Ensuring that the computerization of Cuban society contributes more, and more effectively, to the country’s economic development, and therefore, the population’s quality of life, is the principal challenge facing the Ministry of Communications. On this, everyone agreed, during a February 18 evaluation of the sector’s progress during 2018, led by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.
The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers placed special emphasis on quality, “as a golden rule for everything we do in the process of computerization.” Herein lies one of the major challenges, he said, to achieve sustainability in services provided and in the development of new applications of our own.
The problems and challenges are totally clear in this sector, Díaz-Canel said, and this objective analysis and self-criticism of an entire year’s work shows this.
“This has been an intense period, during which several issues were addressed, but that concluded with satisfactions, showing that we can advance much more in the process of computerization of society, and make this sustainable,” he said.
“The telecommunications sector is of great importance to the country and in the future even more so,” he emphasized.
As a basic premise, he stressed that a greater culture about the issue must be developed both in institutions and within the population.
To achieve a real computerization of society, that includes all aspects of life, he noted, more attention must be paid to the process, offering electronic government as an example and adding that having a web page was not enough, “All bodies and institutions must digitalize their processes, both those that are related to their own work and those directed toward the population.”
Referring to Cuban software enterprises, he insisted on their ability to motivate, accelerate, and dynamize the development of applications and programs, constituting the most direct link with the non-state sector, in which great potential exists as a complement to our state economy.
He highlighted the role of the Union of Computer Technicians and the need for this group to guide and facilitate the computerization process at different entities.
The President likewise insisted that Computing and Electronics Youth Clubs must be included in all that is done in the field, noting that these community sites will have an increasingly important role to play, as one of the state institutions closest to Cuban families.
He also emphasized the challenge of modernizing the country’s postal service, ensuring that its development is in line with international trends.
He reiterated the importance of increasing the presence of novel Cuban content on the web and social media; continuing to move forward in digital television; and developing more applications for cell phones, to contribute to the country’s technological sovereignty.
These reflections came after a rich debate which made clear the objectivity and coherence with which the sector has implemented plans to address the most pressing needs imposed by the country’s development.
Outlining accomplishments and mistakes, Minister of Communications Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella acknowledged how much remains to be done to make the work more efficient and less bureaucratic, closer to the population’s expectations.
We have the potential to diversify income from exports, he said. And we can do more to develop productive chains with different sectors, contribute to the substitution of imports, and attract foreign investment to increase funding, “The information technology industry has export potential, on which we must continue working,” he said.
In terms of electronic government, the principal impact is in facilitating transactions to meet the population’s needs. This should be seen not only in state enterprises affiliated with the Ministry, he noted, since we must serve as the guiding body, so that anyone seeking to develop their processes can get help to solve their problems.
As day to day challenges, he noted linking research with innovation; using public communication to keep the population informed of every step taken, to maintain strong ties; establish priorities; work intelligently to take advantage of strengths; consult those with the most experience in different areas and listen to them, to strengthen daily work.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IS A PRIORITY
During the afternoon, the President interacted with participants in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment’s annual review, and emphasized, “Many of the complex problems the country faces can only be resolved through science and innovation.”
In her report, Minister Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya summarized work done throughout the year 2018, both in carrying out the Ministry’s guiding role and improving internal functioning to better fulfill this responsibility.
She pointed out that policies recently approved on the country’s scientific and environmental systems must be implemented this year, and careful follow-up will be needed.
In the subsequent broad discussion, elements emphasized included the importance of preserving and developing the country’s scientific potential, which must be complemented by the training of professionals within industry, to support the implementation of research findings.
Roberto Morales Ojeda, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, noted progress in the Ministry’s work, over the period being discussed, insisting that this year its role as the country’s guiding body in these fields must be consolidated.
President Díaz-Canel noted the importance of work done to complete tasks around the country as part of Tarea Vida (the country’s climate change mitigation plan), and the great effort the Ministry has been making for several years to preserve historical memory, the nation’s patrimony that different institutions have in their possession.
He also insisted that to develop a well functioning system of work, maintaining permanent ties with the grassroots is key, to understand the problems that exist in different sectors of the economy and achieve real integration of efforts to remove obstacles and have a greater impact in the economy and society.
He recalled that as a premise in daily work, cadres must constantly consider scientific research, the computerization of society, and public information, in such a way that they contribute to the development of different sectors.
Every time we approach a topic we must call on and listen to those who know more, who have more knowledge, to find quality solutions, he emphasized.
This is why all ministries must go to universities, present their research needs, and at the same time listen to their ideas. The integration of universities and different research centers must be a priority in day-to-day work, which will allow for greater development.When referring to the training of PhDs, he emphasized that sometimes topics related to innovation are addressed that could provide important solutions, but do not lead to a doctoral theses. “We can do much more in doctoral training; the country needs it.”He insisted on the importance of work in the selection and preparation of a new generation of scientists in universities and research centers, as these young people represent the scientific potential we have today. “We must be clear about who are the most capable, how we serve them, how we motivate them, how we prepare them.”In conclusion, he stressed that the best approach to any problem is guided by a focus on sustainable development, integrating the economy, society, and the environment, including all knowledge and technologies.