Citizen Solidarity After The Tornado Shows A Vibrant And Alive Civil Society

The citizen response to help the victims of the tornado is a source of hope about the nature and organizational capacity of Cuban civil society. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, 5 February 2019 – In recent days we have seen moving signs of solidarity with the victims of the tornado that hit Havana. Drivers who offer their taxis, free of charge, to carry donations, paladares – private restaurants – who deliver food to those who lost everything, artists who bring water to the most affected areas, and emigrants who call for campaigns to collect products to send to the Island. Often the protagonists in this aid are people who, themselves, have very little or almost nothing.

The emergence of this citizen response, spontaneous and disinterested, inspires hopes about the nature and organizational capacity of Cuban civil society. And surprise about its efficiency and the volume of products collected despite the fact that these initiatives have not been able to rely on mass media for coordination, and in many cases have had to fight against the misunderstandings of the local authorities and the attempt of the Plaza of the Revolution to monopolize the distribution of donations.

And excitement, too, that after three decades of not permitting free association and only authorizing the existence of government organizations, there still remains, in the Island, the attitude and commitment to organize a campaign for humanitarian donations, autonomously and effectively. Many of the self-employed deserve special mention as they have offered – after so many years of suffering under the suspicion of those who say they only want to enrich themselves to live “above the people” – a lesson in dedication and selflessness at this time.

The displays of solidarity have come from the hands of restaurants like D’ La Abuela, who put into practice an effective system so that anyone could pay for a meal on-line to be delivered to the most damaged neighborhoods in Luyanó, Regla, Santo Suarez and Guanabacoa. Similarly, from musicians who have arranged concerts privately to raise money. And even from the attitude of independent reporters who not only related the testimonies of the victims, but also helped to document their particulars so that aid could reach them directly.

All of them are the heroes of recent days, especially because they have not received a salary for doing what they have done, they were not called by those “up above” to clear debris or give a hug and the work they performed was not a part of their ordinary jobs. They did it because they wanted to help and because they felt that each individual matters when it comes to civil society. Like a gigantic anthill, the smallest gestures and the simplest resources help to raise and maintain the common edifice of a citizenry.

A big hand to all of them.

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3 thoughts on “Citizen Solidarity After The Tornado Shows A Vibrant And Alive Civil Society

  1. Kim, this is just being human. You’r right about the Christmas hypocrisy of course.
    There’s a lot of confusion about what Capitalism and Socialism are, especially in the USA right now, Socialism isn’t the destruction of the means of production going on in Vzla now. Socialism is redistribution. Marx was right about the financialized, perverted Capitalism we have now with A QUARTER QUADRILLION USD OF DEBT, ready to collapse. He was wrong about the proletariat ruling. History has shown us that it ain’t happenin’, with the Commie elites even worse than the Capitalist ones, like Fidel Castro I want to launch FME, free market entrepeneurism, and get rid of the misunderstood and hated word Capitalism.

  2. Usually I just steal this space and talk about Venezuela. This time however there’s a wonderfully brilliant segway to the humanitarian invasion into Vzla: The first time I used the term I put ” ” there. Now it’s started. The Vzla armed forces will be forced to make a choice. Soldiers are also just people, and only very rarely massacre civilians. Already the armed forces are hemorraging. 6% or more have deserted. The turning point will be reached very soon.The inMaduro Narcocracy goes poof!
    IOW people helping people is a much greater force than geopolitics, geoeconomics and armies.
    Thank you Yoani! You gave me the last piece of the puzzle. You knocked down the argument that humanitarian aid can be manipulated. Humanity always wins in the end!

  3. This is the way you would expect working people to behave in a socialist society and you even see this in times of disaster in a capitalist society. In capitalism you see the hypocrisy of a retail company fighting hunger by collecting donations during the big Christmas season. Once its over the fight against huger and collection of donation ends and than the layoffs and shorter hour pay weeks begin.

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