14ymedio, Havana, 17 August 2022 — Venezuela will once again invest in the Matanzas SupertankerBase, where half the fuel tanks were destroyed after the gigantic fire that lasted several days. Nicolás Maduro, reports Prensa Latina, announced on Sunday that he will support the reconstruction of the stricken facility and that he has already instructed the Ministry of Petroleum to do so.
In an act of commendation for the 43 firefighters and experts from the state-owned PDVSA sent to Cuba to mitigate the fire, the Venezuelan president reiterated his country’s solidarity with the Island, from which he has mainly received doctors and military training in exchange for oil since 1999.
“Cuba knows that it has our scientific, technical, engineering and worker support,” Maduro said in statements to the official Cuban press. “Contact the Cuban oil and energy authorities to begin the reconstruction design of the Supertanker Base in Matanzas,” he ordered.
Both Venezuela and Mexico sent dozens of flights with personnel and material aid to help stop the flames, which remained uncontrolled for five days, until the fuel from the tanks was consumed.
The Cuban authorities have focused on extolling that aid but still haven’t provided the list of the 14 people they continue to call “the disappeared.” Nor have they mentioned the environmental consequences or the total cost of the disaster, which began on August 5, due to a lightning strike according to the official version.
So far, the Government has recognized only two deaths: firefighters Juan Carlos Santana Garrido, 60, and Elier Correa, 24. Of the 132 injured in the fire, 18 are still hospitalized: four in critical condition, five serious, and nine, “under care.”
Although the industrial enclave of Matanzas where the Supertanker Base is located dates back to the 1980s, when it was built with money from the Soviet Union, the damaged tanks are very recent, from 2012, and were constructed with the economic and technical support of Venezuela.
In a 2020 publication, some specialists warned of the danger of storing fuel for more than two months, referring to the conditions in which the reserves stored by Petróleos de Venezuela are held, in tanks similar to those of the Matanzas Base.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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