Seeks closer ties with major Russian city

By Felipe Pagliery  (Progreso Weekly) 

Fidel Castro Diaz Balart
Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart and Ambassador Emilio Losada García meet with Novosibirsk Mayor Anatoly Lokot.

HAVANA TIMES – Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, the Cuban leader’s eldest son, met Friday (March 27) in Novosibirsk with the city’s mayor, Anatoly Lokot, and the region’s governor, Vladimir Gorodetsky, to discuss closer relations between Cuba and the region in general and its scientific institutions in particular.

[The visit to Russia by Fidelito, as he is known in Cuba, comes a month after his encounter at a Habano cigar party with US billionaire Paris Hilton in Havana.]

Castro was accompanied by the Cuban ambassador to Russia, Emilio Losada García, and the first secretary of the Cuban Embassy, Daniel Carrasco Vivanco.

Vladimir Gorodetsky
Vladimir Gorodetsky

During their stay in Novosibirsk, the Cuban representatives toured the scientific center known as the Novosibirsk Technopark, the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science (SBRAS), the Institute of Chemical Biology and Basic Medicine of the SBRAS, and Novosibirsk State University (NSU). They also met with representatives of the city’s scientific community.

The city of Novosibirsk is in southwestern Siberia. It is Russias third-largest city, after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Castro, 64, has a background in nuclear physics, having studied in the former Soviet Union at Moscow’s Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. He holds two doctorates in science and is scientific advisor to the Cuban government.

Castro told his hosts that the Novosibirsk region is of great interest to Cuba in several areas, especially the development of biotechnologies and metallurgy.

This was his second visit to Novosibirsk since the mid-1980s, Castro told the press. At that time, “we toured Akademgorodok [the region’s scientific center] and met with physicists. I got a very good impression from the city and the people.

Cuban ambassador to Russia Emilio Losada García with Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart.
Cuban ambassador to Russia Emilio Losada García with Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart.

“Like last time, our greatest interest today is Akademgorodok, with its bio- and nano-technology research and innovative projects. We are also interested in the training and exchange of researchers.

“In a new phase, we intend to expand cooperation in science, industry and business. Your background and experience constitute a good basis for the establishment of joint projects.”

Several decisions were made at the meetings, among them

— an exchange of specialists in crude oil extraction and refining;

— a study by the Novosibirsk health authorities of the advances in medicine developed in Cuba, and greater cooperation between Havana and Novosibirsk in the field of health care;

— the presence of a Novosibirsk delegation at the Havana International Fair in November;

— Cuba’s participation in the international expositions held in Novosibirsk;

— increased tourism from the Russian city to the Caribbean island, and expanded cultural and educational exchanges;

— greater cooperation in all fields of endeavor, an effort that Ambassador Losada called “a priority.”

Mayor Lokot said that he would be happy to designate Novosibirsk as a sister city of Havana. Alluding to the recent contacts between Cuba and the United States, he pointed out that Minneapolis and St. Paul have been Novosibirsk’s sister cities since 1989.


31 thoughts on “Fidel Jr. Back in the News

  • Over at Thorntree, Cuba Branch, there was a recent discussion about living conditions in Cuba. A recent, first time, visitor reported that in effect Cuba was a Third World hell hole. This generated dozens of replies from regular visitors to Cuba, many of whom also often travel to other nations in the Caribbean, Central- and South-America, Africa, South- and South-East Asia, etc. For the most part, in comparison with typical Third World nations, for example, Indonesia, they reported that daily and typical life of most Cubans is much better. Sure, they don’t live on the level of the First World, but much much better than most of the so-called “Free World” countries they visit. Many of the folks who reported this are no fans of the Cuban Revolution, either. Nevertheless, they are honest in their assessments.
    I have visited, and even stayed with, Cuban friends whose daily living situation runs the gamut from truly distressed to First World standards (even w/in the same family, with two brothers living in squalor, but their two sisters with homes on the levels of the First World (i.e. nice furniture, Haier refrigerators, newer stoves, stereos, flat-screened tv’s, CD players, nice decor, recently repainted, etc. etc.) The conditions which tie the Cubans with better standards of living together is that (a) they are ambitious, and work on the side, in addition to their $20/month state job (or are self-employed, either part- or full-time) or (b) they have family members living abroad (Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, the U.S., Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil or Canada) who send remittances
    home. If there is one big problem, it is that after a half-century of working for the state (“The State pretends to pay me, and I pretend to work!”), many folks lack either the ambition, or the imagination, to figure out alternatives. One friend who is constantly complaining about his poverty-sticken state really does have talents which, if put to use, could give him a far better life. (He knows all about medicinal herbs. I’ve given him a camera and suggested he take fotos of them as he walks down the street, write up a page on each, put them into a book and self-publish it. Unfortunately, he seems locked in negative mode.
    One of the principal errors of the Revolution was to abolish mid-sized and small businesses in 1968. Fortunately, this error is in the process of being rectified.
    What you (implicity) call for is democracy, but it is really “demockracy,” in that its nature has been utterly subverted here in the U.S. by the wealth and power of the big corporations and the “to big to fail” investment banks who have successfully bought most politicians, especially on the national and state levels. Any student of history can tell you this has happened time and again, beginning with the Greek city-states (and probably long before them, but lost in the sands of time), going up through the Roman Republic, and continuing to our own times. At least in the U.S. real wages (adjusted for inflation), with minor dips, kept going up from the founding of our nation, in1776, until the early 1980’s. The last 35 years, though, have seen a dramatic redistribution of the wealth towards the top 1% at the expense of the American middle- and working-classes. Ditto in politics. With what it now costs to mount a campaign, all but the most wealthy, or those backed by the $$$ of the large multi-national corporations, can forget about obtaining political office–and power. Although Cuba is no New Jerusalem, nevertheless, even with its one party state, it contains more real democracy, and the potential for real democracy, than the U.S.

  • I see you know very little of Cuba and it’s history. It’s evident in your posts.

  • Hahahahaha

  • Your generosity is welcome and needed.
    The sad part is that it was Castro style socialism that drove Cuba to the ground and made it a beggar country.

    I find it interesting that those who are well off are looking to move to Cuba and those who are suffering in Cuba are looking to leave.

    Its a never ending wonder to walk into a supermarket with someone newly arrived and watch as they stare in wonder at all the fresh produce.

    I council you against moving to Cuba. As a foreigner things may be easier for you. But there are many hardships due to scarcity that even money cant solve.

  • Fidel is the best thing that ever happened to Cuba,the cause of the disaster in Cuba is the country you chose,AMERICA, you traded your honor for disaster,America is the cause of hardships in your excoubtry, started with Kennedy, but true to honor Cuba survived, so your parents left and took you to the land of opportunity,do you hear gun shots every night? lots of coke in your hood? how are your kids doing?I’ve been to Miami and all over Cuba, I’ll take Cuba any day,

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