News on Cuba - March 4, 2014 Print

Cuban Anti-Terrorists Nominated for Human Rights Award

Washington, Mar 4 (Prensa Latina) The International Committee for the Freedom of the Five has nominated the Cuban anti-terrorists for the Human Rights People's Choice Award 2014, which acknowledges the work of people or institutions in defense of human rights. (To vote for the nomination)

The organization said that it had nominated Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, known internationally as the Cuban Five, because they fought to protect the Cuban people as well as citizens from the U.S. and other countries from terrorist violence.

They risked their lives to protect the lives of thousands. Instead of honoring them, the United States has sentenced them to long and unjust penalties.

In spite of that, the Cuban Five stand tall and face their sentences with dignity. This nomination is yet another way to make U.S citizens aware of the case, the organization added.

The Cuban Five were arrested while they were monitoring anti-Cuban groups based in Miami, whose actions have left more than 400 victims over the last 53 years in Cuba.

Gerardo, Antonio and Ramón remain in jail despite the international campaign for their immediate release.

René González was released on October 7th, 2011 after 13 years in prison, a period of supervised release and the renunciation of his US citizenship, while Fernando returned to the island last February 28th, after serving the final day of his sentence in an Arizona penitentiary in the United States.

The Committee has called on the international community to submit supporting votes for the nomination until March 21st.

The Human Rights People's Choice Award Contest is part of the annual award ceremony organized by the California-based social activists group Global Exchange since 2002.


Medical Students Pay Tribute to Hugo Chavez on Anniversary of his Death

Ciego de Avila, March 4 (acn) Cuban and foreign medical students in the central-eastern province of Ciego de Avila produced a multimedia work to pay homage to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez in the first anniversary of his death.

The students, who make up the Hugo Chavez Solidarity Brigade at the Medical Faculty in the Municipality of Moron, collected simple but unforgettable images of the Venezuelan leader to make the multimedia, including photos, songs and also texts that tell about different chapters of his life and work, student Yoander Nordelo told PL news agency.

Nordelo said that the initiative is part of actions by the brigade during the current world campaign recalling Chavez on March 5, which marks the anniversary of his death. He added that the multimedia will be consultation document for new generations of Cubans since it contains passages of Chavez’ family life, his military career, the revolutionary movement in which participated as well as his first steps in politics and his election campaigns.


Cuban Doctors Contribute to National Cancer Program in East Timor

HAVANA, Cuba, March 4 (acn) Cuban doctors in East Timor are drawing up a comprehensive strategy to fight Cancer based on the records on the disease collected by the medical brigade in that country and with the contribution of human resources trained in Cuba.

The announcement came in on Monday at a meeting between East Timor’ s health minister and several Cuban oncology advisors, the coordinator of the Cuban medical brigade, Rolando Montero and the island’s ambassador to that country Luis Julian Laffite, according to an article posted on the website of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

The meeting focused on the work of the oncologists since they arrived in Timor and their setting up of an oncology facility, which was requested by the Timorese party during a visit to Cuba by the president of that nation.

The Cuban specialists explained the minister about actions to implement a cancer prevention and treatment program bearing in mind the records collected in the country and the setting up of a comprehensive strategy to start working on that field.

The Timorese minister thanked the Cuban advisors for their visit and said that the fight on cancer will be a priority for his country’s Health Ministry this year and he underscored the Cuban assistance to draw up a national strategy to control the disease, which will include primary health care of oncologic patients in their own homes.


Novel Results on Ataxias in World Meeting in Havana

HAVANA, Cuba. Mar 3 (acn) International and Cuban experts in the study of ataxias will present in a world forum results on the etiology, physiopathology, genetics, molecular biology and treatment of these hereditary diseases.

In the 4th International Scientific Conference “Neurological Restoration 2014,” on March 5-7 in this capital, specialists of the Center for the Attention of Hereditary Ataxias of Holguin (CIRAH) will expound the effects of this degenerative ailment of the nervous system which has diverse causes and that in Cuba affects more the population of this eastern region.

Together with researchers of the International Center for Neurological Restoration (CIREN) and as part of the meeting, the 6th International Symposium on Hereditary Ataxias will be held, Doctor Emilio Villa, president of the organizing committee and director of this prestigious institution told ACN.

The scientist explained that the course Scientific and Clinical Aspects of Parkinson Disease and Cerebellum Ataxias will also take place, in which Doctor in Sciences Michele Tagliati, director of the Program of Movement Disorders of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of the United States, will participate.

According to specialists, hereditary ataxias are characterized by loss of movement coordination, alteration of balance, language and walk, and difficulty to swallow food, among other symptoms.


Article: Cuban pharmaceuticals expanding in the region

Cuba’s biotechnolgy and pharmaceutical industry is taking positive steps toward a better positioning in the region since the creation of the BioCubaFarma company, authorized to establish joint ventures with high technology firms from abroad and build production facilities in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), west of Havana.

It is worth recalling that this success is the result of a vision expressed many years ago by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and the consistent efforts of an underdeveloped country which has been subjected to an ironclad blockade for more than 50 years by the United States. Despite these obstacles, Cuba now possesses a biotechnology industry which compares favorably to those of developed countries.

Cuban biotechnology was described in the prestigious British journal Nature as the best in the Third World, and has developed unique products which have had an important impact internationally.

The industry’s expansion into the production of generic non-patented medicines has made Cuban companies much more competitive, reported BioCubaFarma Vice-President Dr. José Luis Fernández Yero, during an interview with Granma International.

BioCubaFarma was founded November 27, 2012, by way of a decree – no.307 – approved by the Council of Ministers, and is composed of a central management body and 38 production companies, distributors and service providers, located in the West Havana Scientific Pole, in addition to the QUIMEFA state enterprise.

Fernández explained that BioCubaFarma has as its mission the development of an enterprise system capable of producing significant volumes of medications, equipment and advanced technology services - to improve the health of the Cuban people and generate exports of goods and services.

The doctor reported that the industry manufactures a total of 1,099 products, including generics and those based on Cuban biotechnology. Of these, 592 are distributed as part of the basic inventory of 888 essential drugs available throughout the country’s public health system.

He added that more than 100 bio-technology products are under development, in addition to several pieces of medical equipment. The objective is to promote early diagnoses, prevention and timely, non-invasive treatment, as well as the effective control of metabolic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and chronic, non-infectious diseases such as cancer, the principal cause of death in 10 of the country’s 16 provinces.

Among the bio-pharmaceuticals produced, Dr. Fernández emphasized, are several which are unique in the world, including Heberprot-P, which promotes the healing of foot ulcers caused by diabetes, thus reducing amputations.