Do We Let Santiago de Cuba Go Under?
November 26, 2012
Alberto N Jones
HAVANA TIMES — The massive destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in New
York, New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States prevented the media
from reporting about another massive destruction that has crippled
Santiago de Cuba and placed nearly one million people on the brink of
economic collapse and created even greater uncertainty about the future
of this 500-year-old city.
I'm speaking of not only the second largest city in Cuba but is also the
birthplace of Mariana Grajales. Known as the mother of the Cuban nation
and the most extraordinary woman of African descent in this hemisphere,
she saw her whole family enlist in the wars of independence of 1868, '79
and '95, where most perished fighting against Spanish colonialism.
General Antonio Maceo, her most outstanding son, went from being a
simple soldier to become the second head of the Liberation Army. In
combat he defeated the bravest and most decorated Spanish generals as he
led an invasive war from the east to the west of the country in the most
extraordinary military action of this campaign. His story was deserving
enough to be perpetuated in the military museum of Paris and in military
academies around the world.
Santiago de Cuba is the most Caribbean, boisterous and cheerful city on
the island. It has the largest Afro-Cuban population in the country and
was the place where the Black soldiers from Tuskegee Institute were sent
under General Teddy Roosevelt to shed their blood and gave their lives
in the Hispano-Cuban-American War of 1898.
Santiago de Cuba Province was at the epicenter of the horrific slaughter
of more than 3,000 members of the Independent Party of Color in 1912,
which stained our nation's history with an indelible ink.
Santiago de Cuba was where in 1953 the seed was planted that blossomed
into the overthrowing of the bloody tyranny of General Fulgencio
Batista. It was the birthplace of underground leaders such as Frank and
Jose Pais, Vilma Espin, Pepito Tey, Tony Aloma and the martyred William
Santiago de Cuba is the home of the School of Medicine of the Caribbean,
with its current 2,500 students and from where hundreds of students from
Africa and the Caribbean have received their diplomas from medical,
nursing and health technology.
We can point especially to the students from Haiti, as more than 700 of
them have graduated after having studied there for free. In addition,
thousands of health care, sports, cultural and educational professionals
from this city have given their expertise to millions of dispossessed
people around the world.
Should 50 years of unfounded political and ideological difference
between the US and Cuba allow this community that has contributed so
much to humanity to perish for lack of solidarity support from our
With the end of the cold war and that unfortunate chapter in our
history, what's needed is greater cooperation and less confrontation
between peoples in our endless effort to build a better world for all.
Directed by Dr. Alberto Jones, the Caribbean American Children's
Foundation (CACF, PO Box 353593 Palm Coast Fl., 32135), a US 501c3
organization, engages in a number of programs focused on the Caribbean,
many of which deal with Cuba. Dr. Jones is also a member of the West
Indian Welfare Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba. His e-mail is: