BARACOA, Guantánamo.–Baracoa’s beauty and traditions must be preserved, insisted Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, as he conversed with residents and authorities in this municipality, during a government visit to this eastern province, which also took him to Maisí.
The President’s tour began at the Rubén David Suárez Abella chocolate factory, a facility inaugurated by Che and now immersed in a modernization process that will allow production to be tripled, offerings diversified, and quality improved.
The investment is linked to the cocoa development program, focused on recovery of plantations severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew, and optimal industrial processing of harvests.
Díaz-Canel insisted that the industry must also work to develop export lines, commenting that basic cocoa products must be given added value, and in this way generate more income.
He asked about training of workers to efficiently operate the new equipment and about packaging.
Project manager and technology expert Ríder Londres said that these aspects have been taken into consideration, explaining that the civil engineering works should be completed in December, which will allow the erecting of equipment to begin. Production is projected to begin in May, while the entire modernization will be completed by August of 2019.
Considering Ríder’s explanation, Díaz-Canel commented that transportation of equipment in storage at the port of Boquerón must be speeded up.
The brand new bridge over the Toa River, completed with the solidarity of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was the second stop of the President’s tour, where he called on the Ministry of Construction to extend the use of technology employed here across the country.
Standing on the bridge, Díaz-Canel took note of a house on a nearby hill built with cement block, palm wood, and a tin roof, a model used to construct hundreds in the province, mainly in Baracoa and Maisí.
As they contemplated the powerful Toa, locals told him of the longstanding tradition preserved here of holding a raft festival at the site every summer.
The delegation, which included a number of ministers, deputy ministers, and authorities, also visited the Maraví asphalt plant, which is in the final phase of adjustments prior to start-up.
Díaz-Canel learned that the first batches of asphalt produced here are destined for the Baracoa-Moa highway and a section of the Baracoa-Maisí road suitable for inverted pavement.
Project manager Carlos Ávila Calzadilla and Minister of Construction René Mesa Villafaña offered the President a detailed explanation of the highly automated, semi-mobile plant, based on Chinese technology.
The group also visited a nearby sand mill which was beginning the first phase of start up within a few hours. The plant will be able to produce 25 cubic meters of sand per hour once full operations are underway.
The President’s last stop in Baracoa was the coconut shredding facility, where he conversed with workers and, once he had observed the production process, suggested that a study be conducted of Cuban industries that use the product, with a view toward guaranteeing a secure market.
He commented that uses for coconut water could also be found, and emphasized that selling finished products with added value is what the country needs.
Upon leaving the plant located in the Turey neighborhood, Díaz-Canel was greeted by cheering residents who said they were proud to welcome him to Baracoa. He took time to attend a few persons with concerns, mainly about the housing issue.
I’m enchanted with Baracoa, so many pretty sites, some of the most important rivers in the country, he said, and noted that he had learned of interesting experiences in Cuba’s first villa.
A salute to Baracoa, the President concluded, may it always be so beautiful.
PUNTA DE MAISÍ
Students and teachers at Alfredo de Jesús Noa Secondary School were the first to receive the Cuban President in Punta de Maisí, where ninth-grade student Helen Fernández, accompanied on guitar by Roelvis Guzmán, performed the song “Cabalgando con Fidel” for the President.
In his dialogue with the students and staff, Díaz-Canel asked about study conditions, computer media, and sports.
“President, we would like to welcome you,” said an older resident of Maisí, as she gave him a kiss, a move repeated many times by others, who expressed their affection and recognition in front of the school.
In Punta de Maisí, Díaz-Canel held an ample conversation with the population, focused primarily on housing.
He recalled that the homes of thousands of families were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Matthew, and that all of the situations could not be addressed at the same time. “Progress is being made,” he said, “You can rest assured that a solution will be found for all.”
Addressing families who continue to wait, he said that within a few days a delegation led by the provincial government’s president will visit Punta de Maisí to evaluate each and every case.
“What a President! He listened to everyone!” said a resident, thankful for the Revolution’s work in Punta de Maisí, where over the last two years, public works have included a solar photovoltaic park, a retail store, a mini building materials plant, a tourist facility, and a sand mill. Telephones have been installed in many homes and potable water distribution has improved, among other social projects including the remodeling of many homes through the Venezuelan project “Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor.”
Díaz-Canel also visited a settlement of petrocasas, built with materials based on petroleum products, where 46 families are already living in their new homes.
Seven-year-old Armando Vizmar Mojena took the President by the hand and led him to his house, a gesture much-appreciated by the head of state, who asked the boy which was his room.
Díaz-Canel also visited a Youth Computer Club and a cultural complex in the area, and upon leaving these sites, stopped to talk with the population once more.
“Díaz-Canel, Maisí is with you, come again,” was the farewell given the President in Cuba’s easternmost municipality, where he concluded his visit with a tour of the Punta de Maisí tourist center.
The President continued his working visit to other sites in Guantánamo, accompanied by Rafael Pérez Fernández, Party Central Committee member and first secretary in the province, and Nancy Acosta Hernández, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power.