Ambassador Raúl Delgado Concepcion Mongolia have huge opportunities in tourism industry

Gogo Mongolia is introducing the honorable Ambassador H.E. Mr. Raúl Delgado Concepcion of Republic of Cuba to Mongolia. He is serving as Cuban ambassador to Mongolia since 2017 and he has previously served as Consul in the Consulate of Cuba in Toronto, Canada.

“IN THE LAST 10 YEARS WE HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED ALSO TOURISM INDUSTRY AND MEDICAL SERVICES”

-Thank you for accepted our interview invitation. Next year will be 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Cuba. What is the plan of celebration for this anniversary year?
-First of all, Welcome to very small place which is representing 11 million people. I’m appreciate your interesting interview as ambassador in here Mongolia. Thank you very much to GoGo.mn website. 

Next year we're going to accomplish 60 year of anniversary of our diplomatic relations which were established in 7th of December in 1960. Cuba was the first country in whole America to establish diplomatic relation with Mongolia. 60 is very long duration. And during this period we have achieved so many things together and we have consolidated our friendship. We have been part of the national community in achieving peace prosperity on solidarity between the two countries. Which is very important for Cuba and we have been planning with Mongolian authorities for celebrating the 60th anniversary together. In the way that should be find a way that who represented the level of our relations in the political, in the economical and in the social - in all kind of ways. 

So we have been coordinating together and have few activities for the next year that they will commemorate that big date between the two countries. In the past, Raúl Castro President of Cuba visited to Mongolia and also Elbedorj.Ts, former president of Mongolia visited in Cuba in 2016. So we have common history until now 60 year and working together for those things. 

-What are the key economic products of Cuba?
-As you know in the past, during the socialist time Cuba is on a small island 109 884 square kilometers compared to Mongolia which is 1.5 million square kilometers. So Cuba can be 14 times in the territory of Mongolia. And in the past we were developed few sectors as a sugar and sugar cane which is our main product during the socialist time. But we also produce nickel, rum, tobacco, agricultural products etc. Now because of the low prices of the sugar is our main industries to the tourist industry. But we still keep in all industry as nickel and we still produce a very good amount of tons of nickel and we still produce tobacco, sugar, citric and coffee. So those are our main sectors right now. 

In the last 10 years we have been developed also tourism industry and medical services, also pharmaceutical industry which is right now is very big in Cuba and one of our main export of products. 

-You mentioned that medicine sector. Is there any service or products export to Mongolia?
-In the past, our main products that we export to Mongolia, we used to have trade before the socialist time between Cuba Mongolia. For instance, most of that trade was inter change as we receive from Mongolia leather, meat and fabric. Meanwhile we used to export sugar cane, alcohol and citric products to Mongolia in that time. 

Now our main issues are regarding with the medical services on biotechnology pharmaceutical products to Mongolia. This is our main sector right now and the way that we are cooperating economic field with Mongolia.

 

“IN CUBA MONGOLIAN STUDENTS ARE STUDYING IN MAINLY MEDICINE AND OTHER ENGINEERS FIELDS”

-How many Mongolia students study in Cuba, especially in medicine sector?
-Historically, we started to offer to Mongolia scholarships in 1963 and until now more than 175 students have been already studied in Cuba. But those numbers are not represent the real help in scholarship which is Cuba offer to Mongolia. Right now, there are around 19 Mongolian students are studying in Cuba in different career but mainly medicine and other engineers fields. Those students will be back to Mongolia with their very good knowledge on and they can be very useful for the Mongolian society. In every year, we offer three scholarship to Mongolia. So those kids can go to Cuba which is have free medicine and also engineering fields in Cuban universities.

-Is there any exchange program to Mongolian doctors and nurses with Cubans? 
-As I mentioned regarding with our economical trade, we have 4 doctors working here in Mongolia as part of the trade which is also representing interchange in terms of for knowledge with Mongolia. Right now doctors working on also health authorities from Cuba have good interchange with those Mongolian hospitals and clinics. These represent a very big step we signed a couple years ago on now. Agreement to recognize to knowledge and university degrees study titles to both countries. So this is our huge step because when after those students finished their study in Cuba they will arrive here in Mongolia automatically and certificate of graduating recognized by the Mongolian authorities which is very good. 

In the interchange, our economic relation that we have in the medical sectors it’s also interchange of those knowledge in terms of medicine and medical sector. 

-I’m wondering that how Cuba could reached to the high development of the medical sector.
-We have been working from the very beginning of the triumph of Revolution in 1959. We had at that time just 3000 doctors in Cuba in the population of the 4-5 million people which was very few. So one of the big main task of the revolution was to prepare people to taking care of the people in Cuba. That’s why we started our medical programs in Cuba. From there to now, 100 thousand doctor have been graduate from medicine in Cubans which is represented a huge amount of doctors per habitants. In Cuba, we have per capita in one doctor to every 100 people which is one of the best statistics around the world.

