OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Photo: Juvenal Balán

After three days of work in commissions, deputies are today discussing updates on the Digitalization of Society Program and the proposed Terrestrial Waters Act, and meeting in geographical groups.

Yesterday, July 12, officials from the Ministry of Food Industry (Minal) reported to deputies on the Services and Agriculture/Food commissions, emphasizing that improving the quality of food and replacing imports with domestic products continue to be prioritized.

Minister María del Carmen Concepción commented, "Since 2015, in an effort to improve the hygienic conditions in our facilities, we have renovated 53 of the country's 780 food processing plants."

Deputy Jorge Antonio Pérez from Holguín noted that investment in dairy processing has been welcome, but vegetable processing plants are in need of attention.

Abilio Piedra, from Mayabeque, commented that plants in his province are sometimes forced to halt production when cans and containers are not available, and fruit goes to waste,

The Minister responded that efforts continue to improve coordination between the different actors involved including the ministry of Agriculture and that of Economy and Planning.

Deputies also discussed corruption and misappropriation detected in

entities affiliated with the ministries of Agriculture and Food Industry, as well as the sugar state enterprise group Azcuba, focusing in particular on the poor control of gasoline and theft of livestock.

In the Health and Sports commission, Elda Quiñones, director of inspection at the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation (Inder), reported that in 2016, 39 crimes and 12 cases of corruption were detected in the sector.

While Juan José Rabilero, head of security and protection for Public Health, reported that, over the last five years, these problems have been reduced.

Nelson del Sol, from Camagüey, emphasized the importance of workplace safety, recalling the recent deaths of two construction workers in Villa Clara.

Other comments by deputies regarding Public Health focused on citizens' concerns about conditions in facilities, the work of neighborhood family doctors, and the organization of services at polyclinics.

YOUTH, CHILDREN, WOMEN'S RIGHTS

The commission focused on Youth, Childhood and Equal Rights for Women discussed the strengthening of community work to address social problems.

Carlos Rafael Fuentes de León, a National Assembly staff member, reported on discussions organized between different ministries and organizations which led to the first National Workshop on Integrated Community Work.

The meeting, he explained, allowed for the aligning of different institutions' conceptions of work in neighborhoods.

TOURISM

During the first half of 2017, Cuba received 2,668,446 international visitors, representing a 23.2 % increase over last year for this period, according to Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz, in his report to the Services commission, adding that five million are expected to arrive in 2018.

Discussing the Campismo Popular system, which provides modestly priced accommodations in attractive natural areas, Marrero reported that 220,800 vacationers are expected at these sites this summer, and that improvements have been made to facilities including the acquisition of new mattresses, television sets, mini-refrigerators, fans, and bathroom fixtures.

He however acknowledged that deficiencies persist in terms of food service options, transportation, and recreational equipment.

Deputies commented that prices should be better aligned with the quality of services and facilities, and that the issue of roads leading to these areas must be addressed, since their poor condition sometimes affects transportation.