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From the Cuban Encyclopedia on the Net

It is one of the two new provinces, next to the Artemisa Province, approved by the National Assembly of Cuba in August of 2010 and whose operation took effect on January 1, 2011.

Mayabeque’s capital is San José de las Lajas. This new administrative political division changes the one that governed in Cuba since 1976. Cuba is now divided in 15 provinces and 168 municipalities according to the new division.

Mayabeque is one of the four provinces, along with Havana, Camagüey and Guantanamo with a name of aboriginal origin, which reinforces the Cuban cultural tradition.

The name

The legend refers to the cacicazgo of Habanaguex in the south of Havana, and Mayabeque was the native name of the river that waters the fertile valley where several of its municipalities are based today, although according to several stories, the siboneyes natives also baptized it with the name of Güinicajinal.

The fact is that it was the most important stream of the southern slope of the region, whose sources are in its greatest volume those of the Ojo de Agua, in Catalina, so they must be considered at the remote sources the mountains that rise at the south of Jaruco .

When entering the plain it is divided by the effect of the artificial channeling and also natural in multitude of branches and ditches that constitute the system of irrigations established in the valley of Güines. For this reason and for that of its course that city receives the name of Güines until the lands of the old herd of San Pedro de Mayabeque, that takes this last name, with which it continues until its drainage in the southern coast, in the gulf of Batabanó.

History

In a letter written in 1514 to King Ferdinand II of Aragon (the Catholic King), the conqueror and lieutenant governor of the island Fernandina (Cuba), Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar (1465-1524), narrates what the captive Spaniard, surnamed Garcia Mejia , told him of the Indians and of their adventure in that zone, caressed by Mayabeque river.

Even though there are contradictions in that respect, it is also stated that at the beggini8ng of the river, by Velázquez's own disposition, the town of San Cristobal de La Habana was founded on the day of Santiago in 1515, before being transferred to the north coast, for which historians had found an explanation for the Latin phrase that appears in the Coat of Arms of Melena del Sur "HIC PRIMO HABANA CONDITA EST" (Here Havana was first founded), while at the end of the XVIII Century several projects were contemplated for constructing a channel that connects the waters of Mayabeque river with La Chorrera, with the purpose of connecting this territory with the capital.

From this southern site, Pedro de Barba left with Hernán Cortés for the conquest of Mexico; and from the same site there were expeditions to Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Tierra Firme, that is, to Yucatan, Mexico and Veracruz, not to mention Central and South America.

The first population established in the territory, which lasts until the present time, was Batabanó (hato mercedado in 1559), which served as the southern port of the town of Havana for maritime communication with the villas of the south and east of the country. In the 18th century were founded the villages of Quivicán (1700), Bejucal (1714) - both on the original route between Havana and Batabanó -, Güines (1735), Melena del Sur (1768) Jaruco (1768) and San Jose de las Lajas (1778). In the 19th century appeared Santa Cruz del Norte (1800), Nueva Paz (1802), Madruga (1803) and San Nicolás (1827).

The river is one of the largest and most important in the area, which runs from north to south. The economic prosperity of the region, as a result of the benefits of this channel, was a fundamental factor for the construction of the Iron Road to Güines, which wasbe the first railway in Latin America (1837) and the first major producer and exporter center, producing great capital and becoming the nucleus and cradle of the national sugar industry, coming to possess 94 sugar mills in all its jurisdiction.

Participation in the Independence War

The territory was an important scene of the Necessary War in which Maximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo carried out the Invasion to the West. On January 1, 1896, the invasion entered the province of Havana by the municipality of Nueva Paz. Among the battles fought in the territory, where Spain concentrated the bulk of its forces, are the conquest and burning of Jaruco, the conquer of Batabanó and the combat of Moralitos (San José de las Lajas) in February of 1896, unique time where Gomez and Maceo fought together in this territory, to evade a great blockade of the enemy forces. A monument is erected at this moment in that place.

During the campaign in Havana, less than four thousand mambises led by Gomez and Maceo successfully opposed more than 30 thousand men of the Spanish army. The national war was a reality of Havana; the 5th. Corps of the Liberating Army has been born and the harvest was paralyzed throughout the year.

A long list of young habaneros assumed, together with the Eastern veterans, the course of the independence revolution in the region and the destruction of the economic riches, with which Spain financed the war.

Cuban Revolution of 1959

Several young people from the territory (Nueva Paz, San Nicolás, Güines, San José de las Lajas participated in the assault on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953. Among those killed were Raúl Gómez García, who grew up in Güines, and is called the poet of the Centennial Generation, a journalist and close collaborator of Fidel Castro Ruz, author of the Moncada Manifesto and the poem "Ya estamos en combate".

