already. “Count on me for anything you need —he told the woman—, but do not tell the neighborhood that I am an electrician, because actually I fix big appliances, not small things like this one!

The kitchen door and Gloria

For months, Gloria has been suffering from the kitchen door of her apartment, located in a fifth floor. It didn’t even come to her mind that the cyclone season was about to begin. The door swelled when there was moisture, and in addition it had termite”. In short, it was an issue to be solved.

She talked to the thousand virgins, as the saying goes, until she finally managed to get one, but very far from her house. The dilemma was how to transport it from Guanabacoa to Arroyo Naranjo, two municipalities of the capital.

That night, during the passing of the hurricane, Gloria and her son spent most of the morning hours holding the door with wood. "What went in through it was a gust of wind". Fear seized them. Changing it was imminent.

After the fearsome cyclone, the boy walked around the neighborhood in search of a vehicle. But as one could figure out, his effort was unsuccessful. He found a truck stopped in front of his building. “Buddy —he said— I give you 5 CUC (convertible currency) if you take me to bring….” The man smiled and told him: “I do not have oil nor where to get it from. Cupets (Cuba’s National Oil Company) that have fuels do not have power and vice versa”.

Hours later, a phone call made them happy. “Get dressed because I am going there, I think that I can carry the door in my car”. So it was, human solidarity solved a problem that seemed to find no happy ending.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

National Electrical Union Working Hard to Restore Power

The National Electrical Union (UNE) is working hard to restore power across the country, following the damages left by Hurricane Irma.

Lázaro Guerra, UNE technical director, noted that almost the entire island was impacted.  He added that service has already been restored in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Granma, Holguín, Las Tunas and Camagüey, thanks to thermoelectric plants in Renté, a unit in Nuevitas and another in Felton.

The engineer explained that these are areas or “islands,” according to the electrical terminology, which are strengthened by power generation through thermoelectric plants.  However, he clarified that the service is not yet stable, and efforts are ongoing, including constant analysis and evaluation to ensure there are no setbacks, as any mistake could imply a further 36 hours of work.

Guerra noted that the power supply in the west is the most affected, with only a few plants functioning in the capital.  Meanwhile, the central region is awaiting the incorporation to the grid of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes generating unit in Cienfuegos.

Guerra explained that the damages are not due to impacts on the technology, but to the integrity of the national electrical system.

With some thermo plants having been cut off from the grid, which generate 74% of the country’s power, full coverage of demand currently remains impossible.  Without the incorporation of these plants to the grid, there can be no stability in the service.  For this reason, efforts are focused on the creation of islands, which will then be interconnected to the national grid and make the service sustainable.

According to the Director General of the Havana Electricity Company, Jesús Samón, interviewed on national television, just 24 hours after Hurricane Irma passed, workers have succeeded in partially restoring power to the capital. “In areas such as the San Agustín substation, La Lisa, the service was restored in the early hours, also in parts of Old Havana, the Avenida del Puerto, a part of Boyeros, and in Plaza.”

He added that of the 302 primary distribution circuits, 128 are ready to restore the power supply, as soon as it can be generated.

  • Published in Cuba

Vietnam Sends Aid to Cuba to Help Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Vietnemese leaders have sent letters of solidarity to the Cuban people and government following the devastating Hurricane Irma.

Vietnam is formalizing a plan to send Cuba a shipment of aid as they recover from the damages caused by Hurricane Irma after it ripped along the Caribbean country's coast as a category 5 hurricane last week, Prensa Latina reported.

RELATED: Cuba Cleans Up Hurricane Damage, Receives Venezuela Aid

The vice president of the Union of Friendship Organizations of Vietnam (VUFO), Don Tuan Phong, spoke to Prensa Latina saying that the Vietnamese express their solidarity and encouragement to Cuba, emphasizing the close economic, political and cultural ties build between their nations. Phong said that Cuba has been with Vietnam during its most difficult times.

Earlier this week, Vietnamese leaders, including Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang, and the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent letters of condolences and solidarity to the Cuban people and government.

Phong also said that a Vietnamese delegation will be traveling to Cuba in October to participate in the commemoration for the 50th anniversary of Che Guevara's assassination.

Teams of volunteers are currently beginning the long process of cleaning and rebuilding from the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a hurricane that meteorologists have described as one of the most powerful in the Caribbean in a century.

Venezuela has contributed ten tons of material aid, including food, drinking water, medicine, and other needed items to Cuba, in addition to its assistance to other affected Caribbean islands.

For its part, Cuba has sent 771 medical professionals to other Caribbean islands suffering the storm's devastation.

  • Published in Cuba
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