While still facing challenges in repairing damage from Hurricane Maria, workers and farmers in Cuba, organized by their revolutionary government, have made big strides in restoring electricity and beginning the process of rebuilding homes.
And in an example of internationalism — what Cuban workers often say means “sharing what we have, not what’s left over” — at the same time they’re mobilizing at home, they’re also sending needed personnel and aid to working people elsewhere.
On Sept. 23, the Cuban government sent 1.6 tons of humanitarian aid to the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. Along with the shipment were medical personnel, a canine rescue brigade and electrical technicians to repair hurricane damage.
This is on top of the 771 Cuban internationalist volunteers already in the Caribbean before hurricanes Irma and Maria hit, who stayed on to help. Among the islands where the Cubans are stationed are Antigua and Barbuda; San Cristóbal and Nieves; St. Lucia; Bahamas; Dominica; and Haiti.
Because of the Cuban revolutionaries’ well-deserved reputation for internationalist solidarity, the colonial regimes welcome the help.
On Sept. 29, Cuban TV reported that 40 volunteers from the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade — including doctors, nurses, lab technicians, anesthesiologists and physical therapists — were on their way to the Mexican state of Oaxaca, one of the poorest parts of the country, which suffered serious damage in the Sept. 7 earthquake.
Writing in Granma, newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, Ricardo Alonso Venereo explained the Cuban people offer solidarity because it feels the misfortunes of other peoples “as if they were our own.”