It is impossible to dedicate this weekly column to comment on any other news  than the air disaster that has shocked Cuba in the last 72 hours. We would like to think for a moment that what happened is not connected to human rights violations.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

There is an umbilical cord that connects the accident with the impossibility of Cuban citizens to create independent associations of consumers, censorship in the press, corruption that encourages all kinds of shady business at the expense of the population, the absence of a judicial independent power,  the lack of freedom of expression even for state officials and many other factors that facilitated this misfortune to occur and will allow others to happen in the future.

The loss of more than a hundred lives in a single instant makes us shudder.  But how many deaths in “accidents” on deteriorated roads without adequate lighting or signaling, by epidemics generated by national insalubrity, collapses of houses and other causes are not also attributable to the lack of foresight, irresponsible impunity and corruption that make them possible thanks to the absence of freedoms and basic citizen rights to put a stop to them?

Most of these situations do not happen from personal misfortunes that occur by chance.  It is not a lightning that kills a person or knocks down an airplane. There are consequences to the inefficiency, corruption and irresponsibility fostered by a centralized, statist, dictatorial and obsolete regime of gobernance that turns its back to the needs and interests of citizens. These personal tragedies are an inseparable part of the national tragedy.

Many of these events do not represent inevitable misfortunes, the fate of destiny or the expression of a divine will. Not all are the result of chance and natural catastrophes that would escape moral judgment. They are in many cases of human manufacture and perfectly judged from an ethical perspective because they could have been avoided. They did not “have” to happen.

It was not the will of God that these people perished with a dozen of their pastors of the Church of Nazarene. It was the will of those who do not reinvest the profits of tourism in the safety of passengers and try to maximize benefits at their expense. They are the same ones who now say that it is the “blockade” of the United States that is responsible for those deaths. Those who monopolize the information that is provided and try to block or out maneuver independent investigations. The same group of elite persons that prevent the courts from receiving citizen complaints,  nor allow them to judge in favor of those who have been victims of their insensitivity and apathy.

If the directly affected parties and the general population accept this new misfortune quietly and resignedly as a “blow of fate” they would be opening space for negligence and new tragedies that will go unpunished. That is the  predictable outcome in a society without a free press, empowered citizens, and independent judges who may question the easy explanations of those who have the responsibility to answer for those deaths.

Once that the last tear for the loss of these innocent lives is wiped, it will be necessary to demand total transparency about what happened as well as justice and indemnizations for the families of the victims, either in national or foreign courts of law.

Al enjugar la ultima lagrima por la perdida de esas vidas inocentes habrá que exigir la total transparencia sobre lo ocurrido y la justicia e indemnizaciones correspondientes para las familias de las víctimas, sea en tribunales nacionales o extranjeros.

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