The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing personal protective equipment for Cuban firefighters, responding to a request from the Government of Havana, according to an update on the coordination between the two governments regarding the fire that broke out on August 5 at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, sent by the State Department to the US Congress. A Democratic adviser provided it to DIARIO DE CUBA.
The information, contained in an email dated September 14, indicates that Cuban authorities accepted the offer of help from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA for its acronym in English) of the USA.
During a virtual meeting that took place on August 24 and is described as productive in the message from the State Department, the Cuban experts made a detailed presentation of the information known so far and ended with a list of questions and requests regarding sanitation, waste management, environmental sampling, assessment of impacts on human health and risk management.
The EPA technical team provided initial information during the meeting and is working to provide additional information in response to specific requests from the Cuban government, such as recommendations on how to deal with residual waste at the fire site and a list of the type of equipment needed. to measure air quality appropriately.
In response to the Cuban government’s request for help in obtaining personal protective equipment for firefighters, la USAID is in the process of procuring and providing 100 sets of fire-resistant coats, pants, gloves, boots, and helmets for Island firefighters.
The State Department and USAID already transferred 43 sets of personal protective equipment to the Cuban fire brigade on September 13 and they plan to deliver the remaining 57 games when they become available.
The Cuban government agreed to a virtual technical exchange with experts in fire and disaster management from USAID. USAID is working with the Government of Havana to schedule the call.
The State Department continues to work closely with the EPA, USAID, and Cuban officials to monitor recovery from the fire and determine if further assistance is needed.
Could the Cuban regime be accused of mercenarism?
The regime usually accuses independent journalists and activists who receive funding from USAID of mercenarism, which the media subordinate to the Cuban state accuse of being a cover for the CIA and of supporting destabilization on the island.
Now, the regime is also turning to the agency that channels part of the US international aid and is the largest donor in the world, so that Cuban firefighters are better protected when facing a fire like the one that occurred on August 5 in Matanzas and in which killed 16 people, including several young people who were doing military service.
Although the Cuban government does not seem to have any qualms about receiving help from USAID, so far no information about it has been released in the state media.