Aid shipment arrives in Cuba
Campaign News | Monday, 22 January 2024
A shipment of material aid including tools to help with hurricane relief, arts materials, and equipment to help refurbish the camp for volunteer work brigades arrived in Cuba in November and CSC has just received photographs showing the items in use.
The container was in part a response to requests from the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP) and Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, as well as to deliver direct aid for reconstruction and future hurricane relief preparedness to Pinar del Río. It brings the total number of containers delived to Cuba from CSC tin the last six months to three; two arrived in October following the Viva La Educación appeal.
Hurricane Ian relief
On 27 September 2022 the eastern province of Pinar del Río suffered significant damage as Hurricane Ian, a Category 3 storm tore through the Cuban countryside. It destroyed more than 4,000 homes and 5,000 farms, damaged thousands more, and wiped out much of the region’s prized tobacco harvest and other crops. Although 50,000 people were evacuated in advance of the storm, five sadly lost their lives.
CSC ran an appeal following the storm, and would like to thank everyone who donated. Cabling, tens of thousands of LED light bulbs and lighting equipment have now been delivered for the repair and reconstruction of houses across the province. Donations were also used to purchase a selection of power tools, including pneumatic drills and angle grinders which will help in the rebuilding process and to clear debris after future storms.
The materials arrived in Pinar del Río in November and have already been distributed to the work brigades which are reconstructing homes. Otto Medero Ungo, a representative of ICAP in Pinar del Río, thanked CSC for its “most important donation” and said: “We, the people of Pinar, send huge hugs to our friends across Britain. Thank you to all who have us in your minds and your hearts.”
ICAP camp refurbishment
Most people who have taken part in a CSC solidarity brigade will be familiar with the Campamento Internacional Julio Antonio Mella where the accommodation, canteen, and meeting rooms for the international brigades are based. The camp was used extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic as a specialist health and recuperation centre, and some of the equipment was due for renewal. CSC was able to help replace 250 sets of cutlery and crockery for the canteen, new bedding for dormitories, and importantly new kitchen equipment. A range of tools to enable the camp to establish an ‘organoponico’ (kitchen garden) were also sent. The ‘organoponico’ will provide fresh produce and future brigadistas will also be able to support it though their voluntary work while on the camp.
Supporting Cuban culture
The Music Fund for Cuba provided funds to send more instruments and arts materials to Cuban schools, as well as a substantial amount of office stationery for the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
Anette Rodríguez from the Ministry of Culture sent a message of thanks for the “tremendous support for the ongoing work of our ministry. Your support has been vital in enabling us to maintain our work in support of culture and the arts across the island at this difficult time.”
CSC would like to thank everyone who responded to the Hurricane Ian appeal, as well as all members who have made general donations to our work. Such general donations not only enable CSC to continue campaigning against the US blockade, but also to respond to material aid requests from partners.