Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has extended the party’s solidarity to the Cuban people after a massive fire at the Matanzas oil facility.
Teachta Crowe, a member of the Oireachtas Parliamentary Friendship Group with Cuba, has called on the Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to provide whatever aid they could in the aftermath of the blaze that has killed at least one firefighter, with many more still missing after explosions during the attempts to quench the blaze.
Teachta Crowe said:
“The fire at the oil storage facility in Matanzas, Cuba is a terrible tragedy. At least one firefighter is dead with many more missing and over one hundred injuries after the fire raged for five days.
“I met with the Cuban Ambassador, Mr Bernardo Guanche Hernandez, this week and extended Sinn Féin’s sympathies and solidarity with the Cuban people as they faced this dreadful ordeal. The loss of life and injuries are terrible to behold and the long-term impact on all aspects of the Cuban economy and society will be very challenging.
“I have called on the Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to provide whatever aid they could in the aftermath of the blaze. Cuba is still blockaded by the US Government and this only hampers efforts to both extinguish the fire and to rebuild afterwards.
“Every year, Ireland and the United Nations, with a few exceptions, rightly condemn the blockade that impacts so negatively on every aspect of Cuban life.
“This tragedy highlights the cruelty of this illegal blockade. Cuba and its people need assistance following this tragedy and Ireland should not hesitate to offer its fulsome support whether it is in the area of medical aid, energy and technical repair needs, or help with the huge environmental clean-up that will be needed when eventually this fire is extinguished.
“There have been displays of solidarity from Latin American countries such as Mexico and Venezuela in terms of technical expertise and medical aid. I believe that Ireland should follow this fine example and provide whatever assistance we can to the Cuban people.
“I also want to extend the sympathies of Sinn Féin to the loved ones of the firefighter who lost their life, the 14 who are still missing, and those injured with horrific burns.”