Mourning in My Town of Remedios, Cuba

By Aurelio Pedroso  (Progreso Semanal)

The Parrandas of Remedios festivities on a normal year.

HAVANA TIMES — Kicking off the year with a family tragedy is like not forgetting it for the next twelve months and, sometimes like on this occasion, never.

Not even the saints San Salvador or Virgen del Carmen (neighborhoods which have been in competition for centuries in San Juan de los Remedios) could stop the lethal violence of fireworks during the traditional parties in the island’s eighth town founded by the Spanish conquistadores in the central-north of the country.

Remedios was in mourning this year. Too much pain in the town for people to even celebrate the good omens that pass from mouth to mouth during this important time, with a half-smile. During the normally festive Remedios’ nights there was no music and partying, people were going to the park to talk about the same thing some more.

Agents from the Ministry of Interior, including State Security forces, are carrying out an exhaustive investigation of what happened – although some bureaucrats, who decide who and how people invest in our country, should also carry out an investigation (maybe not in so much detail).

The former because, at the time, a small mixed Cuban-Spanish business with sophisticated technology to manufacture fireworks was discarded because it wasn’t of national interest.

Our colleague Giselle Morales realized this and wrote about it here on Progreso Semanal, establishing that this beneficial merger of the El Palenque workshop, with its twenty employees and the renowned Catalan company, Igual Ltd., would imply greater and more state-of-the-art technology to manufacture fireworks, as the foreign firm prepared the fireworks for the Barcelona Olympics and other world-renowned events. Catalans and Cubans had to give up after a year and a half of fighting bureaucratic pyrotechnics. Maybe, and I should repeat this several times, the Popular Festivities would have gone differently.

Out of the 39 people injured, and according to the latest medical reports, there are still 22 patients who are reported to be in “extremely critical” and “very serious” condition, given the extent of burns on their bodies. Several of these are children.

While it’s no use to cry over spilled milk (like the popular saying goes) because the tragedy has already happened, we do need to seriously contemplate measures that can prevent these tragedies and that fireworks within this entire region, which includes several towns in the Villa Clara province, meet the quality standards required, as well as other considerations.

2 thoughts on “Mourning in My Town of Remedios, Cuba

  • Greetings from Minnesota and the United States. I have been making fireworks full time for over 30 years. I would very much enjoy a chance to come to your country and work to improve the quality and safety of the fireworks you make there. I know I would learn a lot as well! Would this be possible? Let me know if you are interested. I really want to do this!

  • This makes me so sad. I toured the Workshop several years ago. The citizens of Remedios work so hard and spend so much time each year on the Parrandas of Remedios. The tradition is a source of great pride and celebration each year. The hardships of the dear Cuban people seem truly ceaseless.

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