1. What is the stance of your country on the issue of global terrorism? What should be done to curb this fatal issue?
We are against any kind of terrorism and this is our national stance. We are against its trainers, financers and conspirators. It is inhuman act which discourages civility and socio-economic integration. We should find-out the root causes of terrorism. Instead of military operation we should also think and apply other means of development, diplomacy, engage dialogue and all possible politics. It is widespread fatal phenomena which has become serious global issue. Integrated global response is must for managing the terrorism problem.
2. How you rate Cuba’s relations with Iran? What are your suggestions to resolow you rate Cuba’s relations with Iran? What are your suggestions to resolve the alleged Iranian nuclear program?alleged Iranian nuclear program?
We have cordially and friendly relations with Iran. The relations between Teheran and Havana are very strong and with excellent prospects. Our bilateral ties with Iran are based on mutual respect, cooperation and coordination. We are cooperating in different projects and we are working on a bio-gas project in Iran too. Despite the geographic distance between both countries, cooperation relations are in full swing. There are other projects underway in the agriculture sector, in the food industry and in the communications sector. Every country has equal right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. We are in favour of peaceful nuclear program. So we support Iranian nuclear program for peaceful means.
3. How you rate your bilateral ties with Russia?
Cuba has had very friendly ties with Russia. We have strategic-oriented diplomatic ties with Russia. We hope after the state visit of Russia the bilateral ties would be further enhanced.
4. How you evaluate your ties with USA. What are the curial issues between the two countries?
Cuba has had bitter ties with the USA. We have been facing socio-economic embargo. We have been at receiving end due to the USA’s political isolation policies. The total loss in terms of monetary damage is $100 billion dollars. The USA has been scheming; initiating conspiracies and financing the terrorist groups against us. The USA used every possible method to destroy us because we have different political system and philosophy.
5. What are the salient features of your country’s foreign policy?
We have foreign policy of a sovereign country. We believe in mutual cooperation, coordination and collaboration without any conditions. We want friendly diplomatic ties with our neighbor countries. We want socio-economic relations with the regional and other states in the world on mutually beneficial manners. The core of our foreign policy is our people and protection of our country and land too.
6. What are the levels of freedom of press and expression in your country?
We do care all the basic rights of our people. We have complete freedom of press. People enjoy complete freedom of expression in legitimate means.
7. What is the future of NPT?
It is highly sensitive issue which should be resolved on global scale. It must be applied on all the countries irrespective of its size, military power of economic might.
8. What are the prospects of having mutual military cooperation between the two countries?
Right now, we have no military cooperation between us. We have great respect for Pakistan Armed Forces. Both countries should use their capacity for expanding military cooperation in the days to come.
9. How you rate your diplomatic ties and socio-economic relations with other Latin American countries?
We have friendly diplomatic ties with other neighboring countries of Latin America. Actually, we are the first country to stand for “Local Solutions for Latin America”. We are actively engaged in our regional socio-economic integration.
10. What are the chances of having regional energy cooperation among the Latin American countries?
Chances are bright and huge. We are moving in right direction and with the passage of time it would be increased.
11. What is the importance of your Revolution Day?
It is the story of 50 years. Anti-imperialism is the most significant aspect of the struggle of Cuba. Cuba has shown that it is possible for the weak to stand up and resist a superpower. The revolution still goes on. It is triumph of human spirits. It reflects our collective wisdom, national character, and moreover strength of our HRM too. It is a socio-economic miracle. It is for the people and by the people. It has produced change in our agriculture, commerce, trade and politics. It is story of determination, commitment, endurance, tolerance and above all consistency. We survived against all odds and socio-economic embargo from the nearby United States.
12. Despite the tough geo-political, geo-strategic scenarios and socio-economic embargo how you managed economic self-reliance in your country?
Secrete of our economic self-reliance is our strong human resource management system. It is indeed our socio-economic backbone. It is our national asset. Despite all hardships and geo-political or geo-strategic opposition we succeeded to achieve our desired goals due to excellent HRM system. Our strong belief in local wisdom and talent give us cushion against all odds. We succeeded to overcome our socio-economic difficulties due to our HRM system. We invested in social sector and now we have excellent doctors, educationists, scientists, engineers, and agriculturists. We worked on our agriculture sector and succeeded to increase our agro-production.