Farms in Catalina de Güines and Nueva Paz (Santa Elena) served as training and meeting places for the movement.

During the Literacy Campaign held in 1961, Melena del Sur was declared the country's first illiteracy-free territory.

The popular baseball stadium of San José de las Lajas is named after Nelson Fernandez, the youngest fighter (only 14 years old) who was killed in the fighting during the invasion of Playa Girón in April 1961.

Territorial organization

The province Mayabeque borders on the north with the province of Havana, capital of Cuba and the Strait of Florida, to the south with the Gulf of Batabanó, to the east with Matanzas Province and to the west with Artemisa.

The province is the second of smaller extension between all the Cuban Provinces, just ahead of Havana. It also has the smallest population.

Municipalities

The province has a total of 11 municipalities:

The 11 municipalities that the province includes were all part of the old province of Havana since its creation in 1878. The direct antecedent of a territorial organization with the name of Mayabeque dates from the decade of 1960 when Regions or Regional emerged as a link Intermediate between the municipalities and the provinces. The Regional Mayabeque was formed by the municipalities Melena del Sur, Osvaldo Sánchez and Catalina de Güines (both non-existent as municipalities before 1959, and now localities of Güines), San Nicolás, Madruga (without Aguacate), Nueva Paz and Palos (now Nueva Paz), with head in Güines.

On the other hand, the Regional San Jose comprised the municipalities of San Antonio de las Vegas (later absorbed by the municipality San José), Madruga, Aguacate (at the moment locality of Madruga), Jaruco, San Antonio de Rio Blanco (now locality of Jaruco), Santa Cruz del Norte, Canasí (this territory was part of the province of Matanzas and which at the moment is a locality of the municipality Santa Cruz of the North and has its principal seat in San Jose de las Lajas. Cuatro Caminos (traditionally part of Santa María del Rosario-Cotorro) and Campo Florido that included the neighborhoods of Minas and Barreras, traditionally parts of Guanabacoa were also part of the Regional San José.

With the Administrative Political Division (DPA) of 1976 that created the Province Havana City, Cuatro Caminos and Campo Florido passed to it, the first one to the municipality Cotorro, and the second to Havana del Este, while Minas and Barreras were returned to Guanabacoa.

The DPA abolished the Regionals and reduced the municipalities taking as critical number 20 000 inhabitants, abolishing even the historic municipalities of San Antonio de las Vegas and Aguacate. In the present province of Mayabeque were included also the western municipalities of Batabanó, Quivicán (with La Salud, also historical municipality eliminated in 1976) and Bejucal, members before 1976 of Regional Ariguanabo (with head in San Antonio de los Baños, present province of Artemisa).

Geography

It is characterized by the Habana-Matanzas plain where there are located the southern plain of Habana-Matanzas and the heights of Bejucal and Madruga, pertaining to the Heights of Bejucal Madruga Coliseo, where there is the culminating point of the province, the Palenque with 331 , 5 meters high.

The rivers are short and of little flow, standing out the rivers Mayabeque (the longest of the province with 52.9 km of length), Canasí and Jibacoa.

The soils are predominant fersialitic, brown, ferralitic and humic calcimorphic.

Natural regions

• Havana-Matanzas Heights
• El Palenque (the highest elevation with 332 meters in height)
• Heights of Bejucal-Madruga-Coliseo
• Sierra del Grillo

Rivers

• Jaruco River
• Mayabeque River: It is the longest in the territory, with 52.9 km in length.
It is born at 22 ° 55 'north latitude and 82 ° 04' west longitude, at 100 meters altitude and flows into Mayabeque Beach, located in a marshy area. It runs northeast-southwest.

Weather

The territory is distinguished by its low temperatures in the tropical winter of Cuba that sometimes reach values lower than 10 ° C in the red south plain and even smaller in the valley around Bainoa located about 100 m above sea level. In this town of Jaruco municipality has been registered the minimum temperature record in the country: 0.6 ° C in 1996.

Demography

The province has a population of approximately 379 942 inhabitants, of which 50.7% are men. The provincial capital, San José de las Lajas is the municipality with the largest population with more than 75 000 inhabitants. 14.1% of the inhabitants of the province are 65 or older.

The population resides predominantly in urban areas (73.2%).

Economic development

The economy of the new province is of agroindustrial character. In the agricultural sector there are great potentialities in cattle raising and dairy production. In particular, large areas with undulating relief of the municipalities San José de las Lajas, Bejucal, Güines, Madruga, Jaruco and Santa Cruz del Norte are predominantly dedicated to dairy farming.

