To the heroes…

To the heroes…
Fecha de publicación: 
19 August 2022
Imagen principal: 

There are no victims and no one to blame among those who risked their lives on the fire, their lives and dreams and every morning. There are only heroes among them, some of them alive, others eternally alive in the soul of a city that was threatened to be burnt to ashes, of a country that was always by its side.


If someone desperately look for someone to blame, blame me. I, who arrived late when those who are missing, had been hit by the blast. I, who was prudent, who was not there, and did not risk to leave my children orphaned and my mom, dead in life, while they prevented everyone —my children, my mother, myself— from becoming victims.


I look at the faces of the younger ones and stories from my childhood crowd into my mind: The Little Vidette of Lombardy; the child heroes of Chapultepec.


There are so many names that come to my mind: Paquito González Cueto, Frank, Abel...the 17-year-old boy Jose Martí, wearing the shackles of prison...


They are not like other victims. They are just boys who became men in the passionate exercise of will and courage, the heroes of all time.


I arrived late, but in time to hug some who were there first and stayed until the very last day. That almost night, when the blackened ruins and the bent steel left me speechless. I saw a man cry while keeping hold of the wheel of his fire truck. A boss who refused to be relieved as a father refuses.


My colleague Yirmara Torres Hernández took the photo that I have kept until today. There is a lot of symbol in it. It is the truck of the National School of Firefighters. On board, there are several of the brave men who were in the plane crash a few years ago, in the recent explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, and returned again to the field. Courage, a lot of courage on those wheels.


There is no victory in this tremendous battle against fire. It is paramount, indeed, the tribute to all: to the survivors and to the eternally alive; to them, to the heroes, thanks and respect.


Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff


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