Domingo, 17 de Febrero de 2019
Última actualización: 19:23 CET
Opinion

Havana hit by a (political) tornado

Havana, in the wake of the tornado’s passage. January 2019. (A. ROQUE/AFP)

Social media, that bullhorn of the 21st century, shouted #FuerzaCuba (BeStrongCuba) after the devastation this Sunday in Havana in the wake of a tornado's passage. Who launched the first hashtag, anonymous Cubans or official twitterers affiliated with the regime? Some Internet users have asked that the natural disaster "not be politicized". But, is it not politics when Miguel Díaz-Canel poses on Twitter as a concerned leader, using said hashtag and, while he is at it, including others like #SomosContinuidad (WeAreContinuity)? What continuity? That of Communist destruction, oppression, Cubans' apathy, and lack of rights?

The night after the disaster, the regimecelebrating its March of the Torches through the streets of the capital, using the birth of José Martí as a pretext for the Castro circus to go on, and, incidentally, to ratify its support for Maduro, as indicated by the official website, CubaSí, is politics.

Díaz-Canel exploiting the "March of the Torches" and mentioning the tornado to send a tweet using the hashtag #YoVotoSí (IVoteYes) is politics. 

Not allowing exiles – mal nacidos(bastards) as the appointed ruler called us – to take humanitarian aid to our fellow citizens, is politics. When there are prohibitive Customs duties preventing Pedrito, Mireya and Ramón from landing in Havana with three suitcases full of food and candles, that is politics.

When the Cuban Tourism Minister sends a tweet saying that they toured the city after the meteorological event and "all the tourist facilities are operating, because they have not been affected" and closing with #CubaDestinoSeguro #TurismoConCalidad, (CubaSafeDestination, QualityTourism), that is politics.

On Facebook, dissident Ailer Gonzalez Mena threatened, sarcastically, the occupation of these hotels:"The people from the municipalities who lost everything could go camp at the Hotel Packard. The hotels of the military and the dictatorship's associates were not ‘affected’, so the victims could find food and shelter there." 

On the same social network historian Janet Baret offered this reflection: "When Montreal was hit by an ice storm in January of 1998 that cut power across a large part of the island of Montreal, in the middle of a harsh winter, private hotels (despicable capitalism) opened their doors to the victims, free of charge, and without making any PR hay of it! This is, however, was the response of Cuba's Tourism Minister to the passage of the tornado that has left many in the country homeless. Disgraceful, to say the least."

It is politics when the government refuses to accept aid that does not pass through its hands, as in previous events, when it ended up selling it rather than distributing it. It is a politics when resources are allocated and people are mobilized to march instead of helping to clear the debris, instead of supporting so many Cubans who lost everything. 

It is politics when the Government announces that "17 commissions were created in popular councils to provide information and to assist those who will receive allocations for the purchase of resources".  

It is politics when the authorities also decide "to move up the sale of regulated groceries and (...)  sell lunches and foods at affordable prices".

It is politics when the victims' meager incomes have kept them living in ramshackle houses that could not withstand the onslaught of the tornado – unlike the GAESA hotels. It is politics when the paltry salaries of Cubans, the vast majority of them State workers, do not allow them to stay at one of those hotels, or to fix their homes promptly.

It is all politics. Everything in Cuba has been politics, for the past 60 years. It would behoove us not to remain indifferent as a society, and we ought to look through the rubble for what can be saved. And what cannot, should be thrown away ... starting with the leadership, which aspires to continue the disaster, that unnatural disaster that is Castroism, now without Castro? No, Raúl was there in the front row of the fiery March, for the sake of appearances. Yes, everything is politics, and it is through politics that change must be effected.