The People of Cuba Need Help

Foto: Sadiel Mederos

Editorial by El Toque

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba needs help. This is not a media campaign. It is not a “soft coup,” nor a creation of “mercenaries” or “cyber-combatants.” It is not merely the concern of civil society and the Government. Cuba urgently needs, in capital letters, all possible assistance, regardless of beliefs, ideologies, fears, prejudices and deeply entrenched animosities.

COVID-19 has overpowered the national health system. The daily average of positive cases per million inhabitants exceeds the numbers of countries like Spain, Italy, the United States, India, and Brazil, in their most catastrophic moments.

This breakdown, along with the lack of medicines, also hampers the performance of regular non Covid health services. Heartbreaking testimonies on social networks abound of people who have died waiting to be attended in hospitals. Likewise, voices of exhausted doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who don’t know what more to do to contain the flow of infections that are beyond their capacity to respond to.

Right now, it is irresponsible from any and every point of view, to call for massive demonstrations of any political persuasion or cause, especially the Government, whose authorities and institutions’ duty is to guarantee public security and ensure strict compliance with hygienic protocol. The only thing vital right now is human survival.

Cuba needs help. It needs for those who run this country to genuinely recognize this and implement solutions that correspond to today’s urgent needs. There is no shame in asking for assistance. Given the magnitude of the present crisis, the help of political allies is not enough, nor will it be the most plentiful.

In the face of the death of hundreds of people, focusing on whether or not the strategy of confronting the pandemic that brought us to the point was the most correct or not, or if this way or that way would have been better, is inconsequential.

What is important is analyzing, pinpointing the faults in the protocol, identifying who is responsible, and learning, but without criticism and complaints that impede getting help, which is the priority right now. There are people dying because they don’t have an oximeter. Nobody should think twice of criticizing and finding a way to procure hundreds of these cheap devices in order to save many more lives.

Also useless at this time is support that comes conditioned with impossible requirements, like the proposal outlined by the Biden Administration conditioning the donation of vaccines on their being managed by an organization independent of the Cuban Government.

What would be useful from the US is concrete actions that could enable the immigrant in the US to mobilize itself more to help their country, for example, restoring flights to cities other than Havana, and normalizing the delivery of remittance transfers from the US.

The United States has the best and greatest opportunity to help us. For their proximity, for their logistical capacity, and for being home to millions of compatriots who think about and care about their country of origin and their families.

Yes, dealing with the same Government that violently repressed the July 11th protests, might be a bitter pill to swallow. But the moral high ground is on the side of who puts human lives before historical conflicts.

There are recent precedents of measures taken by the Treasury Department to make access to critical resources more flexible to control the pandemic in sanctioned countries. Cuba should be no exception.

The Cubans abroad are doing a disservice to their compatriots on the island by demanding that they make a political pronouncement as a condition for sending them vital assistance.

Amid all the pain, initiatives organized in Canada, Spain, and Mexico are inspiring, by those who unselfishly, from the diaspora, without conditions, have collected supplies and arranged their transport, for the people who, even from a distance, they are part of.

For those who do not want to turn over materials into the hands of the Cuban Government’s administration, there are organizations like the Red Cross, churches, and representatives of international organizations in the country, who can channel the support.

Let’s look straight ahead, life is always now. The people who died are not replaceable. Sharing the pain of their families also implies the duty to avoid continuing to lose more family members, friends, and neighbors.

If national unity built from diversity has always been indispensable, now it is urgent: literally a question of survival.

If transparency, to explain in detail what we are going through, has been an authentic desire, a right repeatedly demanded but not heard, now it is the only way to try and restore the trust necessary to manage the extreme political, social and economic crisis that Cuba faces.

The citizen or governmental initiatives that have been achieved in provinces like Matanzas, Ciego de Ávila, Holguín, and Guantánamo, deserve our complete support and respect. Let’s multiply them.

Cuba needs support. Let’s not have one more Cuban die from stubbornness, pride, ignorance, lack of humility or lack of common sense. Let’s not have more pregnant women or minors continue to get infected because of irresponsibility or the indifference of the decisionmakers.

It would be naïve to ask someone to abandon their beliefs and immediate pain. Not a family clamoring for the release of anyone unjustly imprisoned, or an official who believes in their militant message. But there is something above all else: life itself. And the best confirmation of humanity is to preserve it.

It is also Cuba. It is all of us. To face catastrophe and the pandemic, an invisible enemy that kills irrespective of beliefs or memberships, the only possible solution is unity. And the margin for maneuvering narrows every day. It is now.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

13 thoughts on “The People of Cuba Need Help

  • How is it possible that I cannot even send money to my Cuban friends, this is fascism!

