Over here in the UK, I have been appalled by the lack of mainstream news coverage regarding the damage done to Caribbean islands by hurricane Gustav. I don’t know whether there has been coverage in the US but both Cuba and Haiti have been devastated by Gustav. The following is an article that I found on the net by Fidel Castro.
3rd September 2008
IN my last reflection of Tuesday afternoon, August 29, when Hurricane Gustav unexpectedly formed and 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 actions of human beings. The current times demand ever increasing dedication, steadfastness and conscience. It doesn’t matter if the opportunists and traitors also benefit without contributing anything to the safety and well-being of our people."
I know the colossal efforts that the Revolution has to make after the national territory is hit by a hurricane. I could add that Cuba counts with 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 on economic and social centers in broad areas of national territory. Interminable rains accompany these natural phenomena. Rivers overflow, sweep away anything they find in their path and flood extensive areas. Thousands of facilities 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, grains, cereals and fruit trees ready for harvesting are lost; schools, polyclinics, entertainment and cultural centers, houses, roofs, factories, warehouses, highways and bridges are all damaged by the winds and the rain. This time those winds and rains affected all provinces to a greater or lesser degree, since the hurricane made its way via the sea in the vicinity of the southern part of the country and moved across it via the westernmost province, with a radius of 30 kilometers in its eye gale-force winds with 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 blow to food supplies is 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 tested 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, on Friday 29th, not one of the 11 cables published by the international press on Cuba referred to the hurricane that was approaching our island or the intensive efforts being 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 DPA news agency read:
"Popular Cuban Actor Arrives in Miami: ‘I left because I got tired.’"
It immediately adds that a well-known Cuban television actor, Yamil Jaled, had left Cuba for Miami to join his Cuban-American wife, according to a local newspaper.
It notes that Jaled featured in some very popular TV series, the theater and movies, including some blockbusters produced in France and Italy. Jaled graduated as an actor from the Higher Institute of Arts (ISA) in 1997 and started work as a professional actor in the Rita Montaner theater group, moving into television one year later he started to work in television.
The cable goes on to explain that he is 31 years old and profusely describes his artistic qualities and his triumphant journey through television, thus echoing a Yankee newspaper directed at media warfare and campaigns against Cuba. We Cubans could add: What a patriot! What a democrat! What a brilliant example is this man whom they are presenting as a prototype! This is how information is disseminated throughout the world information about a guy far less known and important than Hurricane Gustav.
They want to turn him into a sacred cow. Deepest convictions, which have successfully resisted the trials of time and the upheavals of life, cannot be acquired in a day. Before that, it is necessary to surmount many tendencies that we carry within us.
I do not hate other human beings, but I do hate vanity, egocentricity, selfishness, arrogance, smugness, the absence of ethics and other tendencies that human beings are born with. Only education and the example set by those who excel in their battle to be better, will triumph and influence all of us. A minimum of philosophy on the need for modesty is needed here.
There are sacred cows who attempt to put our five heroes, brutally separated from their homeland and their closest relatives, on the same level with the mercenaries justly sanctioned as traitors and never subjected to personal and inhuman outrage.
What I am stating in this reflection reaffirms the conviction that I would like to convey to my compatriots, is that only just ideas defended with courage, dignity and firmness, will prevail.
Fidel Castro Ruz
August 31, 2008