13. What is special about Cuban health care system?
Cuba spends its 60% of budget on social sector. The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of its citizens. From small surgery of finger to open heart surgery it is free of cost to Cuban people. No private hospitals or clinics are permitted. The doctor-to-population ratios is 1:123. We follow the divine philosophy of prevention. The Cuban constitution says “everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers; by providing free dental care; by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease. All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations The Ministry of Health and similar organizations are providing public health services for the greatest possible number of persons, institute a program of preventive medicine, and orient the public to the performance of hygienic practices.
14. What is the significance of educational system of Cuba? What is the literacy rate of Cuba?
Education is the learning of knowledge, information and skills during the course of life. The history shows that the education in Cuba has become a top priority for the government since its independence. The people of Cuba have realized the importance of acquiring education and they have firmly accepted the fact that education is the basic need of the nation and the modern day requirements of success and prosperity of nation. The Cuban educational system stands alongside the health care system as the post-revolution achievement of which Cubans are most proud. We have 100 percent literacy rate. The education is Cuba is free and compulsory. We lead all the Latin American countries in educational sector.
15. What is the significance of Cuba’s self-sustainable food production program?
Cuba has achieved self-reliance in its food production. Over the past decade, Cuba has increased domestic food production through dramatically restructuring agricultural production, distribution and marketing systems within an environmentally and socially sustainable framework. Cuba is moving towards food self-sufficiency, due in part to a thriving small-scale farm sector, widespread community and household gardens, and direct marketing networks. Cuban agricultural policy promotes ecologically sustainable production through soil conservation, organic soil inputs, biological pest control, and the reincorporation of rural and urban populations into agriculture. Organic and biologically intensive farming are now producing its results. Much of the Cuban ability to greatly increase food production on small farms came from utilizing this indigenous knowledge. Coupled with experts and extension personnel who were brought in as consultants, this indigenous knowledge was very important, and the people who addressed our delegation were proud of this fact. Cuba continues to develop organic agriculture and biotechnology technologies. At present Cuba does not produce any transgenic crops or livestock.
16. What are the prospects of socio-economic development/growth of Cuba in 2008?
The economy of Cuba is a planned. Despite the severest hurricane we may succeed to achieve our macro-economy targets. The high ratios of inflation, fuel and food prices have some effects on our economy. We would achieve our 6.7-8 percent of GDP in 2008.
17. His Excellency How you compare culture of Cuba with the native country. Further more do you like your stay in Pakistan?
We both have different cultures. We have different ways of doing things, celebrating parties and arranging weeding ceremonies. We have different customs, traditions and attitudes. Cuba is the blend of many cultures and a meeting point of European, African, Amerindian and continental North American cultures. We have rich culture which is colorful, energetic, cooperative and decent. Our music is famous allover the world. Our sports men achieved glory and recognition throughout the world. We have strong family system as of you in Pakistan. Pakistan is wonderful country to live in. People are brave, cooperative, decent and liberal. Pakistan has rich culture and custodian of great ancient heritage.
18. Sound and people’s friendly social policy plays very important role in the overall socio-economic stability and suitability in any country. What is special about your country social policy in 2008?
The main core of our social policy is human resource management and development of our social system. We spend 60 percent our budget on social sector development. Main focus of our social policy is education, health, housing, agricultural productivity, food self-reliance and above all belief in local wisdom and solutions.
19. What are the prospects and scope of alternate energy resources? What are your suggestions to explore the different energy resources?
Easy and smooth supply of energy resources has become the mantra of every nation around the globe. It has become one of the essential part of their foreign policies too. The other all possible energy resources like bio-gas, bio-fuel, wind, solar and alternative energy means should also be explored.
20. Cuba has rich culture, civilization, heritage and history and Pakistan too. How, the cultural activities and heritage exchange could be enhanced between the two countries.
Strong culture bindings are essential for closer bilateral ties between the two countries. It changes the perceptions. It spreads accurate information. It reflects the diversity and works for the integration. It may provide you better understanding of other country’s culture, heritage, history, politics and economics too. It promotes spirits of cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the two countries. It gives you eternal feelings of caring and sharing. People-to-people interaction, exchange of cultures tours, promotion of tourism activities and above all exchange of information would play very important role in the promotion and strengthening of culture ties between us. We hope that bonds of friendship and brotherhood, which exist between the peoples, shall, grow further and gather strength in the years ahead.
