Appeal to Our Fighting People – Cuban government statement on Hurricane Irma

A principle remains unchanged: the Revolution will not leave anyone homeless and measures are already taken so that no Cuban family is left to their fate.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Let us face recovery with the example of the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who with his permanent faith in victory and strong will has taught us that there are no impossible tasks.

Hurricane Irma, with its destructive force, lashed out at our Island for more than 72 hours, from the morning of Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September. With winds that at times surpassed 250 kilometres per hour, it crossed the north of the country from Baracoa, also punished by another phenomenon of this type almost a year ago, to the vicinity of Cardenas. However, by the immensity of its size practically no territory was freed of its effects.

Called by experts as the largest hurricane formed in the Atlantic, this meteorological phenomenon caused severe damage to the country, which, precisely b because of its size, have not yet been quantified. A preliminary look evidences damages in housing, the national power grip and agriculture.

In addition it hit some of our main tourist destinations, however we will restore the damages before the start of the peak season. We have the necessary human and material resources, as one of the main sources of income for the national economy.

It has been hard days for our people, who in only a few hours have seen how everything we have built with great effort has been struck down by a devastating hurricane. The pictures of the last hours are eloquent, as is the spirit of resistance and victory of our people who are reborn with every adversity.

In these difficult circumstances, paramount have been the unity of the Cubans, the solidarity among the neighbours, the discipline to follow the instructions issued by the National Civil Defense General Staff and the Defense Councils at all levels, the professionalism of the specialists at the Institute of Meteorology, the immediacy of our media and journalists, the support of mass organizations, as well as the cohesion of the governing bodies of the National Defense Council. Special mention to all our women, including the leaders of the Party and the Government, who with steadiness and maturity directed and faced the difficult situation.

The days to come will be a lot of work, where the strength of the Cubans and the indestructible confidence in their Revolution will once again be demonstrated. It is not time to mourn, but to rebuild what the winds of Hurricane Irma tried to disappear.

With organization, discipline and the integration of all our structures, we will go ahead as we have done on previous occasions. Let us not fool ourselves, the task before us is immense, but with a people like ours we will win the most important battle: recovery.

At this crucial moment, the Central Trade Union Organization of Cuba (CTC) and the National Association of Small Farmers, together with other mass organizations, will have to redouble their efforts to erase as soon as possible the aftermath of this destructive event.

A principle remains unchanged: the Revolution will not leave anyone homeless and measures are already taken so that no Cuban family is left to their fate.

As has been customary every time a weather phenomenon hits us, there are many signs of solidarity received from all over the world. Heads of State and Government, political organizations and friends of solidarity movements have expressed their willingness to help us, which we thank on behalf of the more than eleven million Cubans and Cubans.

Let us face the recovery with the example of Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who with his permanent faith in victory and strong will has taught us that there are no impossible. In these difficult hours, his legacy makes us strong and unites us.

Raul Castro Ruz

Havana, 10 September 2017

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Nino Pagliccia

NINO PAGLICCIA has two Master’s Degrees from Stanford University and is a retired researcher on Canada-Cuba collaborative projects at the University of British Columbia. He has published many peer-reviewed journal articles and has contributed chapters to books on topics about Cuba, the Cuban healthcare system and solidarity. He has been a long-time activist and has organized groups to do voluntary work in Cuba for almost 15 years.

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