Sugar cane plantations, bananas, potato, sweet potato, tomato, beans and other vegetables and plants predominate in the plains, especially in the red plains of the south with the most productive soils (municipalities of Quivicán, Batabanó, Melena del Sur, Güines, San Nicolás and Nueva Paz, and also in the valley between Jaruco and Aguacate. Rice is also cultivated in small scale in the areas near the south coast.

The fishing activity is centered on the Surgidero de Batabanó on the south coast, base of the fishing fleet of the Gulf of Batabanó, having as main exportable item the lobster.

It is also a region of highly diversified industrial potential, particularly in the axis around the Central Highway and the National Highway (San José de las Lajas municipality) with construction materials industries (Ceramica Blanca, asphalt mix and aggregate extraction in San José, refractory bricks in Güines, and galvanization in Nueva Paz), chemical industry (rubber, glass and paint in San José), food (pasta in San José), fish, seafood and preserves in Batabanó and Güines, meat products in Nueva Paz, metallurgical and electromechanical (aluminum, electrical and telephone cables in San José), pharmaceutical (vaccines and biopharmaceutical in Bejucal), textile and footwear (Güines), furniture industry (Batabanó) and paper production (Quivicán).

The oil and gas extraction along the northern coast (Santa Cruz del Norte) and the generation of energy in that municipality is achieved with a thermoelectric plant and two generation plants using accompanying gas (ENERGAS) that place the province in the first places in those branches, in the country.

Also very important is the rum production in Santa Cruz del Norte and a new plant in San José de las Lajas.

Main entities

According to statistical data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information in 2015, Mayabeque has 400 entities, among them:

• 61 Companies
• 3 Mercantile companies
• 280 Cooperatives
• 15 Non-agricultural cooperatives
• 74 UBPC
• 19 CPA
• 172 CCS
• 56 Budgeted Units

Main Industries

• Caribe canning factory in Quivicán
• Twist Tobacco Factory "Capitán San Luis", in Quivicán
• Electrical and Telephone Conductors Company "Conrado Benítez" (ELEKA), in San José de las Lajas
• Gum Establishment "Nelson Fernández” in San José de las Lajas
• Ceramica Blanca Industry "Adalberto Vidal", in San José de las Lajas
• Dairy Products Company "Aljibe", in San José de las Lajas
• Aluminum company "Leovigildo Sierra" (CUBALUM), in San José de Las lajas
• Fishing Company "Acuabana", in San José de las Lajas
• Mampostón Aquaculture Preparation Company, in San José de las Lajas
• "Gustavo Machín" plant, in Jaruco, with capacity to process non-ferrous minerals
• Workshops of the company "Confecciones Tropicales", in Jaruco
• Company of Oil Drilling and Extraction, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• Thermoelectric power station of the East of Havana, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• ENERGAS, two electricity generating plants, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• LEFERSA, the only producer of dry yeast in the country, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• Ronera "Santa Cruz", producer of light rum of the brand, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• BECASA, "Fiesta" and "Bainoa" soft drink factory, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• Ceramics Factory, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• Factory of Furniture and Miscellaneous Items "Sign", in Batabanó
• Canned food factory in Batabanó
• Pescahabana,Industry in Batabanó
• Cane Company "Mañalich", in Melena del Sur
• Canned Fruit and Vegetable Factory, in Güines
• Wine and rum factories in Güines
• Refractory bricks manufacturing complex, in Güines
• Héctor Molina Riaño Sugar mill, in San Nicolás
• Salsa Soya Factory (San Nicolás)

Tourism

• Tourist center "Escaleras de Jaruco", in Jaruco
• Campsite Litoral Norte de La Habana, in Santa Cruz del Norte
• Breezes-Jibacoa and Villa Trópico Hotels, in Santa Cruz del Norte

Agricultural sector

• Livestock company "Ariguanabo", in Bejucal
• Cultivos Varios Company "19 de abril", in Quivicán
• Sugar Company "Boris Luis Santa Coloma" in Madruga
• Genetic Enterprise of the East, in Madruga
• New Calcium Company

Science and Technology

• National Bio-prepared Center (BIOCEN), in Bejucal
• Institute of Horticultural Research Liliana Dimitrova, in Quivicán
• Plant Nutrition Experimental Station "La Renee"
• Sugar Cane Research Institute (ICINAZ), in Quivicán
• Research and Production Union of Bagasse Cellulose (Cuba 9), in Quivicán
• Center for the Production of Microbial Fats, Enzymes, Polymers (Cuba 10), in Quivicán
• Research Station of the Sugarcane Mechanization (EIMEC), in Quivicán
• Agrarian University "Fructuoso Rodríguez", in San José de las Lajas
• National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), in San José de las Lajas
• National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (INCA), in San José de las Lajas
• Center for Aquaculture Preparation "Mampostón", in San José de las Lajas