  • I agree with Carlyle MacDuff. many of Cuba’s problems would have been solved. Those who want the regime to leave should realize that a power vacuum like in Haiti is possible. This would lead to more deaths than from Covid.

  • El Toque is right. The disaster that is Cuba has continued too long.
    Regardless of who’s responsible (there’s plenty of blame to go around) all sides must immediately suspend their preferred ideologies and rush to help the Cuban people.
    This includes both Presidents Joe Biden and Miguel Diaz-Canel.
    Biden must ignore Florida diaspora who want to continue to fight the Bay of Pigs debacle, while Diaz-Canel must stop using the revolutionary rhetoric as a panacea for lack of essential medicines and food for his people.
    No one feels the force of the revolution and Patria o Muerte more than I. But the time has come to admit that El Jefe is dead. The Revolution is a memory.
    The people of Cuba– from Holquin to La Habana, from Santiago to Pinar del Rio– desperately need food and medicine. If the PCC and Diaz-Canel are incapable of providing it, then let them get the hell out of the way.
    Stop spouting rhetoric and get those damned FAR military trucks loaded with food and medicine into every barrio in every ciudad in the country.
    You’ve failed with the economy. You’ve failed with agriculture. You’ve even failed Fidel.
    Fix this or your days are numbered.

  • AMEN El Toque.. there are hundreds of countries with autocratic leaders of every ilk, and yet they get help from US when humanitarian crises arise. Cuba, a toothless old crocodile, with no nuclear armaments , no modern arsenal for war games, no navy or air force to speak of, and yet the bully US president Trump and now Biden act as if they are a terrorist country…. look at Victor in Belarusse who is torturing protestors , who kidnapped a journalist by forcing a passenger plane to land under false pretenses , look at the murderer Putin, who loves poison to end his opponents’ lives. No, as a Christian , I see the people in Cuba need help. and NOW! Canadians , Mexicans, Swiss, etc have sent what they can .. . . Cuba accepts help from those who do not ask for anything in return.

  • @Dan – Cuba’s trade partners include Venezuela, China, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the Netherlands. The US trade embargo in no way affects Cuba’s ability to grow crops, encourage entrepreneurship and foster small business? Our 36-acre Pinar del Rio farm (we left in 1966) produced all types of fruits and vegetables (from limes to pomegranates). Our business was sugar cane. After the revolution, they gave our land to a random person who never farmed it. Someone could have been farming this property for 60+ years plus but the land has been overgrown with weeds for decades. The Cuban leadership is resolute as Cuba rejects humanitarian aid: NOTE: The Cuban leadership has zero problems — they live in nice houses with A/C, get to eat top quality food, enjoy running water and electricity 24-7, they have armed security where ever they go and and travel anywhere in the world on private jets.

  • Carlyle McDuffie asks in his comment that the IMF should immediately assist Cuba. Is he talking about the same IMF that Fidel stiffed for hundreds of millions of dollars? Fidel later went on to continue to criticize the IMF and the World Bank as tools of Imperial overlords. Now, they should help? The US has every right even obligation to seek concessions from the Castro dictatorship in exchange for assistance. Altruism has it’s place but Cuba finds itself in this situation because of their failed leadership. Why give pearls to the swine without some assurance that the situation won’t be repeated?

  • Meanwhile the blockade, implemented 60 long years ago with the express purpose of destroying the Cuban economy and maximizing suffering and hardship, remains in place, con creses. Never mind, let’s just put the blame for the pandemic related problems on the besieged government of Cuba and shed our crocodile tears. That’s the Western way.

  • McDuff IMF Would be in the right Direction & Honest recovery when Cuba has been going in the Opposite direction of Dishonesty towards new small investors. Olgastinamales your Comments could not get any more Honest that many Tourist are in Cuba for the Taking only with few Cubanos as Servants for a few $$

  • The Cuban government would rather watch their people die than ask for help because they feel it shows weakness. I am sure if any political figures family member caught covid the medicines would miraculously appear.

  • Mister Michael Wiggin. Have you ever heard the term. Useful idiots? Los tontos útiles. The Cuban dictatorship created this mess. So sorry that you can’t have your mojito right now around people that make you feel super special

  • Cuba needs the IMF. Urgently!

  • The author writes:
    “Let’s not have one more Cuban die from stubbornness, pride, ignorance, lack of humility or lack of common sense.”

    Ask yourself who is being stubborn. The Cuban government refused COVAX assistance.

    (COVAX is the global facility ensuring people around the world get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The United States has already given $3.5 billion in assistance to COVAX in order to supply the world with vaccines, making the United States the largest contributor worldwide to defeating this virus.)

  • Let’s not quibble about the type of government or their policies. The good people of Cuba need help from the outside world. Biden needs to support Cuba and not continue Trump policy. And we all need to press our governments to support Cuba. We can worry about politics later.

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