So you can make a comparison Cuba how small amount of doctors graduated since the beginning of the revolution down the whole continent of Africa. For example, we have the same amount of doctors that the 58 countries in Africa. So we also have been helping many other third world countries as bringing their students to Cuba to study. Right now more than 19 000 students are studying in Cuban medicine or another careers for free which is our huge effort for the Cuban people and Cuban government to try to help those countries that they don't have the possibilities to offer that careers to those students. 
 

-Is the salary of doctors higher than other professions in Cuba?
-Our salary system it's even though the doctors are one of the highest salaries in Cuba. And they’re representing on our priority and very strong positions to state economy. The average of doctor’s salary in Cuba is one of the highs if you compare with other professions in Cuba. But it's more than that in the case of Cuba, we are not measuring their use or wellness of the job that you’re doing because of the salary. But in the other hand, is what you can do it for the society. For example in Cuba, we have been coverage 100 percent of our population and the health system in Cuba have been remarked as one of the best in the world by many international organizations. Because we have been developed on a health system that cover whole areas as far as the society from the base to the top in 3 main stage. First stage is our family doctors - we have one family doctor in every neighborhood. There are more than 19 000 medical family doctor. 

Secondly, stage of the polyclinic which have been graded with the last the technology to attend. Then the third stage is the hospital. So we are trying to solve the problem from the base preventing healthcare system better than trying to cure the patient when have no solution for his problem. So we have been taking care our people from the base. And that's what we have been achieved one of the best statistics in terms of health in the world. We have 4.0 births mortality rate which is better that Canada (5) and United States (6) if you compare with. 

So for the Cuba, which is third world country if you compare our economy with other big countries to achieve those statistics in terms of health it's telling the will of the government to taking care of our people. Regardless the USA blockade to Cuba which is provokes enormous damage to our economy for more than 60 years right now. Blockade constitute the biggest difficult to the Cuban people to our economic, financial and commercial development.  

We have been forced us to find our own solutions in every stage of the economy but especially in the health care which has been one of the most damage one when we cannot find our medicines or medical equipment to kill our children, for example. We have been denounced this in many forums on especially in United Nations General Assembly our resolution has been condemns this cruel policy. This year for 28th year consecutive we are going to present our Resolution that has been voted 27th times in the past years by the majority of the countries claiming to the United States to stop this blockade against Cuba which is our main damage to our economy in these 60 years of revolution. 

“TOURISM IS ONE OF OUR POSSIBILITY OF COLLABORATION WITH MONGOLIA”

-Please share about the tourist industry of Cuba?
-We started to develop the tourism sector since 1989. When socialist time, camp was down in East Europe. We have been forced to find ways to engage our economy which has more than 80 percent of our trade was with their socialist countries in that time. So we loose from one day to another 80 percent of our trade partners. So we started to develop tourist industry at that time with less than 300 thousand tourists per year.

Last year, we have been archived for 4.8 million tourists and has more than 400 hotels in Cuba with kind of different tourists made it just for enjoy the families and enjoy the nature. This industry has been develop in the very friendly way with nature and natural resources, taking into the account all the environmental regulations and laws that we have been approved to protect the environment and to use responsibly the nature resources within this industry. Our main goal are that tourists can come to Cuba and they can enjoy and spent a good time in Cuba.  

-How did Cuba make attract attention of tourists from all over the world?
-Cuba is an island surrounded by more than 3000 small islands. Cuba is an archipelago of islands located in the northern Caribbean Sea at the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. We have more than 600 km wide beaches and have been started to develop our touristic poles, building hotels and many touristic attractions.

As I mentioned before, we have more than 400 hotels of which around and 368 of them are 4 or 5 star hotels which is on a huge effort and will to continue enhance the capacity for tourist industry. Right now there are more than 67 thousand bed and we are planning by 2025 can achieve the 150 thousand beds. So we can increase the capacity of receiving tourists. But this is very complex industry because tourists needs everything to build a hotel you needs not only the construction. But you need to supply food and many other things to encourage the industry. So it has been a huge effort to Cuba. 

But we are being in terms of tourists, if you see the data from the world or tourist organization in the Caribbean which is growing statistics receiving 1.3 percent, and Cuba have been growing 17 percent of increasing of the tourists last year. 
 

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Just you can have an idea how the blockade try to damage the Cuban economy, this year Donald Trump, President of USA has withdrawn  the permissions to the cruisers that arrive to Cuba and from that cause we lost 800 thousand tourist from United States of America. In the past two years they have been arrived in that modality of tourists to Cuba. But even that we are going to pursuit our goal to makes Cuban Tourist Industries one of the best of the world. 

-In your opinion, what expertise of Cuba for any kind of sector you wish Mongolians could implement in here? Is tourism sector available one, isn’t it?
-Yes, tourism is one of our possibility of collaboration with Mongolia. We have been talking with the Minister of Tourism how to prepare to human resources of Mongolia to increase the industry. Mongolia have huge opportunities in tourism industry. Why? Because fundamentally, Mongolia has beautiful landscapes and also you have great history of long centuries which are main things in the tourist industry and with those advantages you are ready to build whatever you want.  Yes we can support Mongolia to build those human resources in this area, as well in other sectors like medical and pharmaceutical sector.

