Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cuba faces Gustav

The Hurricane

By Fidel Castro

When hurricane Gustav started to threaten our country on the same day when our Olympic delegation returned, I wrote: “We are lucky to have a Revolution! It is a fact that nobody will be neglected. Our strong, forceful and farsighted Civil Defense protects our people.
“The growing frequency and intensity of these natural phenomena show that the climate is changing due to the action of man. The current times demand ever increasing dedication, steadiness and conscience.”

I know of the colossal efforts that the Revolution has to make after the national territory is hit by a hurricane. I could add that Cuba counts on keen and persevering scientists such as José Rubiera.

Hundreds of millions of working hours are lost in a brief period of time when the wind gusts beat directly against economic and social centers. Endless rains accompany these natural phenomena. Rivers overflow and sweep away anything they find in their path and flood extensive areas. Thousands of farms that produce vegetables, milk, eggs, poultry meat and pork, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems, are seriously damaged; tens of thousands of hectares of sugar cane, food grains, cereals and fruit trees ready for harvest are lost. Schools, polyclinics, entertainment and cultural centers, private housing, roofs, factories, warehouses, highways and bridges are all damaged by wind and rain.

This time those winds and rains affected all provinces in a greater or lesser degree, since the hurricane made its way through the seas nearby the southern part of the country and moved across the westernmost province. Its eye’s radius was 30 kilometers in length, and strong winds blew over a diameter of more than 450 kilometers.

Nothing is as devastating as the damage and destruction left behind by a hurricane. Hundreds of thousands of compatriots mobilize and work very hard during the passing of the hurricane and afterwards during the recovery stage. Reserves are reduced or depleted. Today, more than ever, the damages caused on food supplies are costly and significant. But this is our country; this is our rightful place in this planet, and we have to develop and defend it.

The task we have ahead requires time and expertise. The true Cuba and its noble people, which have been ready to share with others its knowledge and even part of its resources including its own blood, were not built overnight. That is why it has been an invincible adversary in confronting the powerful empire that has tried all of its weapons against our country.

But there is hardly any information to the world about Cuba’s merits and its extraordinary struggle.

Two days ago, none of the international press reporting on Cuba referred to the hurricane that was approaching our island or the intensive efforts made by our Civil Defense, with the generous support of millions of Cuban families led by a courageous political vanguard.

One of the cables published by the German news agency DPA read:

“Popular Cuban Actor Arrives in Miami: ‘I left because I grew tired.’”

We, Cubans, could add: What patriot! What democrat! What brilliant example is this prototype that they presenting to us! This is the way in which they disseminate throughout the world information about a guy far less known and important than hurricane Gustav.

I do not hate other human beings, but I hate vanity, egocentricity, selfishness, arrogance, smugness the absence of ethics and other tendencies human beings are born with. Only education and the example set by those who excel in their battle to be better will succeed and influence all of us.

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