What does normally happen in your country when a natural disaster leaves behind massive destruction and multiple victims?
I can imagine what your answer to that question will be. The government would act upon people’s needs, be present and supportive for the victims and provide the necessary means to help recover from this devastating event.
This is not what happens in Cuba, my homeland.
I am sure that you have heard/read about what happened in Havana on January 27th. An unexpected tornado hit the Cuban capital taking the life of 4 persons, leaving hundreds of injured, and destroying countless homes. The images of this catastrophe have crowed all the social networks, which provided, at the same time, visibility of the situation that is being lived in Cuba and the lack of responsibility and action that is yet to take the Cuban government to the entire world.
It is extremely upsetting for me to see the hospital where I was born with no roof, the school where I studied brought down to the floor, in pieces, my friends’ houses destroyed. People are given no option and no resources to improve or normalize their circumstances. Apart from the property damages, many households still have no power supply, there is no food, no water, no products to cover daily necessities.
In the midst of all this suffering, the government decided to mobilize masses of people with the goal of promoting the new constitution project under the cries of “I vote yes”. Instead of encouraging the community and the military to help the people affected by the tornado, they decide to carry out political propaganda under the pretenses to honor our apostle, Jose Marti, who would have preferred the wellbeing of Cubans above anything else.
Up to a certain extent, it is understandable the fact that the government does not have the resources and funds required to deal with the damage caused by this natural phenomenon. Accordingly, they should allow the entrance and distribution of donations, whether they consist of monetary help, canned food, medicines, or even of voluntary services. However, the complete opposite is happening.
While the entire Cuban population, inside and out of the island, has come together (an unprecedented event) in support of the victims of the tornado, the government rejects the help that is being offered by millions of persons in multiple countries and turns a blind eye to the urgency of the situation in Cuba.
Donations were being confiscated by customs officers, and now the “law” has changed, and the government alleges that no tax will be charged on donations that are handed over at the airport to be distributed by official entities of the country. The Cuban President can only ask for patience and ensures that “nobody will be left unattended”; the same president that has ordered food to be SOLD to the victims and not provided for free; the same president that restricts the distribution of donations in the affected neighborhoods by sending the military to confiscate them; the same president that cowardly runs away from the people that he (supposedly) represents and are only asking for his support.
This situation is extremely shameful and outrageous!
It is also inhuman that after the disaster and devastation left behind by an atmospheric phenomenon as dangerous as this tornado was, the priorities of the Cuban Minister of Tourism are only, and exclusively, the good condition of the tourist facilities in the capital. “We have made a tour after the meteorological event that occurred in the capital last night. All the tourist facilities are operating, since they have not suffered damages”. The collapse of people’s houses does not matter, the suffering of hundreds of families does not matter. Where is the solidarity and the sense of responsibility of the Cuban government?
The people do not need encouraging speeches on the TV if the responsible entities do not act upon this disaster.
I want to clarify that this is not a political statement, this is a call for humanitarian aid. I want to encourage people from all parts of the world to find a way to give help to the persons that have suffered this unfortunate act of nature.
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