Social development

Culture

Mayabeque is the birthplace of artists such as Odilio Urfé, Antonio Maria Romeu, Tata Güines, Aristides Fernandez, Arsenio Rodríguez, Mirta Cerra, Vicentina Antuña, Raúl Gómez García, Francisco Pereira (Chanchito), Juan Barona and creators like the young Batabano’s painter Vicente Hernández, the meleneros Carlos Llanes and Andrés Retamero, Güines: Féliz Núñez and Ahmed Fernández.

In the literature highlight poets such as the neopacina Andrea García Molina, the nicolareña Yasmín Sierra Montes, the Jaruqueña Encarnación de Armas Medina and the güinera Felicia Hernández Lorenzo, the latter with obvious achievements including the decima, where she has shared successes with several current mayabequenses, among them the nicolaseño Juan Carlos Garrote and Gil and the batabanoense, also Juan Carlos Garcia Guridi, essayist and poet of other branches. There are writers in full maturity, such as the narrator and essayist from Jaruco, Ricardo Alberto Pérez, the güinero José Antonio Martínez Coronel, the lajero Reinaldo Medina Hernández, the Bejucaleños Armando Landa and Misael Aguiar, as well as the bejucaleño Omar Felipe Mauri president of the Union Of Writers and Artists in the province, to which the neopacino Raúl Hernández Pérez is added.

In the essayistic, two women stand out with a whole series of national and international awards and recognitions: the Bejucaleñas Aisnara Perera and María de los Ángeles Meriño Fuentes, with very novel ways of interpreting important historical events occurred in Cuba, in addition to the güinero José Luis González Almeida.

The theater in Mayabeque is represented by several groups such as the Teatro de las Olas, Batabanó, the Teatro del Estro del Montecallado, with headquarters in Bejucal and the Theater Tacón for children, based in San Jose de las Lajas.

Public health

The province has a Provincial Center of Information in Medical Sciences (Mayabeque) in charge of guaranteeing updated scientific-medical information to health sector personnel and spreading the results of researches through the edition of the Journal of Medical Sciences Havana, with a Faculty of Medical Sciences of Mayabeque in charge of training the human resources of the sector, as well as 20 polyclinics for primary health care to the population and 4 hospitals for secondary health care. The following are the health units by municipality:

Batabanó

• Community Policlinic ¨Pascuala Restituta¨
• Stomatology Clinic

Bejucal

• Community Policlinic
• Stomatologyl Clinic

Güines

• Mayabeque Provincial Medical Information Center (CPICM)
• Polyclinic ¨Luis Li¨
• Polyclinic Marta Martinez Figuera
• General Teaching Hospital "Alleida Fernández Chardiet"
• Gynecology-obstetric Hospital of Güines ¨Manuel Piti Fajardo¨
• Psychiatric Hospital of La Habana ¨Crisanto Betancourt¨
• Clinical Stomatology "Andrés Ortiz Junco"
• Faculty of Medical Sciences of Mayabeque
• Polyclinic ¨ Osvaldo Sánchez¨

Jaruco

• Polyclinic ¨Noelio Capote¨
• Stomatology Clinic

Madruga

• Policlinic "María Emilia Alfonso"
• Polyclinic "Dionisio Sáenz"

Melena del Sur

• Community Policlinic "José Raúl Currás Regalado"
• Stomatology Clinic

Nueva Paz

• Polyclinic ¨Dr. Humberto Castelló Aldanás¨
• Primary Polyclinic Urgency ¨Felipe Poey Aloy¨
• Stomatology Clinic

Quivicán

• Community Polyclinic ¨Pablo Noriega de Quivicán¨
• Community Policlinic "Health"

San Jose de las Lajas

• General Teaching Hospital "Leopoldito Martínez"
• Polyclinic ¨Rafael Echezarreta¨
• Polyclinic "Martyrs of the 9th of April"
• Polyclinic ¨Rinaldo García¨
• Polyclinic ¨Turcios Lima¨
• Stomatology Clinic

San Nicolas

• Polyclinic "Emilia of Cordova"
• Stomatology Clinic

Santa Cruz del Norte

• Polyclinic -Hospital "Alberto Fernández"
• Polyclinic ¨Julio Rufin¨

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