21. How you evaluate bilateral relations between the two countries?
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were first established on October 28, 1955. Pakistan and Cuba enjoy cordial and friendly relations. After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Cuba had sent over 2,400 physicians and paramedical staff and established 32 field hospitals and two relief camps in the NWFP and Kashmir. We also sent tons of medical equipment and medicines. Approximately 30 amputee patients were flown to Cuba for treatments. During the time of crisis our medical teams performed 601,369 consultations, 5,925 surgeries including 2,819 major surgeries and served at 44 different locations in the quake affected region. Now, both sides are agreed that the bilateral relations should be made stronger in coming days.
22. Pace and volumes of bilateral trade cements overall bilateral ties between the countries. What is the volume of bilateral trade between the countries?
The current level of bilateral trade is $ 500 million. The geography plays very important role in the volumes of bilateral trade because we are situated faraway from Pakistan. We are considering lots of possibilities to increase our bilateral trade volumes in the days to come. Cuba has good relations with Pakistan for 52 years and now businesspeople of Pakistan and Cuba should cooperate for the interest of the both nations.
23. Ours is the age of economics, what are your suggestions to improve economic integration between the two countries in the days to come?
Economic integration is must for socio-economic prosperity, stability and sustainability. Both the countries have a joint economic commission with the goal to expand economic cooperation between the two nations. We may share cooperation in rice, surgical and sports goods.
24. Would you please tell us the potential sectors of mutual cooperation between the two countries?
Both the countries are also intended to enhance cooperation in the fields of agriculture, industry, textile, leather goods, cotton, optical photo, fish, vegetables, cereals, sugar, milling products, dairy products, sugar confectionery, food, higher education and science and technology
25. What are the prospects of having joint ventures and what are the specific fields where we can have joint ventures in the future?
The joint commission would explore the different areas of mutual cooperation and joint ventures in the future. We may extend our expertise in agro-production, genetic technology, genetic Engineering vaccines, health, education, biotechnology and research.
26. What are the prospects of Cuban private companies and businessmen investments in our country?
We are here to facilitate businessmen of both the countries to make investments. Private people, companies and chambers of commerce would play important role in foreign direct investments in both the countries.
27. How you evaluate the student exchange program between the two countries?
We have student exchange program. We granted one thousand student scholarships to the government of Pakistan and in 2005 and 2006, the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan sent 354 students to Cuba to study Medicine and Surgery on scholarship. The health care system in Cuba is better than in the United States and Pakistani students will receive the best medical education recognized by the World Health Organization. We can also exchange our qualitative edge in agro-sciences and alternative energy resources.
28. Do you satisfy with diversified but integrated incentives and programs of higher education of Pakistan?
Both the countries have elaborated plans to improve the cooperation in higher education, especially in the field of biotechnology, which will include exchange of scientists, joint research programmes and collaboration between industries in Cuba and Pakistan People in higher education of Pakistan are very talented, educated and committed in their noble mission. Now, there are 956 Pakistanis students study in Cuba which has become reality due to the efforts of higher education of Pakistan.
29. What are your suggestions to improve the education, health, governance and political system in Pakistan?
Right from the beginning we started different programs of social development in our country which is now paying its dividends. We are now producing excellent doctors, engineers, skilled workers, agriculture scientists, sport-men which are second to none and it is because of our social sector strength. We have immaculate system of human resource management which is the backbone of our socio-economic advancement and political stability. More focus should be given to social sector development.
30. How Pakistan can enhance its soft image in the international markets?
Soft image is an essential commodity in international markets. It promotes socio-economic activities. It encourages FDI and stands for decency, liberalization and tolerance too. National media can play to promote soft image. Proper marketing and advertising efforts of your rich heritage, colorful culture, beautification of natural sceneries and resources and above all portraying of ancient civilizations would be instrumental to enhance soft image.
31. Emerging global warming is a serious threat. What should be done to control it to make our planet save?
It is a global phenomenon. It requires a combined effort. It needs complete overhauling in our energy resources, ways of living and economies. Sincere and integrated efforts should be initiated to save our planet for the next generations.
32. Why talks on WTO are not becoming successful? Are you in favour of economic protectionism or free & fair international trade?
Free and fair international trade is must for the success of WTO talks. We support a equitable and mutually beneficial system of international trade. We are against any socio-economic imperialism.
33. What is your message to common people of Pakistan?
We stand with you in our happiness and sorrows. You are committed and commendable nation. You are educated, tolerant and peace-loving country. We wish a stable and strong Pakistan. We wish a bright socio-economic system in your country. We pray all your dreams may come true in the days to come.