On August 5, lightning caused a fire at an oil supertanker base in Matanzas, Cuba. The fire caused the collapse of three large oil tanks, killed 16 people and wounded 146 people. Immediately, friendly nations sent aid, including $70 million in oil from Russia, but the United States only provided technical advice to the neighboring Caribbean nation that has been crippled by six decades of the US' economic blockade. Clearing the FOG speaks with Arturo Lopez-Levy of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs about the fire, the Biden administration's continuation of Trump's policies in Cuba and the campaign to change that, as well as the shifting politics in Latin America as more nations defy the illegal blockade and work to create a zone of peace.
By now, the images of the oil explosion that erupted in the Cuban province of Matanzas on Friday, August 5 and continues blazing have become international news. When lightning struck an oil tank in Cuba's largest oil storage facility, it quickly exploded and began to spread to nearby tanks. As of now, four of the eight tanks have caught fire. Dozens of people have been hospitalized, over 120 have been reported injured, at least 16 firefighters are still reported missing and one firefighter has died. This latest disaster—the largest oil fire in Cuba's history—comes at a time when Cuba is currently undergoing an energy crisis due to soaring global fuel costs, as well as over-exploited and obsolete infrastructure. The raging fire will undoubtedly further exacerbate the electricity outages that Cubans are suffering from as a result of the on-going energy crisis that is occurring in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record globally.
At least one person has died, 17 firefighters are missing, and 121 people have been injured in a huge fire that broke out on Friday, August 5, in a fuel depot in Matanzas, in western Cuba, 60 miles east of Havana. The fire started on Friday evening after a lighting hit a fuel tank in Matanzas, and then in the early hours of Saturday it spread to a second tank, causing a big explosion around 5:00 A.M. while government officials and firefighter teams were trying to control the first explosion. All throughout Saturday Cuban authorities worked tirelessly to prevent the fire from reaching a third tank. The storage facility consists of eight storage tanks overall. The governments of Mexico and Venezuela have already sent expert teams to help the Cubans in the midst of the catastrophe that has shaken the island nation subjected to more than 60 years of an illegal US blockade.