UK union sends condolences to Cuba following train crash

Campaign News | Monday, 8 October 2007

Following Sunday’s train crash in Cuba, ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman has sent condolences to the families of the victims

On 7 October at least 28 people were killed and more than 70 injured in Cuba after a train collided with a bus at a level crossing.

The accident - which is the worst in Cuba for years - happened in Granma province in the east of the island. Fifteen people were reported to be critically injured, and local people have been helping treat them.

In response, Keith Norman, General Secretary of ASLEF, the UK train drivers union, sent condelences on behalf of his members to Cuba:

Dear Friends

I was deeply saddened to read that 28 people have been killed in a Cuban train crash and a further 70 have been injured, 15 of which are critical. On behalf of my union ASLEF which represents train drivers in the UK, I would like to pass our deepest sympathies to families of the dead and injured.

My union ASLEF is involved in a number of safety campaigns in the UK; one of which is the safety of trains on level crossings and accidents that happen on level crossings caused by vehicles on crossings which appears to be the case in Cuba.

ASLEF is campaigning for greater in-cab technology which would go a long way to preventing such accidents which sometimes occur in the UK too, however technology of this nature calls for massive investment.

I would argue that through no fault of the Cuban Government and the Cuban people the investment needed to modernise the railway system in would be very difficult to implement.

Even if the Cuban economy could set aside large enough amounts of money to invest in a modernisation programme I very much doubt that with the illegal US embargo that is placed on Cuba such technology would not and could not be exported to Cuba.

It’s simply an extension of the inhumane embargo that operates illegally and in this case has cost the lives of ordinary people. This tragic accident is another reason for the illegal embargo to be torn down and replaced with a ‘fair trade’ system that would include co-operation between the UK Government aiding Cuba with technology and perhaps in return receiving medical assistance and medical expertise.

To end; on behalf of the ASLEF Executive Committee, its Officials and its members please pass on our condolences to the Cuban people for their loss.

Yours in solidarity

Keith Norman

General Secretary


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