Perhaps those readers who are less familiar with Cuban everyday life might consider it’s late for a post about solidarity with Haitians, who these past few days are suffering the tragedy of more deaths and more misery after the violent earthquake that struck them on January 12th. The limited possibility of (internet) connection for many of us results in the posts getting published days after having written them, and generally -as in my case- we seize whatever chances we get to send several items all at once to friends who support us outside of Cuba, so that they can upload them online, and this is the reason a blog such as SinEvasión cannot be of an informative nature: I cannot react to the immediacy of a news item with a post on the subject, except on the rare occasions when the news and the connection coincide.
However, I have learned that several alternative bloggers have been able to express support for Haiti, and there are also those who have contributed their own money, unassumingly, and on behalf of all of us, to help, wherever possible, to mitigate the harsh effects of such a great catastrophe. Such was Mr. Iván García’s gesture, among others. Generous readers who often visit our blogs have also been so kind as to make donations to the Haitians on our behalf. Unfortunately, Cuba does not have an institution that allows us to raise funds and send our donations to that nation, shaken by such a catastrophe that our own misfortunes disappear in comparison. Without a doubt, many Cubans would offer to give from their own sensitive shallow pockets if it weren’t because here, even the right to practice solidarity and humanitarianism is controlled by the government: we don’t even have the freedom, as independent citizens, to help other people in the world.
The misfortune of a severe natural disaster in a nation marked by secular evils that have turned it into the poorest in this hemisphere, these days has been the pretext for a disgraceful display of politics by the official media in Cuba, as if the sensitivity and spirit of cooperation were the absolute legacy of the Cuban government and its allies. While all of Haiti cries over thousands of deaths and material losses that are enhanced by the country’s generalized poverty, while the violence engendered by the need for survival in this extreme situation aggravates the tragedy, unscrupulous politicians exploit the occasion to criticize their enemies and capitalize on “solidarity”; free of charge and directed from above, conceit that stops being assistance and becomes reprehensible arrogance.
For that reason, and perhaps because of the sad circumstance that Haiti and Cuba are beggar countries, many Cubans are ready to grasp the magnitude of Haiti’s tragedy, and to experience the suffering of our Antillean neighbors as our own, a solidarity that grows in our core as part of the human family that we lost in this event. Cubans can imagine, more than ever, what a destructive impact an earthquake of such magnitude could have on any of our own flimsy and impoverished cities, especially after having suffered the blows of a permanent catastrophe for over half a century.