When the details of the poor technical condition of the Boeing 737 that crashed in Havana and caused 112 deaths came to light, Cuba's Minister of Transportation Adel Yzquierdo, instead of presenting his resignation, blamed the US "blockade" for the tragedy.
Those were his precise instructions, handed down "from the top." But when telling lies, or eating fish, you have to be very careful. Shortly thereafter the British magazine The Economist clarified that the US embargo actually allows Cuba to buy aircraft and parts in the US for their maintenance. Thus, if the Cuban state does not do so, it is due to a lack of funds.
The newspaper Granma, meanwhile, reported that the investigation carried out by the regime on the air disaster is not to seek guilty parties, but rather to detect the causes and prevent them from repeating. For those who know how to read between the lines of Castro's normally truculent rhetoric, that official note constituted an admission of guilt.
If the dictatorship is not seeking to assign guilt, it is because it knows that it itself was to blame, though it will never admit that. The Cuban dynasty has never accepted any responsibility for its actions. It blames others. It is ingrained in the very DNA of Castroism.
Beyond the deplorable technical conditions that precipitated the plane crash, the causes were political, combined with criminal as well as political negligence.
The same thing occurs with regards to Cubans' constant emigration. The regime insists that they leave the country for economic reasons, as do millions in the Third World.
That is fallacious. Yes, Cubans emigrate because poverty overwhelms them, but the cause of that poverty, and their lack of freedom to fight against it, is the Communist political system, which destroyed the market economy. Cuba before 1959 was the opposite: a magnet attracting immigrants from all over the world.
Moreover, in terms of immigration, Cuba boasts an impressive record. In proportion to its total population and its geographic size (only 110,860 square kilometers) it was the country in the West that welcomed the most immigrants during the first half of the 20th century in the shortest time frame (between 1902 and 1930, 1.3 million immigrants arrived on the island). Later, when the Castro-Communist curse befell it, it ranked in the top three in terms of the number of emigrants it generated in the least amount of time. In 1958 there were 12,000 applications from Italian citizens at the Cuban embassy in that country who wanted to emigrate to the island.
If the plane falls, the "blockade" is to blame
Why did the Cuban government contract the services of Damojh-Global Air, an entity that is not even a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which requires rigorous periodic inspections to ensure flight safety and technical quality? Because it was cheaper, and Castro's economy is impoverished by the unproductiveness resulting from the country's Communist model. Is that not a political element?
Between 2008 and 2009 Engineer Ernesto Rodríguez Martín, an inspector of Operational Safety for Cubana de Aviación, conducted nine audits of flights leased to said airline, which revealed a fire in the cockpit, worn rubber, a tire that exploded on landing, missing life jackets, hydraulic leaks in the brakes, inactive meteorological radar, and the poor preparation of crews, among other problems. The expert recommended "not contracting under any circumstances" the services of Damojh-Global Air.
The regime completely ignored this serious warning. The scarcity of funds was compounded by something even worse: Marxist-Leninist ideology. If we look at the regimes of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Ceaucescu, Honecker, Mao, Pol-Pot, and other Communist tyrants, one notices that their regimes never prioritized human life, but rather how to project a good image of the socialist state, at any price, as long as it did not affect the leadership in power.
That is, the leaders of socialist nations did not go around with “bourgeois reservations” regarding human rights, as they were referred to by Che Guevara, who executed people right and left in La Cabaña.
Therefore, between not having aircraft in service and thereby revealing to the world the economic indigence of the "Revolution," or having aircraft that were badly maintained, but flying, General Castro chose the latter option. He applied the logic he learned from his brother: "Let's use the plane. If it crashes, we can blame the blockade."
Domestic flights: the worst planes of all
The Boeing 737 crash was hardly a surprise, and the criminal responsibility for the death of the 112 people on board (the only survivor is hovering between life and death) is the Castro government.
Another typically Communist aberration is that Cubana de Aviacion airplanes earmarked for domestic flights are those that are in the worst condition, the oldest and least maintained. For international flights, the least deficient of Cuba's air fleet is used.
This is because if a domestic flight full of Cubans ends in a disaster, the victims are all nationals, which does not generate many international waves. If a plane full of foreigners goes down, however, that affects the attraction of tourists to the Island, and has an international impact. In addition, foreigners can file million-dollar lawsuits against Cubana de Aviación, but Cubans can't. In other words, the priority of the Government is not the safety of the citizens it claims to represent, but rather that of foreigners, dollars and euros in hand.
In recent days details have come to light that aggravate Castro's political/criminal responsibility of for the accident. Mirna Díaz, a flight attendant who worked for Damojh-Global Air for three years, told the Mexican newspaper Millennium that in 2016 she notified Mexican authorities of the serious deficiencies at the company.
Mirna reported that the owner of the company bought stolen parts, the cheapest and of the lowest quality he could find, and operated planes lacking evacuation slides, life jackets, oxygen and sufficient fuel. She noted that the mechanics suffered from a shortage of tools, and that the parts they requested would never arrive.
Oscar García, a former Boeing airline pilot, today president of the InterFlight Global firm, based in Miami since 1992, who worked for the US Government in aviation safety, stated that it was inexplicable that the airline Global Air, without belonging to IATA, was contracted by Cubana de Aviación.
When the only things that actually function well in Cuba are its counterintelligence services, at the domestic level, and intelligence abroad, it is inconceivable that Havana did not know that Damojh-Global Air was operating practically outside the law, without belonging to the IATA or properly maintaining its obsolete airplanes.
Everything indicates that, prioritizing savings over safety, Raúl Castro took his chances and opted for the former. After all, it would only be used on domestic flights.
It is true that a plane can crash at any time and anywhere in the world, for technical, natural or human reasons, but the accident of this 1979 Boeing, in terrible condition, contracted despite warnings not to, is General Castro's direct legal responsibility.
Not only because the general was the head of the Cuban State, the owner of Cubana de Aviación, which leased the aircraft, but also because nobody else but him could make such a decision. The same as before, today, with another "president", only the dictator can do it.
The sad moral of the story for the grieving relatives of the 112 deceased is that all of them would be alive if there were not a Communist dictatorship in Cuba.