ETECSA in Pinar del Río: a family stuff

ETECSA in Pinar del Río: a family stuff
Fecha de publicación: 
7 November 2022
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“We have worked well, hard, with no pause,” said Joel Cruz Venero, the first operator we met working to repair the damage that hurricane Ian caused to the communications networks in Pinar del Río.

He is from San Juan y Martínez, Pinar del Rio province. Those hours of hurricane Ian hover around his mind like a nightmare:

"That was frightening. My house is made of wood. Some parts of it are made of masonry and a piece of ceiling was blown off. I climbed up to the roof of my house and the perception was hellish. I find no other words to describe it. For example, hurricanes Isidoro and Lili passed through here but none had the Ian’s power of destruction. The hole has been closed already and we are here, fighting back. We have been working here since the hurricane was gone.”


He came back to work immediately. In fact, “the hurricane stroke on Tuesday, and we were already back at work on Wednesday mapping the destruction. On weekend, the troops were already here...”

The Troops…

Bayamo’s arrived in San Juan on September 30, clearing fallen trees and cables so the rest could move on along a road that Roberto Milanés later confirmed: "It was a huge impact here, but a huge one."

When we talked, they already had on their shoulders 23 long working days: already woken up at 6:00 a.m. in Sandino, where they stay; then a one-hour trip to San Juan y Martinez; lunch time around 2:00 p.m. and again to the field; "There is no chance to sit down for a while or anything like that. The break is on the field." Around 8:30 p.m., they get back every night to Sandino.

And what about family? "They are waiting for us." They have been to Santiago, Guantánamo, Villa Clara, and in Granma itself. As the information from the National Institute of Meteorology and Civil Defense about the imminence of a hurricane begins to spread, “the troops” automatically get ready.

This time, the destination point was Pinar del Río and the goal was the same: "Try to solve interruptions in the shortest possible time, to provide the population with at least some satisfaction. This is what we can do best to help them in the face of the situation that has taken place, which has been critical in this case. There are places where we have come to install the telephone again and we have not been able to because there is no longer a house, Ian completely swept it."


"When you know your job, it's not difficult," says Roberto, the head of the Corte y Bajante brigade, and adds: "we were exhausted by the sun, the weather conditions... but the linemen, the telephone technicians, and our brigade, is a machinery that begins with the lineman lifting the pole, the telephone technician installs the terminal box and our job is to installing the telephones. That is, essentially, an all-around installation process."

The Big Family…

Joel joined forces with a brigade from Sancti Spiritus, so he knows about the importance of the effort:

“I was involved in Sandy, in Santiago de Cuba, for 35 days in 2013 and then in Havana I worked for a month and a half. ETECSA is a family, from east to west, and I just tag ETECSA because it is the job I have, but I can talk about the Cuban Electric Company. The work has remained constant and I do appreciate their work as I was in spot they are right now.

I appreciate the sacrifice they are doing, the situation and circumstances they are working in. I lived all that. I was in Havana. They are now here in Sandino, Pinar del Río. The situation is not so chaotic now, but they are away from home. They have spent 20 days away from home. We must remember that and appreciate it.”

Some had spent twenty days on that Saturday, others almost thirty and none paused their efforts:


"Wherever we are needed, we will be there as we are from ETECFSA, but feel identified with the workers of the Cuban Electric Company as well. I see them as partners. We work, each worker on his or her field, from Santiago, Las Tunas, or Granma. And there is unity because we, Cubans, are a family.”

The faith of Omar Hernández —one of the neighbors of San Juan y Martinez who lost part of his house roof, but not his hospitality or hope— trusts them: “little by little everything will be resolved, we have to trust the Revolution. We are going to step forward. I have been talking with people from Granma, Camagüey and everyone who has been working since they arrived. You see them working with love and determination, looking for solutions and trying to help you, so we do our best to help as well. That’s the goal. Even though we are not from the same province, we are all from Cuba. We have the same blood."

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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