Goodbye 2022, Next Year Will be Better

Goodbye 2022, Next Year Will be Better
Fecha de publicación: 
30 December 2022
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Next year should be better, let’s hope so “it demands more than a comprehensive plan; it requires shaking off inertia, banishing bureaucratism, removing more obstacles and overcoming contentment”.

This was indicated by the President of the Republic and first secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in his debriefing before Parliament also asserted his confidence "in the creative and innovative work of those who must answer for these tasks in a time that is no longer measured by the time, but by the demands caused by weariness after a hard fight of more than 60 years against a criminal and unacceptable blockade.

And the fight against that U.S. blockade was even tougher this year, also marked by unprecedented disasters, which tested the integrity of this people.

The most repeated topic for conversation early in the year was the draft of the new Family Code, which, from February to April 30th, had the participation of more than 6 million citizens in a democratic Popular Consultation process.

The equal marriage, more rights for grandparents, adoption processes... were reasons for talks at homes, workplaces, and public spaces, when a piece of news stopped all conversations suddenly: Explosion at the Saratoga Hotel.

It was the morning of May 6th and from that moment on, all of Cuba began to live a different time, that of rescue after rescue, a time of pain and human solidarity.

What followed was a week in which Cubans lived as their own the tragedy that occurred in the hotel as a result of a possible gas leak.

Rescue teams, firefighters, medical and paramedical personnel, as well as other specialized forces, joined hands in search of those missing after the explosion.

Meanwhile, at different points the residents got ready donate blood and contribute, in the most diverse ways, to families that had lost loved ones or their homes, because the explosion also caused serious damage to neighboring or nearby buildings.

After 6 days of permanent and risky search under the debris, days in which there were constant visits to the site of the country's highest officials, as well as to the hospitals where the wounded were treated, on Thursday, May 12th, the rescue of the last body, completing the painful figure of 46 deaths.

An official statement released declared official mourning from 06:00 on May 13th until 12:00 on the evening of May 14th.

In the midst of mourning, the surroundings of the hotel and El Parque de la Fraternidad hosted a vigil, which likewise multiplied in solidarity in other provinces and especially on social networks, where candles and black ribbons flooded the cyberspace.

But even without erasing the traces of the tragedy, for that May we Cubans had a reason for relief: we had managed to overcome the hardest part of the pandemic. It has been a battle that "we won with talent, organization, integrity, and from there the concept of creative resistance was born", said the Cuban President.

Since the end of March, there has been a sustained decrease in Covid-19 cases, and on March 30th, after nine weeks in which this trend of fewer and fewer infections, admissions or deaths as a result of the disease, and considering the high levels of immunization achieved thanks to Cuban vaccines, the country announced that it was easing its protocol to deal with the virus.

The mask was no longer mandatory outdoors, although the call for self-responsibility continued to be instilled.

Following two years of struggling with the coronavirus, which had sent through an ordeal the potential for resistance, science, and creativity of this people, the Minister of Public Health, Dr. José Ángel Portal Miranda, explained to Parliament that these were "moments in which it’s possible to speak of an epidemiological control associated with this disease”.

It was July and the Ninth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the National Assembly of People's Power was in session in its IX Legislature. Serving as the prelude to the popular referendum, the Family Code was approved by the deputies, "one of the legal norms that have had the most social and political significance in the legal history of the country, according to what the Cuban president stated at the time.

Díaz-Cannel also recalled the unprecedented in our country of the popular referendum that would take place two months later, in September, when the people would vote for that law, also called the Code of Affections, considering affection as a legal value, also an extraordinary matter, according to the President.

One of the strategies that has shaped the dynamics of the Island is the effort to transform neighborhoods, with special emphasis on those with the greatest disadvantages and particularizing families in vulnerable situations.

Since the previous year, gained popularity the criteria that "the Revolution begins in the neighborhood," as the Cuban President has repeated several times, he has made several visits to check such transformations and exchange with the inhabitants of those communities.

The country was fully bent on transforming the neighborhoods and many were enjoying their summer holidays, when on August 5th another bad news announced that 2022 would not give us a rest: an electric discharge had set on fire the supertanker base in Matanzas, located in the industrial zone of that city.

The fire started on the dome of tank 52, which contained around 26,000 cubic meters of national crude oil, close to half of its total capacity; and on the following days it spread to other three tanks, keeping Cubans on edge again, due to the firefighters who had been reported missing while trying to quench the flames and also due to the high risk the fire would spread further with all the environmental and material damage that this would entail.

By Friday, August 12th, a week later, and after a fight that became constant with jets of water, foam, and chemical products applied by specialized teams on land, air, and sea by fire brigades from Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela, The Cuban Fire Department declared, at 7:00 a.m., the fire was extinguished.

The tragedy left nearly 130 injured, most of them hospitalized in a short period of time, as well as 14 firefighters who died.

