You put the words "accidents in Las Tunas" into Google, the world's leading and most popular internet search engine, and your heart shrinks. Cuban and foreign websites detail the events. Then, fatally, come the statistics. Does the tragedy end like this, in figures? Never.
I am never convinced whether it is good for anything to compare accident figures from one year to the next. Or even from one semester or one month with their counterparts from previous calendars. It counts for me, honestly, that that violent image of the impact stays forever in the psyche of even a simple, casual witness to the events. Imagine for a second being among the victims!
What is important, I say, is that there are no traffic accidents, at least not those where the evidence leaves no doubt that they happen due to irresponsibility, trust, low-risk perception, believing that driving is a hobby and, fundamentally, violating the law with full awareness, among other senseless acts.
Let me explain and give an example. I have just read that in Las Tosas, in the province of Sancti Spiritus, on 26 July, four people died, including two children, because a family "traveling in a private lorry tried to cross a swollen river on a bridge without railings. As a result of this action, the driver lost control, went off the road, and was swept away by the waters with 10 people inside the vehicle," says a report published on the Cubadebate website.
The questions and answers about this deadly tragedy are obvious. The same is true when the magnifying glass of grief pokes into the causes and consequences. The wound of the massive accident that occurred at kilometer 21 of the Amancio-Colombia road in January this year, where 52 drivers from Las Tunas were injured, is still alive. We have to think.
Our behavior and decisions are not as much our own as we think. They have an impact. They affect the family. They involve. They hurt. August is more than a holiday. Many alerts hang on the thread of life, social tranquility, and domestic and community well-being. Dengue fever and solar radiation are no less dangerous. Not to mention the fact that COVID-19 has never stopped being there.
New viruses that are circulating and whose clinical manifestations and specific treatments are not yet fully understood are also a real and raw threat. Colds and diarrhea are typical of summer.
In short, August is full of alerts and warnings. While it is good to relax, take a spiritual break, and even "savor" whims to break routines and bad patches, it is essential not to get trapped "in airs" that call for personal and collective misfortune. Parents have no right to drag their young children into such potentially deadly adventures. If danger is in sight, keep them away and stay away. Condemning yourself afterward is not the issue. Not doing it or avoiding it is your problem.
Every moment signals to rethink your steps. Bathing in a river can be very complicated if you don't weigh the risks and benefits. Ultraviolet rays take their toll on skin cancer and sunstrokes bring serious problems. Water is not very clear, but infants need to stay hydrated in the sweltering heat and drink more frequently.
The onus is firmly on adults to prevent illness in children and the elderly. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says that climate change is the greatest global health threat of the 21st century and points out that an additional 250,000 deaths per year will occur in the coming decades as a result. And the environmental anomaly is already happening. The direct impact of high temperatures, drought, severe storms, and rising sea levels is irrefutable evidence.
We must relax and take advantage of the pleasant moments that erase the stress and the overdose of tensions that we live with, but we cannot allow ourselves to be swept away by the passion of leisure and adventure. Having fun today and getting sick tomorrow is tasteless. Don't ignore the warnings and alerts of August. Being healthy is peace and a priceless investment. Let us be responsible, especially for those who depend on us. Be careful if you drive. Accidents cause incurable injuries. Please think.