By Ángel Guerra Cabrera, August 8, 2022 We are affected by the active solidarity Cuba has received in these painful days from many corners of the world. It was very moving to see the first planes from Mexico and Venezuela and the ship Liberator of the Mexican armada as it entered Matanzas Bay. We were moved also to see fire-fighters and firefighting specialists joining their Cuban brothers in putting out the conflagration in the supertanker terminal in Matanzas. The rapid and very efficient response of the Mexicans and Venezuelans speaks of the devotion and respect of Presidents Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Nicolás Maduro Moros for the Cuban people, for Raúl, and for President Díaz-Canel. It’s a step toward that much sought-after possibility of Latin American and Caribbean unity which Gustavo Petro was calling for in his inauguration as president of Colombia. And if we don’t get there, we will remain merely as “self-important villagers.” The battle of Matanzas brought out those extraordinary patriotic, political, and moral reserves sown by the Revolution. It demonstrated the prodigious generosity of the Cuban people and of the brothers and sisters of Camaguey – and of others who came from different parts of the country who were fighting there heroically to overcome the most dangerous fire in Cuba’s national History. These are the subjective influences that account for the admirable work of the firefighters, helicopter pilots, emergence responders, health workers and all of those – men and women – in the first line or in the rear who fought against the raging fire. Many of them were very young, for sure. In exemplary fashion, the people of Matanzas and the whole country displayed warm and fraternal solidarity for those who fought the disaster and who suffered. This fact is all the more obvious if one takes into account that the island is passing through a situation of severe economic deprivation as a consequence of the ferocious and unprecedented recrudescence of the blockade by Donald Trump, which – a fundamental consideration – is being maintained at the same level by his successor Joseph Biden. The restrictions of Trump join with the fall-off of tourism and other economic activities, both caused by the pandemic, to create a picture of gasoline, food and medicine scarcities that hasn’t altered significantly. This is the situation despite the government’s extraordinary efforts to assure a basic level of vital support for the whole population. The perception grows of added reasons to be irritated, especially in these months of suffocating heat and constant power outages. These make life difficult for many, although there have been some improvements. The power failures result in part from the financial dry-spell that, caused by the blockade, interferes with renovating the obsolete electricity industry. Implacable U.S. persecution aggravates both that situation and transportation shortcomings. That factor shows whenever Cuba looks to the international market to buy oil products. President Díaz-Canel and the government have dedicated long work sessions to this problem and to all the others affecting the population. In detailed fashion, they’ve explained to the people what’s being done to solve or mitigate them. The president recently toured all the electrical generation units in the country and dialogued with the self-sacrificing workers there. This series of accumulated problems suggests that social distress may have increased. That’s something that the U.S. government provokes and exploits in a most cruel and opportunistic way. Parallel to the media war that took shape decades ago, there’s been a cultural war. One feature in the last three years has been the unscrupulous and immoral use of social networking and a dense network of digital media, counterrevolutionary in nature. These, along with the subversive activities they promote – even from the U.S. embassy in Havana – had a lot to do with creating the breeding ground that gave rise to the disturbances of July 11 . Washington cynically claims that its “sanctions” are not aimed at harming the Cuban people but, instead, are directed toward Cuba’s leaders. All the while, the U.S. government intensifies its hybrid war against the island, with its component of psychological warfare setting the stage for a soft coup. But the dominant media, including that media enclave in Miami, portray a Cuba with Dantesque scenarios, a country that is supposedly ungovernable, and one where the simplest realities of daily life are exaggerated. Their hatred these days has reached nauseating levels. But they can only tear themselves apart in having to deal with attitudes shown by the Cuban nation facing situations like the one in Matanzas. And now they are stupefied as the fire is being extinguished and as Díaz-Canel tells the Venezuelans and Mexicans that, “we put the fire out – with you.” He had been there watching over everything ever since the disaster first erupted. It still remains for Cuba to identify the 14 firefighters who disappeared in the burned-over area and to continue providing their families with care and love. They died in the arms of a grateful country. Source : https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/08/11/opinion/026a1mun
Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.
Cuban journalist and academician Ángel Guerra Cabrera lives in Mexico and contributes to the Mexican news service La Jornada.