The President of the Republic of Cuba agreed to decree an Official Mourning, from 06:00 a.m. on August 18th until 12:00 p.m. on August 19th, 2022, the day funeral services were held for the fallen in the line of duty with a tribute at the Firefighters Museum in the city of Matanzas. More than 15,000 people came to pay their respect, Army General Raúl Castro and President Díaz-Canel among the firsts.

It will also go down in history, although with a very different omen the day of Sunday, September 25th, 2022. That was the day when the majority of Cubans approved the Family Code in a referendum.

A total of 24,860 polling stations opened their doors throughout Cuba; After exercising his right to vote, the president of the National Assembly, Esteban Lazo, commented to those present in Gotica de Rocío day care center in the capital: “We always thought we should do it because we trust popular wisdom and its feelings. We represent a state of rights and social justice and this Code proves it. Since the beginning, Fidel taught us to count on the people."

When presenting the official results of that referendum, the president of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro, ratified that 3 950 288 voters voted Yes, which represents 66.85 of the total valid ballots.

"Under a hurricane of shortages and difficulties, the people voted and approved the Code, showing signs of a high and unequivocal social conscience," said Díaz-Canel.

Some polling offices were still being disassembled and the joy at having a new Family Code, also called the Code of Affections, did not subside, when a third tragedy shocked the Island.

Just two days after the Referendum, on September 27th, Hurricane Ian hit Cuba through the town of La Coloma, with winds over 200 km/h, crossing the west of the island from south to north.

The main havoc was wrecked in Pinar del Río, but also the provinces of Artemisa, Mayabeque, and Havana, as well as the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud, experienced the fury of its winds. More than 30 thousand people were evacuated.

Putting into words the true magnitude of a catastrophe will always be impossible; for this reason, as in the two previous disasters –the Saratoga hotel and the fire on the supertanker base-, it’s better not to do a list of the damage, like the tip of the iceberg, the reality of what happened.

Almost 94,000 homes were torn by Ian's winds and rains, many of them completely destroyed; the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque, and Havana were totally without electrical service, with all the serious implications this entails.

As for agriculture, close to 21,000 farmed hectares were victims of Ian, mainly banana, and cassava, while tobacco was undoubtedly the most affected, since most of it was concentrated on Pinar del Río.

The damage was so large, as reported in one of several broadcasts of the Mesa Redonda radio-television program dedicated to informing about the damage and recovery efforts, that 10,000 tobacco houses were completely destroyed at the same time as 92% of the total were affected. Of the stored tobacco, 14,552 tons were damaged, and 1,292 tons were left unusable...

Fixed and mobile telephony, roads, trees, the water supply... everything that guides the normalcy of daily life was disrupted by Hurricane Ian, but with the same strength of its winds, the country set out to recover, prioritizing in particular aid to western provinces that took the blunt of the blow.

Brigades of electricians, telecommunications workers, builders and other specialties converged from many different parts of the country to help the affected regions, while the country's leadership systematically and demandingly supervised the progress.

There have been so many setbacks left by Ian, that on early December, in one of the usual check-up meetings led by President Díaz-Canel, it was analyzed, among other things, the damage to the housing sector, which could not be fully resolved.

But even with these scars on the island, and also with those of the inflation-shortage situation, which causes long lines and dissatisfaction, lashed by the tightening of the blockade, the effects of the pandemic, the increase in emigration and also by international inflation, Cubans, based on their conviction and confidence, responded to the call to elect delegates to the municipal assemblies of People's Power on November 27th.

As a result, 68.56% of those registered in the updated voter lists went to the polls and through a free and secret vote elected the 12,422 constituency delegates who, since December 17th, have been members of the municipal assemblies of People’s Power.

This was one of the most recent exercises in democracy that marked year 2022, distinguished by a broad legislative schedule, which included the approval of eight decrees and 15 laws, including the one on Food and Nutrition Security, the Protection of personal data, the Expropriation for reasons of public usefulness or social interest, the Criminal Code and that of Families, as reported by Oscar Silveira Martínez, Minister of Justice and president of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

Rebuild, support, create, resist, embrace... have been the words spoken repeatedly by Cubans during this year, in which we also mourn the loss of such beloved and valuable figures as musicians Pablo Milanés, Suylén Milanés, José Luis Cortés and César “Pupy” Pedroso; the poet and essayist Fina García-Marruz, the plastic artists Ernesto Rancaño, Juan Moreira and Cosme Proenza; the actors Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Aurora Basnuevo, Gina Cabrera and Mario Balmaseda, as well as Ronaldo Veitía, the emblematic judo coach, among other prominent personalities.

Cuba Nevers Gives Up

This is confirmed by the history of this country and the same showed the debate of the V Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, held December 9-10, and also the Tenth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power in its IX Legislature, finished on December 14th.

In the speech at the closing of the most recent session of Parliament, President Díaz-Canel assured when revising what happened this year that "What we have suffered forces us to improve ourselves."

"If we learned the hardest lessons from the year that’s ending -he concluded-, we can prepare ourselves to face the new year in better conditions".

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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