The still-uncontroled crude oil fire at Matanzas, Cuba. Photo: Google


As a massive crude oil fire in the Cuban port of Matanzas continued to burn for a second day, spreading to yet another storage tank and threatening the island nation’s already-limited energy supply, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Saturday, Aug. 6, announced that he would be sending humanitarian assistance in the form of military planes and technicians to help extinguish the blaze.

According to Cuban government sources, the first plane of the Mexican Air Force, carrying 60 Mexican soldiers, arrived in Cuba on Sunday, Aug. 7, in the early morning hours.

Mexico reportedly also sent a team of 16 specialists from the state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to help put out the fire.

Three more Air Force helicopters from Mexico, as well as a plane from Venezuela, reportedly arrived late Sunday night..

The massive fire broke out at a Cuban oil storage facility on Friday, Aug. 5, after lightning struck the dome of a tank that held about 25,000 cubic meters of oil.

Despite heroic efforts by Cuban fire brigades, the flames soon spread to a neighboring tan, leading to a series of explosions.

Cuban authorities reported 17 people missing as a result of the fire, with another person dead and at least 121 others severely injured.

Also offering help were Russia, Nicaragua and the United States, which maintains an ecnomic blockade against Cuba’s communist government.

“We deeply appreciate the condolences and expressions of help from various organizations and people from the United States on the occasion of the incident in Matanzas,” said Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío.

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