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Cross-Border Program In Havana Huge Success For All
As of March 26, 2017
April 7, 2014
ELECTRI International’s 2014 Cross-Border Meeting welcomed NECA members and their guests as they gathered in Havana. The group of 100 included contractors and guests from the US and Ecuador, plus several top officials and professionals from Havana.
Upon arrival in Cuba on March 26th, guests were warmly welcomed to Havana’s Hotel Parque Central. That evening’s Welcome Reception and Dinner took place at Santo Angel, Plaza Vieja.
On Thursday morning, March 27th, meeting participants heard several valuable presentations. Each one highlighted a particular aspect of Cuba’s efforts in business development, the country’s infrastructure, and construction.
Miguel Alejandro Figueras, Senior Professor of Economics at the University of Havana, offered a Touristic Overview of Cuba. He especially noted the increase in visitors from the USA in recent years, and then pointed out the lost economic opportunities for Americans and Cubans during that same timeframe.
Next on the agenda was an overview of the National Association of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba (UNAICC), presented by Rosa Cecilia Calzado Brossard, President of Cuba’s Society of Mechanical, Electrical, and Industrial Engineers. She highlighted how engineers within UNAICC work in construction companies throughout Cuba. She also mentioned the current renovation project of the Capitol building in Havana which resembles the US Capitol in Washington D.C. More information about Cuba’s restoration efforts can be found at http://www.museumofthecity.org/sustainable-development-old-havana-historic-preservation.
Following a coffee break with lots of introductions and discussions, the topic turned to Infrastructure and Business Development Efforts in Cuba. First, Pedro L. Padron from Cuba’s Political-Commercial Bureau for North America offered the perspective of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment. His report on Commercial Relations between Cuba and the USA offered the Cuban government’s perspective on the US embargo and the damage that the blockade has done to the Cuban people. Padron expressed Cuba’s desire to work with people from the USA.
Oscar Hernández Jiménez and Raúl Olivares, both Business Specialists from the Cuban Ministry of Basic Industry (including energy, geology and mining), then answered questions from the US participants about the EC industry and practices in Cuba.
While US participants were especially interested in learning about business opportunities that will develop in Cuba in the coming years, the delegates from Cuba were equally interested in finding ways to improve their access to renewable energy and to take maximum advantage of retrofitting Cuba’s infrastructure. David R. Riley, Associate Professor, Department of Architectural Engineering, Penn State University, led a lively presentation and discussion, The Energy Revolution. Professor Riley pointed out how Cuba experienced peak energy needs following the collapse of the Soviet Union and had to completely revitalize its agricultural industry without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The country has successfully implemented organic farming programs.
Friday’s agenda included two site visits, arranged with the enthusiastic assistance of ELECTRI’s hosts in Cuba. The first stop was at the Restoration of the Segundo Cabo Palace in Havana, a multilateral project funded by the UNESCO and the European Union. A representative from the City Historian’s Office of Havana was on site to explain the history of the area and the Palace. Additional information about the restoration can be found at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/brussels/about-this-office/single-view/news/unescoeu_project_restoration_of_the_segundo_cabo_palace_in_la_havana and http://segundocabo.ohc.cu.
Participants then visited the Faculty of Engineering University Center José Antonio Echeverría. A presentation by José Maria Ameneiros Martinez, Director of International Relations, explained Cuba’s education system, including student selection and job placement after graduation.
The Farewell Reception and Dinner were held Friday evening at the internationally renowned Club Havana. Cross-Border delegates were joined by several senior representatives from Cuba. These included Rosa Cecilia Calzado Brossard, President, and Gema Gallardo Nonell, Executive Secretary, both representing Cuba’s National Union of Architects and Construction Engineers; University of Havana Senior Professor Miguel Alejandro Figueras; and Mercedes Elesther, President, National Unión of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba, and Yanet La O Alarcón, Political-Commercial Bureau for North America, Ministry of Foreign Trade.
ELECTRI International’s annual Cross-Border Meeting is designed as an interchange of ideas and practices among electrical construction professionals from many parts of the world. For additional information about the Foundation and how you can participate in future events, please visit www.elecri.org or contact Russell Alessi, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.