Cuba’s State Press Is Silent Over the Death of a Cupet Worker From Toxic Gases

García worked for the Matanzas Oil Drilling and Extraction Company / Facebook / Renier García Gómez

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 June 2024 — A worker of the Cárdenas Oil Drilling and Extraction Company, in Matanzas, died this Friday after inhaling toxic gases during the repair of a leak. The news was shared on the official Facebook profiles of the company, a branch of the Cuban Petroleum Union (Cupet), which regretted the death of the worker without clarifying the circumstances of the accident. “Renier García Gómez, head of the 7 Collector Center, dies, a young man given to the oil cause,” announced one of the entity’s publications.

Faced with the silence of the official provincial press and the company itself, it has been García’s acquaintances who have offered some details. “There was a gas leak, and two men were seriously injured. Unfortunately, there was no time. One of the men died, and to my surprise, it was Renier,” one of his acquaintances wrote on social networks, adding that the victim had been his high school math teacher.

Other publications mention that the repair of the leak was carried out underground, and when accessing the area both workers inhaled the gas and were admitted on June 5 to the Faustino Pérez hospital in the provincial capital. Some users shared on Thursday several requests for vitamin C for the young father, who was in “serious” condition.

The death of another Cupet worker brings to mind the events that occurred at the Matanzas Supertanker Base in 2022

The death of another Cupet worker brings to mind the events that occurred at the Matanzas Supertanker Base in 2022, when several firefighters and state employees died trying to contain a fire in the oil deposits. Accidents like these place attention on the company and its lack of security for its employees.

Two years ago, the Saratoga Hotel located in Old Havana exploded due to a gas leak, and 47 people died. Of these, 23 worked at the hotel.

Last February, three stevedores also died in the port of Santiago de Cuba from lethal gases, after opening a container that had been fumigated.

The list goes on, but the silence of the authorities is constant and there is little transparency with the data. According to the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, in 2022, the most recent figures available, 52 people died in work accidents. That same year, the number of these incidents was 1,858, which affected 1,949 employees; 63.2% of the injured were men.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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