EFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 6 October 2022 — The Legal Rescue Foundation (FRJ) of Cubans exiled in Miami announced on Wednesday the shipment to the Island of 5 million dollars in medical equipment to help the population, after the damage caused by Hurricane Ian.
The president of the FRJ, Santiago Álvarez, announced at a press conference that the aid is now ready to be sent, although he clarified that work is being done on the delivery conditions for the material through diplomatic channels, without giving details.
“The aid will be delivered to hospitals and victims,” Álvarez told EFE, after noting that, in any case, it will go through the Cuban authorities.
“The containers with the material are ready to be shipped, but the Government of Havana will not touch them,” Álvarez stressed at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in the city of Miami.
Although the aid had been planned for a long time, due to the deterioration of the living conditions of the Cuban population, efforts intensified after Hurricane Ian hit the west of the Island with special virulence last week.
In addition, the passage of Ian further complicated the situation of the electrical system, causing a breakdown that almost completely turned the entire country dark.
The scourge of the hurricane, the first to hit Cuba in the current cyclone season, left a provisional figure of five deaths and serious material damage, so far only partially quantified.
Álvarez said that the Cuban authorities intend to “sell” the aid that arrives for their compatriots, in addition to ensuring that “thousands of Cubans live in shelters after the passage of previous hurricanes” and that he hopes that after Ian “it will not be different.”
“Inefficiency and negligence” are the words that Álvarez used to define the Government’s response to the hurricane.
Alexis Abril, of the Miami Medical Team Foundation, a group of medical professionals in South Florida that helps countries suffering from disasters, told EFE that there are teams ready to join the FRJ shipment, but that they are waiting for the approval of the authorities.
Cuba has so far received solidarity aid from the Governments of Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina, as well as from international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Cuba at the end of last week to protest the lack of electricity, which added to a widespread cut in the mobile Internet service, a problem that is added to the general shortage.
During the press conference, Álvarez also announced that the FRJ establishes two annual awards in recognition of the fight against the “Cuban regime,” the Virgilio Campanería and the Carlos Alberto Montaner, both endowed with 5,000 dollars and whose winners will be made public on October 10.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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