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The fire in Matanzas, has it gone out or is it just beginning?

A plane crashes with 113 people on board; a tornado wipes out hundreds of homes, many of which would have survived had they not been in such dire condition; a balcony falls and three girls leave this world; a hotel explodes taking 47 lives; daily power plants fail and one of its most important blocks went up in flames… and in Matanzas, the worst fire in the history of Cuba scares us all.

Diaz-Canel could be called “salao” rather than “singao,” but that would mean accepting that this chain of disasters is random, when in fact it is symptom of a failed system leading a country to collapse.

It was not lightning that set the Matanzas Supertanker Base on fire, but the failure of the security systems; probably because, like everything else in Cuba, these systems are in terrible condition due to lack of maintenance and technological obsolescence.

There is no proof, true, but we do know that of the 2,606 megawatts (MW) that the Energy Revolution should generate, 745MW were already out of service in 2021 due to lack of maintenance, and another 497 MW were about to fall because they were being generated with equipment that exceeded their operating cycle. If this is how they treat the last “feat” of the commander, what can we expect from the maintenance to everything else?

Castroism is going downhill and, as the saying goes, “everything is fleas to a skinny dog”. The catastrophe in Matanzas will heat the country even after the fire disappears —thanks to the firemen or to what all the fuel has burned-, beginning with Havana, where there were practically no blackouts because the Government fears more the city discontent than the explosion of a nuclear reactor… and it is fortunate that they never finished that plant in Juraguá.

Although we do not know thetotal fuel burned, we know that the tank where the misfortune began contained 26,000 cubic meters of national crude oil, while the second to explode stored 52,000 cubic meters of fuel oil. A winemaker’s calculation and disaggregating by qualities, about 50 million dollars were incineratednot counting what the other tanks contained.

That amount is equal to all the fuel that Cuba consumes for four days, or 22 days of what is imported from Venezuela, the most reliable supplier. If that seems little to him, it is because he does not know that fuel is so scarce that state companies have stopped most of the equipment that uses dieseland that, although dengue is unleashed, it is not cleaned up as it should be because there is no fuel even for the small manual fumigation equipment.

An added problem is that this base in Matanzas, now semi-destroyed, is the only one that can operate large ships, which will leave the capacity to receive ships such as the Laguna, a Russian oil tanker that was due to dock there on August 14 with 700,000 barrels of crude oil, very limited for some time. Two ships from Venezuela had already had to be diverted to the ports of Santiago de Cuba and Holguín. This catastrophe will trigger the costs of fuel transfer within Cubaadding salt to the crisis.

unequivocal proof that the energy tension is maximumas well as maximum is the financial and logistical inability to get out of the rut quicklyis that the flames were still burning when Havana was suffering, for the first time, long night blackouts… of those that end with walls “dedicated” to the President of the Republic.

But energy deficit It is not the only damage that what happened in Matanzas will leave Castroism. Black smoke spreads to tourism.

Cuba is boring, there is no nightlife, very few discos and scattered bars do not make up an area famous for its fun; There are also no theme parks, zoos or aquariums where children do not come out crying with pity for the animals. Beyond its intensely exploited nature only on beaches and some tour through the rubble of socialism, tour operators sell the island for its tranquility and security.

But recent times are being corrosive to that bucolic image. Social revolts and repression as long ago did not transcend to the international press; a hotel that explodes; one of the most prestigious magazines in the world, The Economistshowing data that pulverizes any remnant of prestige of the Health system; blackouts, queues, inflation, widespread scarcity even for tourists and, to top it off, explosions and toxic clouds a few kilometers from Varadero.

Pathetic was proving the recovery of tourism post-pandemic, extraordinarily slow when compared to the absolute visitor reception records that the Dominican Republic, the closest competitor, is achieving. Is the loss of that image of tranquility related to that Quisqueyan tourism is skyrocketing while Cuban tourism stagnates?

Slowly, but inexorably, the ruins of the Revolution cease to be a gloomy postcard for morbid tourists and become a vital danger. Walking in Havana is a high-risk activity, night blackouts enhance the decrepitude of balconies, facades and even trees that threaten to crush passers-by, while the potholes deepen like cavities in a hungry city.

It is not clear where the resources will come from to mitigate this debacle. Blackouts accelerate idleness, lack of fuel accelerates inflationthe upcoming harvests will be marked by the critical exacerbation of the lack of irrigation, tractors and mechanization in general… that’s hunger, more hunger. No hope that the economy will reviveit only remains to discover What saint will castrism undress to disguise the lack of energyWhat will they take away resources to sustain a collapsed system for a while longer?

Something big must happen in Cuba, and soon! This can’t take any more. Let us pray that another “accident” does not happen and, even if it is for fear of the ghost of Ceaușescu, Castroism makes real changes, not frauds, not superficial. Cuba needs a ray, one of hope.

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