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.