Viñales as a Global Geopark: UNESCO Positively Values This Possibility

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International authorities have made positive assessments about a site located in the western area of Cuba.

The news has been spread by several official sources who reported on the possibility of the Viñales park located in the Cuban province of Pinar del Río being declared a Global Geopark.

The condition is endorsed by experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who have already been on site to assess its possible designation as a Global Geopark.

This category is held by 195 sites worldwide scattered across 48 countries, of which Latin America has 13.

According to the specialist in Global Geoparks, Carlos Ernesto Merizalde, the Viñales area is a reference in terms of geological heritage and with an exceptional karst landscape, in addition to other places with unique characteristics both in Cuba and internationally.

Similarly, he referred to the relationship between the natural and cultural heritage in the area, which could define the granting of the condition.

For her part, Helga Chulepín, the other expert who visited Viñales, explained that this site could be the first in the Caribbean region to hold the status of Global Geopark, of course, after complying with the established steps and being approved by UNESCO specialists.

Likewise, the geologist also mentioned that UNESCO endorses as Global Geoparks of the 21st century those areas where the inhabitants together with the local authorities and at the national level are in charge of education, environmental protection, and sustainable development.

She insisted that all of the above must be developed by promoting geotourism and the production of local goods.

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Global Geoparks are those geographical sites that display unique characteristics in a grouped form where there are areas with landscapes of great international significance managed through a unitary concept for the promotion of protection, education, and sustainable development.

The director of Geology of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and vice president of the National Committee of Geoparks in the largest island of the Caribbean, Dr. Enrique Castellanos Abella, stated that Viñales has the largest cave system in Cuba.

And he also referred to the karst formations in the form of mogotes existing in that site and the evidence of the boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene period where about 90 percent of the species at the planetary level disappeared (including dinosaurs).

Another fact provided by the Cuban specialist is that the certainty of the planet’s evolution was geologically recorded there in Viñales.

In Viñales, the expert clarified, there are 47 (geosites) located throughout 284 square kilometers that show the geological grandeur of that National Geopark.

Finally, he emphasized the facilities available at the site for tourism activities, which favors the creation of Geoparks, thus meeting almost all of UNESCO’s requirements for its constitution.

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Yanelis Barrientos Fernández

Formada en Comunicación Social en la Universidad de La Habana; posteriormente, me sumergí en el fascinante mundo digital, especializándome en Periodismo Digital