President of South Africa receives new Cuban ambassador

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Pretoria, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) The new Cuban ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Enrique Orta, today presented his credentials to the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

After being received for the ceremony at the South African presidential residence, Orta extended his gratitude for the traditional support received from South Africa in its fair demands before the United Nations for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island.

Likewise, he ratified Cuba’s willingness to work towards continuing to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between both nations.

For his part, Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa’s support in the fight against the US blockade, and took the opportunity to send a fraternal greeting to his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

The ties between Cuba and South Africa, traditionally described by the two countries as brotherhood, date back to the 1960s, in the context of the anti-apartheid struggles of the South African people.

Officially, bilateral diplomatic relations were signed on May 11, 1994, in a ceremony headed by historical leaders Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro.

This is considered one of the first acts of foreign policy of the new democratic government of South Africa.

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Cuba repeats call for equal access to Covid-19 vaccines

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Havana, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Tuesday reiterated its call to eliminate obstacles to achieve equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, and its continued willingness to maintain medical and vaccine-related collaboration with any nation.

Speaking at the virtual event For the Internationalism of Vaccines with Cuba, convened by the Progressive International organization, Deputy Minister of Public Health Regla Angulo Pardo stressed that all impediments must be removed globally so that vaccines reach all countries.

She confirmed that the United States blockade against Cuba, imposed for more than 60 years and intensified during the administration of President Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic, constitutes the main obstacle to the production and export of Cuban vaccines.

The virtual meeting had a Q&A session with the participation of the director of Innovation and Industry of BioCubaFarma, Rolando Perez; the director of Science and Technological Innovation at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, Ileana Morales; the director of Research at the Finlay Vaccines Institute (IFV), Dagmar Garcia, and the director of Biomedical Research of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Gerardo Guillen.

When answering a question about the impact that Cuban vaccines still do not have the certification of the World Health Organization (WHO), Perez explained that this has not been either a restrain or an obstacle.

“With the countries we are working with, like Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Mexico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria and Vietnam, this does not represent any difficulty,” she said.

She added that perhaps it has been an impediment for Cuban vaccines to be in the WHO’s Covax fund, but she stressed that the prices with which Cuba works are in solidarity and are in the order of what that mechanism would be.

In this regard, Dr. Dagmar Garcia noted that not having that guarantee yet does represent a wall for Cuban citizens to travel freely to other countries in the world, where they (the Cuban vaccines) are not recognized.

“Those vaccinated here, with our products with proven effectiveness, are limited in living or moving freely in the United States or Europe, despite the fact that they are immunized and have powerful levels of antibodies against the disease,” she stated.

For his part, Perez explained that the dossier for the approval of the Abdala vaccine, developed by the CIGB, is in the final review phase and in the next few days the dossier for the other products will be submitted to the WHO.

Regarding the possibility of technology transfer, Dagmar Garcia recalled that the Cuban biotechnology industry has extensive experience in South-South cooperation, an example of which is the export of vaccines against meningitis, especially to Africa; and technology has also been transferred to the Pasteur Institute in Iran in terms of the Soberana 02 Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr. Morales noted that Cuba is in a position to provide advice on the model of the mass vaccination strategy, preparation, organization and development of this process.

Regarding the efficacy of Cuba’s homegrown vaccines against the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, she explained that Cuba maintains a broad portfolio of studies on the impact of vaccination on pregnant women or other groups, and continuous research is being carried out on the subject.

“We can ensure that high levels of antibodies are detected in those vaccinated with both the Soberna, by the IFV, and Abdala vaccines. In addition, we went ahead with the fourth booster dose in the country before the first case of Omicron was detected,” she added.

That forecast, Perez said, made it possible for the country’s pandemic peak with the Omicron variant to have a lower lethality compared to that of the Delta variant and with respect to the percentages at the regional and global levels.

In the closing remarks of the event, the general coordinator of the Progressive International, David Adler, expressed his gratitude to Cuba for the opportunity to make its progress known to the world, and reiterated the objective of his institution to promote and support immunization in the world.

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New documentary explores Cuba’s indigenous heritage

Havana, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) Filmmaker Ernesto Daranas directed the shooting of the documentary “Cuba Indigena” (Indigenous Cub), which brings people closer to traditions, customs and knowledge that contributed to the formation of the country’s identity.

The production by the Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) focuses on the lifestyles of residents in the communities of La Ranchería, La Escondida and Felicidad de Yateras, in the eastern province of Guantanamo, as well as in Bella Pluma in Santiago de Cuba.

