21 | 07 | 2019

Francis and Fidel in Havana. Foto: Alex Castro / CubadebateMonsignor Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed in a press conference held this Sunday, September 20, that Pope Francis met with the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz, after the mass.
According to Lombardi Pope Francis and Fidel held a pleasant meeting which lasted between 30-40 minutes.

Pope Francis in Havana. Foto: Roberto Suárez / GranmaPope Francis arrived in Havana at 3:51pm, on Saturday afternoon, September 19, 2015, and was received by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, on the tarmac of José Martí International Airport. Accompanying the President during the welcome ceremony was Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who also greeted the Pope at the foot of the Alitalia aircraft’s staircase.

During this rainy season, generally defined as May through October, the lack of precipitation continues to be evident. Reservoirs are well below capacity and underground water sources are falling as compared to previous months. In addition, high temperatures are causing increased evaporation. These factors are limiting water availability for the population, agriculture, industry and service providers, thus implying the need for serious efforts to minimize usage, as has been reiterated by the National Institute of Water Resources.

Ceremony in Santiago de Cuba. Foto: Miguel Noa Menéndez / CubadebateJust as the Centenary Generation embraced the emancipatory ideas of the patriots who waged Cuba’s wars of independence, and held these ideas close as they assaulted the Moncada Garrison that July 26, of 1953, today representatives of younger generations of Cubans enter what is now a school led by the hands of those men who risked their lives to win freedom that morning of St. Anne’s Day.

Raúl Castro. Foto: Studio RevoluciónSpeech presented by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closure of the National Assembly of People’s Power Eighth Legislature’s Fifth Period of Ordinary Sessions, in the Havana Convention Center, July 15, 2015, Year 57 of the Revolution (Council of State transcript)

Compañeras and compañeros:

Over the last few months we have witnessed several events of great importance to the country, about which you and our people have been informed in a timely fashion.

As is customary, deputies have received abundant information about the performance of the economy during the first half of the year, and estimates through the end of the year.

The decelerating growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product - known as GDP – a trend which has appeared in recent years, has clearly been reversed. As of June 30, the GDP had grown 4.7%, and we estimate that at the conclusion of the year it will stand at about 4%. And this is very good, considering that last year we only grew 1%. Nevertheless, to reach the expected 4%, we must work hard and in a very disciplined manner, above all in the economic sphere, as Minister of the Economy Marino Murillo indicated.

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