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Cuban president checks progress of Havana's 500th birthday plans

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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday was informed about preparations for celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana.

Diaz-Canel chaired a meeting of the government group tasked with supervising economic and social life in Havana, headed by the vice-president and economy minister, Ricardo Cabrisas, Granma reported.

On Nov. 16, 2019, Havana will celebrate 500 years of existence, and the government is preparing for an extensive program of festivities across the province.

The Cuban Communist Party wants to make it one of the most important dates of the year, focusing on the city's social development, while "strengthening its identity, the knowledge of its history and the love of its residents."

As explained by Reynaldo Garcia, president of the provincial assembly, preparations began in 2017. He provided a detailed presentation of the program being planned and explained that each neighborhood is set to see its own revival and that the people were already participating actively.

These plans include the beautification of the major roadways in the city and neighboring buildings.

"The celebration is not exclusive of the people in Havana, because this is the capital of all Cubans," he said.

Cabrisas also reiterated the need for Havana residents and visitors to care for the environment and contribute to these big plans.

Diaz-Canel recalled that his predecessor, Raul Castro, had made it a priority for the government to plan the development of the capital. He said that this movement should become permanent and not be solely tied to the 500th anniversary celebrations.

Havana was formally founded on Nov. 16, 1519 by Spanish settlers attracted by the quality of the natural bay.

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