According to Granma newspaper, the production team traveled through the mountains of the Sierra Maestra and the Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountain range, a difficult mission due to the conditions of the terrain, but which settles a debt of Daranas with himself and his geography professors, who emphasized the validity of the legacy of the Taino culture in Cuba.

Likewise, the audiovisual will be a testimony of the delivery of the results of comparative DNA tests, which are part of an investigation developed by the National Center of Medical Genetics, the text notes.

Conceived as a series of three one-hour chapters: El cacique de la montaña, Bella Pluma and Catalina la Grande, the film “synthesizes the experiences of aboriginal descendants in contemporary rural Cuba”.

Although there are few traces of our ancestors in Cuban audiovisuals, this new creation will mark a before and after in the documentary reflection of the Tainos, according to the publication.

Daranas has a prolific career in cinema and among his most renowned feature films are ¿La vida en rosa? (2004), Los dioses rotos (2008), Conducta (2014) and Sergio & Serguéi (2018), the latter two shown at international festivals in Europe and Latin America.

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Cuban President hghlighted final day of 37th Jazz Plaza Festival

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Havana, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, today highlighted the Cuba Vive gala, starring the pianist and composer Ignacio Nachito Herrera together with renowned instrumentalists from the United States and the island.

We enjoyed a masterful concert on the final day of the 37th International Jazz Plaza Festival, which sealed the triumph of music, solidarity and the highest human values, the president said on his Twitter account.

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In another tweet, the President described as moving the story of the musician, a survivor of Covid-19, who during the evening expressed his gratitude for the collaboration between doctors from the northern nation and his country of origin to save his life.

Accompanied by the Habana Jazz orchestra, the Entrevoces choir and the Amadeo Roldán conservatory student band, Herrera also shared the stage with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its principal conductor Enrique Pérez and the American conductor, Marlene Pauley, invited for the first time to the contest.

Coro-Entrevoces

As a fervent defender of dialogue between peoples, the Minnesota-based artist arrived in Havana with a solidarity load made up of medical supplies and musical instruments that went to the hands of the students of the island’s artistic education system.

The musician starred in two of the over 15 concerts held at four venues in the Cuban capital during the Festival, a contest that opened the calendar of events on the island and was present in person, online and through the national television signal.

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Musicians from nine countries participated in the musical event, which under strict health protocols, included six intense days of tributes, master classes, record presentations and live concerts.

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Cuba ratifies its commitment to quality education for all

Havana, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Monday ratified his country’s commitment to quality education for all, with universal and free coverage at every level of education.

In a message on his official Twitter account on International Education Day, the foreign minister stressed that Cuba maintains that will “despite the inhumane US blockade,” which hinders Cuba’s access to the supplies and technologies necessary for the sector.

“In Cuba, education is a right from birth,” Rodriguez tweeted.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed January 24 as International Day in celebration of the role that education plays in peace and development.

“Without quality, inclusive and equitable education for all and lifelong learning opportunities, countries will fail to achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty that leaves millions of children, youth and adults behind,” the UN said on its website.

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Putin and Diaz-Canel discuss strategic cooperation

Moscow, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Diaz-Canel, on Monday held an in-depth dialogue on economic and commercial cooperation and the investment projects between the two countries, the Kremlin reported on Monday.

During the talks, Diaz-Canel thanked Russia for the humanitarian assistance provided to Cuba to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the communiqué stated.

Putin and Diaz-Canel also discussed the importance to achieve greater coordination of joint actions in the international sphere, according to the principles of the strategic partnership and the traditions of friendship and mutual understanding.

The two heads of State confirmed the intention of working closely together to strengthen bilateral relations, and agreed to intensify contacts at several levels.

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Clinical trials of Cuba’s Mambisa vaccine candidate are advancing

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Havana, Jan 23 (Prensa Latina) The first clinical studies of the application of Cuba’s first nasal vaccine candidate, named Mambisa, to patients convalescing from Covid-19 and as a booster are ongoing.

The drug was created by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and demonstrates safety and immunogenicity in its phase I/II adaptive, randomized, parallel group development in 120 adult volunteers, as tweeted by the Center itself.

Three nasal administration drugs were compared during the first stage, two of them in the form of spray, and another in the form of drops, according to the scientific research center.

Mambisa proved safe, while the adverse events that were described were mostly mild, with no serious side effects, the CIGB assured, based on the data disclosed in the public registry of clinical trials.

The vaccine candidate induced an anti-RBD response more than four times the initial level in all groups.

