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DAY 3 – Cubano e Indio Americano: Sovereignty in Action

July 21, 2016

On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, the delegation focused on attending meetings with a number of Republic of Cuba Ministries to discuss everything from agriculture to diplomacy.

In morning meetings, the delegation had the opportunity to speak directly with Maria de la Luz B'Hamel Ramirez, Director, Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Foreign Trade & Investment, Trade Policy Division with North America, as well as the Official-Ambassador, Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Agriculture, International Affairs Division, and Yaslenia Saumell Gomez, Specialist - Director of Business, Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Tourism.

Ministry Meeting 2

The delegation speaks with Maria de la Luz B'Hamel Ramirez, Director, Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Foreign Trade & Investment, Trade Policy Division with North America, and listens to her thoughts on the future of trade policy.


In the afternoon, the delegation toured the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology the largest biotechnology facility in the Caribbean, also known as Centro de Ingeniería Genética y Biotecnología (CIGB). The delegation met with Dr. Manuel Raices Pérez Castañeda, lead genetics and microbiology researcher at CIGB since 1986 and CIGB Business Development Executive, to discuss the remarkable advancements the CIGB has accomplished in treating diabetic symptoms.

According to a National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center Fall 2015 Policy Research Brief “Research and Communities Addressing Diabetes in American Indian & Alaska Native Populations thirty percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives are estimated to have pre-diabetes with 16.1 percent of the total adult population served by IHS already had diagnosed diabetes.

CGEB Picture

The delegation takes a moment to take a photo with Dr. Manuel Raices Pérez Castañeda at CIGB headquarters.

In the face of these staggering numbers, Indian Country is in need for advanced treatments and CIGB has developed a treatment program to remove the need for diabetic symptom-caused amputation in a majority of patients. Breakthroughs like these would benefit Indian Country tremendously.


Marc Frank

NAFOA President and Oneida Nation Chairwoman Cristina Danforth and NAFOA Tribal Relations Director VaRene Martin pose for a photo with Marc Frank.

The delegation closed out the day having dinner with noted Cuban personality, Marc Frank. Author of Cuba Revelations, Behind the Scenes of Havana who gave insight from his point of view on Cuba and its economic and political transition.