Electricity workers, from Puerto Padre, who helped to restore that service in Pinar del Río

Human greatness finds its measure in the twilight of life. Perhaps, some people prefer to avoid extreme situations, in which, in a matter of minutes, everything can disappear. Just there, when the forces falter and despair dwells in the destroyed landscapes; however, beings of colossal size wear the clothes of solidarity to "pull forward."

Puerto Padre, Las Tunas - The onslaught of Hurricane Ian, in the western part of the country, gave the faint colors of pain. From the chaotic brush sprouted sensitive images, capable of breaking the most solid hope. For the linemen of Puerto Padre, the decision to support the affected provinces had no second thoughts, there was only room to answer where and when.

The road map placed the first stop in Havana, and then Minas de Matahambre, Pinar del Rio, which also appeared on the map of these men of light in dark times. Physical fitness was challenged on each journey and the tools figured as the weapons of this armored army of love and empathy towards other Cubans. With the stripes of brigade leader, José Jiménez Santos tells the story of what he did during those days, through the voice of pride for the duty fulfilled.

"When we went out to work, we did the planning and risk analysis intending to preserve the health of all our comrades. We tried to set a goal, but we almost always overachieved because behind that disaster there were sick people, the elderly, and children, so we had to recover the system and we said to ourselves: 'Let's give a little bit more and 'another little bit until we were strong enough. When the service was restored late at night, the population came out to celebrate, to applaud and thank us for our work."

Recognition to electricity workers in Puerto PadreBehind José's young face, despite the punishment of long hours under the sun, experience finds refuge. Packing his bags to make amends for the evils caused by a natural phenomenon is nothing new for someone who has made seven trips to different regions of the island and Venezuela. His wanderings among cables, tensioners, and transformers began at the age of 19, while today he has 16 calendars with the uniform of the National Electrical Union (NEU), in addition to countless stories to tell.

"Most of us are under 40 years old, but some are also older than me, by two or three years, which implies a higher demand, because they tend to trust each other. In these matters, work and age have no relation."

With the complicity of a brother, on Jiménez's shoulders rests the commitment to preserve the health of the crew members. The return home comes with a smile thanks to the good work, as well as the welcome of a whole town, as a sign of deep admiration.

"Safety comes first, we could do a 10-minute job, and then it would take us an hour to install the personal protections to minimize the risks. There could be no violation in the necessary care part. The lives of my co-workers were my responsibility. Imagine that! One must think of the families, both yours and theirs, and from the experience of other events we must protect them as much as possible."


The traces left by Ike's scourge keep in the collective memory the ferocious example of nature. While what we experienced in 2008 may qualify as the first impact, facing the pain of others hundreds of miles away from the safe place called home was a challenge of emotions.

"There was a terrible disaster, the hurricane devastated the city. At 6:00 in the morning, we were already on our feet and after midnight, we were still going. In a hilly area, with difficult access to the affected poles and wires," says Arieldis de la Cruz González, with the facial expression of someone who looked at the horror of being left with nothing.

Immersed in working days, in which the number 24 did not assume the limit of hours, they restored the useful life of fallen lines with exhaustion playing the role of eternal companion.

"What we faced was very strong, so we had to be even stronger. Every day we met to organize the work and when we arrived at the site, we were shocked by the conditions due to the degree of destruction. Despite everything, we were able to impose ourselves and meet our goals, the main one being to provide the service to the population in the shortest possible time", confesses Yan Manuel Álvarez Cruz.

Complications were also part of the daily work. However, the group's ability to find itself again from the integrity of the group facilitated this step forward in the mental sphere. With the utmost seriousness, they made their iconic phrase from cartoons, specifically from the Musketeers, "All for one and one for all."
Luis Emilio Sanchez delays the answer as if he were ordering experiences in his mind, the pause denotes concern, and a sigh helps him to weave the story.

"No fear, maybe some fear in Havana because of the aggressiveness of some people towards the authorities, at times, we had to work with the support of the police to reach certain places because they were closing the streets through demonstrations."

Recognition to electricity workers in Puerto PadreOn his part, Arieldis cannot keep for himself the shared sorrow when "colleagues from other provinces lamented losses, although we had better luck, it hurts equally. They were sad moments, but we gathered the strength to move forward and impose ourselves on the conditions."

In the backpack, different perspectives led Alejandro Gómez and Yan Manuel Álvarez to the encounter of indelible facts. The imagination about what they were going to face, remained below the context in which these boys stopped being boys to become titans.

"Since 2014 I belong to the company and this is my first outing. My mom was afraid for me to go, but I did it and here I am. Complying with the protection techniques nothing should happen, this is how we take care of life: mine and all of my colleagues. Watching over each other," says Alejandro with a smile on his face.

For Yan Manuel, the fifth contingent, after the transit of a tropical cyclone, had a negative aspect of the special. The photos on the cell phone hardly compete with the memories harvested in those places.

"Many mixed feelings, too much sadness to see people in complex situations, it affected me a lot, but with the help of my companions we talked and encouragement came to move forward."

Ink on paper, or words behind a screen, will never do justice to the feat of these villazulinos, who squandered courage and professionalism in large quantities, while rest was left aside, with the certain idea of bringing the "current" to the villagers as soon as possible.

According to Alejandro, "the most beautiful moment was when we returned the service and the people shouted with joy 'eeeeeeeeeh, the linemen!', while they applauded;" so much so, it was in those small details that they found the most human reward.