It also increased the inhibitory capacity against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to more than 20 percent, at the systemic level and in the nasal mucosa.

Cuba achieved and has been applying since 2021 the Abdala vaccine, also developed by the CIGB, and the first vaccine to be created and produced in Latin America, with a proven efficacy of 92.28 percent, at the level of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s.

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France: Cuba deserves recognition for its resistance

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Paris, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) The Cuba Cooperation France Association (CubaCoop) affirmed today that the island and its people deserve a recognition and support for their resistance and dignity in the face of U.S. agressions and the blockade imposed on them.

Cuba faces with dignity multiple challenges and resists an unconventional war conceived, organized and financed by Washington, stressed the organization created in 1995 in its weekly publication La Lettre Électronique Hebdo.

In this regard, it denounced the objective of the United States to provoke a change of regime in the Caribbean country and its policy of economic, commercial and finacial blockade, which it considered the main obstacle for the development of the nation.

Signed by its president, Víctor Fernández, the article highlights the failure caused by the supportive Cuban people to a policy rejected by the international community, which causes severe difficulties and suffering to the population.

The island has the right to decide by its own its future and the country´s model, and that is the direction of the various reforms that its government is implementing with the active participation of its citizens, pointed out the French association involved in different projects for the socioeconomic development in Cuba.

CubaCoop reaffirmed its support to Cuba with two main strategies, the demand for an end to the criminal blockade and the promotion of scientific, economic and cultural cooperation initiatives between Paris and Havana.

According to Fernández, on Saturday the organization will decide its road map for collaboration with Cuba in the period 2022-2024, with proposals in the ambitious agenda in sectors such as water, agriculture, food security, health, transportation and renewable energies.

This week, the president of CubaCoop shared with Prensa Latina details of a project to support the preparation of Cuban athletes who will compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The initiative consists of agreeing with French municipalities to host Cuban Olympic and Paralympic athletes of different disciplines, who would arrive in those localities several days before entering the Paralympic or Olympic Village, in order to train under the best conditions.

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Japan donates to Cuba ultrasound equipment to produce Curmeric

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Tokyo, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) Japan’s Mitsui Onnetsu Co., Ltd. has donated to Cuba an ultrasound equipment that will help produce Curmeric, a natural medicine with proven antibacterial and antiviral action, diplomatic sources reported on Thursday.

According to the Cuban Embassy in Japan, the device left this Thursday for the Caribbean nation and should arrive in on Saturday.

“This equipment will be destined to the Calixto Garcia Hospital’s Theragnostic Laboratory to contribute to the production project of Curmeric, a natural product that contains extracts of curcuma longa and is registered in Cuba’s National Institute of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology,” the mission indicated.

It recalled that the formula showed high effectiveness to fight respiratory system infections, it began to be administered to suspected patients and contacts of Covid-19 cases in Ciego de Avila (center) and its use was extended to Havana (west) and Granma (east).

Curmeric, the Embassy added, is included in the rehabilitation protocol for convalescents of that disease and curcuma longa supplements lower glycemia, cholesterol and triglycerides in patients with diabetes and dyslipidemias.

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Cuban singer-songwriter Liuba María Hevia tour´s in Spain stands out

Liuba maría Hevia, gira, España

Havana, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuban singer-songwriter Liuva María Hevia prepares today her next acoustic concert Para volverte a ver, which she will perform to the audience of the Pequeño Teatro Gran Vía in the Spanish capital.

Acording to the Madrid newspaper Nueva Tribuna, Hevia will perform songs from her most recent album, which gives its name to the presentation, where she will perform some of the songs written during the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The publication highlights other notorious songs in her already long and fruitful career, such as Con los hilos de la luna (El abuelo), Ausencia, Vidas Paralelas or Si me falta tu sonrisa, which will have the musical accompaniment of Lino Lores.

During the show, the audiovisual Para volverte a ver, that introduces the artist, will be screened, along with the premiere of the music video of the song Tristeza, a duet with the Spanish Ana Belén,.

The singer-songwriter will make a tour through Spain and Portugal with her musicians, bringing her music and talent between May and August 2022.

The newspaper Nueva Tribuna placed Hevia among the essential voices in the Cuban and Spanish-American music scene and, in turn, recalled her tour of Spain in 2021.

It also mentions her performance at the Canción de Autor event, organizied by the SGAE Foundation at the Sala Berlanga in Madrid (and scheduled by singer-songwriter Pedro Guerra), and a conecert at the Villa del Libro in Ureña, among others.

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