We have huge industry to produce pharmaceutical and biotechnological products, good institutes and research facilities which are ready to cooperate with Mongolia in that area. We already have been working on few products have been already registered in Mongolia and the most relevant one is Heberprot-P which is a treatment for the diabetic foot ulcers and one of the most technological one with very succeed.  The Heberprot-P is registered in Mongolia and implemented by specialist from First Central Hospital of Ulaanbaatar and private hospitals with great success. Those experiences show us that we can work together with few pharmaceutical companies of Mongolia to register all approach that Cuban scientist have been discovered and right now we are implementing in Cuba. For example the new vaccines against the cancer or coronary diseases and all kind of biotechnological products were made to combats that diseases.

I think those are the main sectors that we can work together. Furthermore, in so many areas that we can collaborate together. For example in the cultural area and educational sector we can work together. Cuba have been also achieved good level in the sports on wish we can prepare technical and professional trainers for Mongolia; to race the level of the medals in Olympic Games for example. 

-In the other hand is there any kind of experience that can be learned and practiced in Cuba from Mongolia? Please share us your opinion? 
-Yeah, we have been taking also many experience that are being useful for us. For example in mining industry an in the banking system Mongolia have been developed with great success, and we have been a studied in Mongolian economy and we are ready to cooperate also with Mongolia.

“I WAS VERY EXCITED TO BE THERE BEING A PART OF THAT TRADITION AND TO SEE THE PEOPLE HOW TO ENJOY THEIR LIFE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE”

-Cuba is one of the few countries with a socialist republic. What are the possibilities and advantages for people and communication with other countries while having socialist system?
-Yes. This is a very good question. Let me tell you that Cuba is socialist country because we have been decided to follow that path. Cuba has good diplomatic relations with 187 countries. It has 148 Diplomatic Missions abroad in 121 countries, of 193 that constitute the United Nations in the world. And if you see the most success economies in these moments, in terms of growth, are socialist’s countries like Vietnam and China.

We have been developed our relations all over the world even though that was the path which we've decided as a country as the people of Cuba to follow. So we don't see any contradiction that we have excellent religion with the whole in the European community we have excellent relations with the whole Latin America. And we think that is advantage in terms of what we can do with and for those countries. 

-For the past 60 years, Cuba has been with Mongolia for both socialist and democratic systems. Please share your opinion about the current situation in Mongolia as Cuba who has been with us for 6 decades?
-We have relation with Mongolia regardless the path that every country decided to follow. Also we have friendship relation with Mongolia even though decided beginning of the 90 to became democratic or follow another path that it wasn’t like Cuban. But our relation with the people of Mongolia is more than that a political or economic path. We have been helping Mongolia without hesitate, although we are not following the same path. So we don't have any inconvenience on that, we respect the right to every country to follow political system that they’ve decided to have and we will do for Mongolian people whatever we can help to them to develop, and to bring our friendship for any situation for doing good. 

-Each country has its own features. What is the identity of Cuba in a few simple words?
-I can tell you three words that is identified the Cuban people. First of all, “independence” which is a moral principle for whish the Cuban have been fighting more than 500 year, and have been achieved and enjoy the past 60 years. This is one of our main goals that we already have achieved. We have been following over own dreams and own part in terms of political, social economic and cultural in the country.

So the second word that I would like to mention which is very important for Cubans is the “unity”. Unity it's represent the life of the Cubans. Solidarity between the people. And this is very important to do anything in Cuba. We have great people which means our great treasure. Because after the revolution we have been doing all this thing for the people. I can tell you that the unity represents our faith to continue to work and live.

Third one is the “joy and happiness" in life.  I mean we are very a happy country and people are always fighting for the solutions for the life every day and regardless everything regardless the big empire does see over our head and they want to crush us but they never will do it. 

So even though that people are enjoyed the life the prosperity is one of our main issues and try to do the best for them. Independence, solidarity unions and happiness. These three main things are the once that I think identify better the Cubans.  

-How do you spend your free time in here?
-In summertime my family go back to Cuba for our holiday. But we try to go outside from Ulaanbaatar around to see the landscape and the beautiful territory that you have in Mongolia. And also to know more closely the real Mongolian nomadic life among the countryside which is for me the most interesting lifestyle. And I think really truly that Mongolians have to show to the world your beautiful people and your wonderful costumes which has very deep and long history in the past time. So it's one of the most interesting things for me and my family when we have free time, and also people are very friendly and we received warm atmosphere from Mongolian families over there.

-You have been in Mongolia for three years. So what was the most exciting happen or inspired thing after you came to Mongolia?
-Mongolian traditional big ceremonies or Mongolian lifestyle are very interesting and exciting to do what the people used to do for centuries in the past. Mongolian traditional food and preparing way in countryside are very interesting. I have been in all the ceremonies but let's mention one of them for example; I have been participating in mark of the horses which is a very traditional one in the countryside. I was very excited to be there being a part of that tradition and to see the people how to enjoy it and how do they manage the life in the countryside with the family together in the ger. I really want to mention traditional food that you have in Mongolia. And I like the way young generations respect to the oldest people in the countryside and to respect to the way that they are doing the things are being very interesting for me too. 

-Thank you for your time to have interview with us.

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