We had hardly recovered from the emotional impact and material damage caused by the unexpectedly strong winds of Hurricane Gustav on the Isle of Youth and Pinar del Rio, when news were received of sea floods caused by Hanna. Then, the worst news of all: that the very intense Hurricane Ike, turning southwest under pressure from a strong anti-cyclone located north of its course, would strike over more than 1,000 kilometers throughout the national territory.
This means, in fact, that the entire country will be impacted by three hurricanes; and some places will be hit twice.
What will remain of the bananas, fruits and vegetables in the intensive-farming areas? Where will there be any beans and other grains? Where will there be a sugarcane or rice plantation? Where will there be a poultry, pork or dairy production center? The entire nation is now in what in military terms is defined as combat alert.
The problems posed in the reflection that defined Gustav as a nuclear strike have multiplied. The principles guiding our conduct are still the same, just that much greater efforts will be required.
The Civil Defense did not lose a second. Comrades in positions of responsibility in both the Party and the government have been moving everywhere. The cadres must demand discipline, withhold their emotions and exercise their authority. The television, radio and printed press are assuming a great responsibility in exercising their informative tasks.
The world has observed with admiration our people’s conduct in the face of the ravages of Gustav. As our enemies were cynically rubbing their hands with glee, our friends who – as has been made evident – are many, are determined to cooperate with our people. The seeds of solidarity planted for many years are growing everywhere. Aircraft from Russia and other countries have been flying in from thousands of kilometers away with products that cannot be measured by their volume or price, but by their significance. We have received donations from small states like Timor Leste, and messages from important and friendly nations like Russia, Vietnam, China and others, have expressed a readiness to cooperate as much as possible with the investment programs that we will have to immediately undertake to reestablish and develop production.
The sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and its President Hugo Chávez, have adopted measures that constitute the most generous gesture of solidarity that our homeland has known.
Despite the intensity of the blows received and those still to come, I think that our country is in a position to save the lives of its citizens, and families will receive material assistance and food for as long as they need, until they recover – in the shortest possible time – the capacity for food production. This assistance cannot be the same in every municipality since the damages are not the same, neither is the time period needed to get back on their feet.
At this moment we are besieged by hurricanes. We should be more rational than ever and fight wastage, parasitism and complacency. We have to act with absolute honesty, avoiding demagoguery or any concession whatsoever to weakness or opportunism. The revolutionary militants should set an example. They should give and receive confidence. They should give everything for the people, even their lives if that should be necessary.
Fidel Castro Ruz
September 7, 2008