Dear Randy,


     The Round Table’s information yesterday was especially interesting and valuable.  What a shame that at that time the island had no electricity, all the way from Punta de Maisí to Cabo de San Antonio. Only a few family homes, resisting strong winds, in the Camilo Cienfuegos neighbourhood, had electricity. They were connected to the underground cable from the generator of the Luis Díaz Soto Hospital.

     Whenever that vital energy of our era is absent, everything is missing and nothing works. It makes us wish for the day when all homes strong enough to stand up to a hurricane, like those I spoke of a few days ago, get their electricity through underground cables.  Unfortunately, this will take some time and enormous expenses.

     For one second, I imagined what would have happened to the inhabitants of our island facing a natural disaster like the one which just occurred, without the Cuban Civil Defense and the vital services for the population such as hospitals, polyclinics, bakeries, information centres and other similar facilities being supplied with electricity.

     The images of destroyed homes and facilities, ruined crops, uprooted trees, overflowing rivers, houses invaded by water in low-lying areas, persons swept away by the fast-flowing currents and saved by desperate efforts, were heart-rending. I think some of these should be re-broadcast in the future so that those whose television sets were not working can see them.

     Never to be forgotten are the scenes of our men of the Armed Forces and the specialized troops undertaking missions of help and support to the population and the victims. It was impressive to see the actions of the fire-fighters risking life and limb, in dangerous currents, to help their compatriots.

     One truly needs strict training and courage to accomplish those tasks. Only in exceptional circumstances do we learn about the existence of such men and they prepare in silence for those critical moments. I must confess that it was exciting to see scenes where José Ramón Machado Ventura and Ramón Espinosa Martín, First Vice-President of the Council of State and Head of the Eastern Army respectively, both well-seasoned by the struggle, together with younger comrades, the presidents of Defense Councils, were tirelessly visiting the most affected places and immediately indicating which measures had to be taken. Other similar scenes were taking place with other upper-level Party leaders, with Joaquín Quinta Solá, former Head of the Central Army and current Vice-Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and Leopoldo Cintra Frías, Head of the Western Army, and the presidents of the Defense Councils in the provinces and municipalities being visited.

     I saw more clearly than ever the value of our symbols. Cuban flags sparkled like never before on the shoulders of the Party cadres, both men and women, in the hour of difficulty. They are the subjective factors without which all would be lost and without which victory would not be possible.

     The work of reporters who neither slept not rested, at times facing rain and wind, has been excellent, informing the country of what was happening, broadcasting the truth, examples and experiences which make us feel we are part of a national community interconnected with all the inhabitants of the planet.  People have been sending us their messages of solidarity, even though a great part suffers from poverty and the punishment of nature which the consumer societies and their sophisticated technologies are conducting towards a point that is incompatible with human survival itself.

     Now is the time for the analysis of objective factors, rational and optimum use of material and human resources; what should be done in each specific place, where one must invest or not; how to spend each cent; how we respond to each question about what has to be done in emergency situations and in normal circumstances so that everything returns to safe levels -water and air. The normal lives of the children, teenagers and adults will carry on, always prepared to fight and vanquish all the adversities of today or tomorrow, never losing their spirit.

     Our duty is to triumph!


Fidel Castro Ruz

September 10, 2008

12:14 p.m.