To control a fire in Matanzas, Cuba accepts technical assistance from the U.S.

Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP

The Cuban government said it has accepted “technical guidance” offered by the United States to help the island’s authorities put out a raging fire that threatens to engulf an oil storage facility at the port of Matanzas, in what could be one of the few examples of cooperation between the two countries in recent years.

“We deeply appreciate the condolences and expressions of help from people and organizations in the U.S. regarding the #Matanzas incident, including from the U.S. government, which offered technical advice, a proposal already in the hands of specialists for proper coordination,” Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Cuba’s vice minister of foreign affairs, said on Twitter.

Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel usually goes to Twitter to rail about U.S. sanctions against Cuba and criticize the Biden administration. But the severity of the fire and the firefighters’ unsuccessful attempt to contain the flames so far have moved authorities to accept the offer with a public thank you message.

“We express deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Chile, which have promptly offered material aid in solidarity in the face of this complex situation,” Díaz-Canel said. “We also appreciate the offer of technical advice from the U.S.”

The U.S. State Department did not offer details of what was offered to Cuba.

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