NUEV YORK..- El alcalde de Nueva York Michael Bloomberg canceló el tradicional maratón que iba a realizarse el próximo domingo ante el huracán de críticas de cientos de neoyorquinos que no veían con buenos ojos la realización del evento. Previamente había defendido la realización del mismo. "El maratón seguirá adelante. Esperamos que para el domingo la mayor parte del flujo eléctrico haya vuelto, si no todo", apuntó Bloomberg

La ciudad aún está en sumida en el caos con grandes zonas inundadas y sin energía eléctrica a consecuencia del huracán Sandy que asoló el noreste de Estados Unidos con un saldo hasta ahora de casi 100 muertes.

"Hemos decidido cancelar el maratón de Nueva York. New York Road Runners [organizadores de la carrera] brindará información adicional en los próximos días para los participantes", indicó la alcaldía.

Cientos de neoyorquinos, encabezados por funcionarios públicos que representan a las áreas afectadas, acusaron al alcalde de insensibilidad ante la tragedia y de desviación de recursos que deben servir a la emergencia en lugar cubrir los costos de la carrera.

El concejal del Bronx Fernando Cabrera cuestionó duramente la decisión del alcalde y preguntó si, "¿era razonable que el maratón de Nueva York se lleve a cabo este domingo, mientras que cientos de miles de personas están en necesidad desesperada de ayuda y nuestros agentes de policía ya están trabajando turnos de 12 horas?".

De acuerdo con el club organizador, el New York Road Runners (NYRR), el maratón de Nueva York reúne anualmente a casi 50,000 competidores de todo el mundo, por lo que es considerado el más importante de su género a nivel internacional.

En una rueda de prensa conjunta con el alcalde Bloomberg, la presidenta del club, Mary Wittenberg, dijo que el maratón contribuirá a los esfuerzos de recuperación de la ciudad y que adicionalmente a los recursos que genera por conceptos del hospedaje, alimentación, transporte de unos 30,000 corredores que vienen de fuera de Nueva York, la organización hará una donación de un millón de dólares y otro millón y medio de parte de los patrocinadores para los neoyorquinos damnificados por Sandy.

Los críticos del alcalde coinciden en que el maratón demanda que una gran cantidad de policías y ambulancias atiendan esa competencia en lugar de continuar con las labores de recuperación en las áreas del desastre.

Entre otros de los funcionarios que protestaron por la no cancelación del maratón se anotaron los concejales James Oddo y David Greenfield y la senadora estatal Liz Krueger.

“Los 8,000 voluntarios que se inscribieron para ayudar con el maratón deberían sumarse a las tareas rescate de damnificados, especialmente asistiendo a los ancianos”, sugirió Krueger.

El maratón está previsto para este domingo, menos de una semana después de que muchas partes de la ciudad fueron devastadas por el huracán donde dejó al menos 40 víctimas en esta urbe. Wittenberg reconoció que el maratón de hecho se ha visto afectado ya que al menos 8,000 corredores han notificado que no asistirán debido a las condiciones de emergencia que se viven en Nueva York.

Sin embargo, empleados de diversos servicios como peluquerías, lavanderías e inclusive taxistas se mostraron a favor de que no se suspenda el maratón de Nueva York.

"Nueva York tiene la distinción de ser invencible. Entendemos el sufrimiento de quienes lo han perdido todo, pero la vida tiene que continuar", dijo Saúl Rojas, un empleado de un restaurante en el Bajo Manhattan.

El maratón mueve el turismo, tenemos mucho trabajo ese día. No podemos parar", agregó Fernando Espíndola, un repartidor de pizzas en el área de Fulton en Brooklyn, que es parte del recorrido del maratón.

"La ciudad recobra la alegría, necesitamos de este tipo de eventos para salir de la tristeza y hacer chavos [dinero]", dijo el taxista Víctor Lugo.

Para Ramón Cuevas, un residente de Williamsburg también en Brooklyn, el maratón debió cancelarse.

"Nueva York ha perdido 40 vidas; para las familias que han perdido todo, la pesadilla continúa. Los rescatistas siguen encontrando cadáveres; ¿cómo el alcalde puede distraer la atención en medio de esta tragedia?", argumentó Cuevas.

Otra parte la polémica sobre si el maratón de Nueva York debía o no suspenderse se trasladó a las redes sociales. La página de Facebook del NYRR fue inundada de comentarios pidiendo que se suspendiera la competencia, y muy pocos apoyaban a que no fuera cancelada.

Una de los detractores del maratón identificada como Michele Farrie puso el siguiente mensaje en el muro del NYRR.

"Las familias damnificadas están siendo lanzadas de los hoteles a las calles para dar cabida a los corredores del maratón, los generadores están impulsando sus tiendas de campaña, mientras que miles de personas están sin agua y con hambre como consecuencia de este desastre. Deberían avergonzarse”.

La versión digital de la publicación Bloomberg Business Week reportó de su parte que muchos hoteles estaban luchando por cumplir con las reservaciones hechas por los corredores que han empezado a llegar a Nueva York desde el jueves. Estos hoteles, añadió el informe, habrían ocupado las habitaciones reservadas para atender la demanda de los evacuados que perdieron sus hogares.

"Su organización es repelente y un ejemplo perfecto de la palabra egoísta”, escribió Al Álvarez.
“¡Vergonzoso! Muchas, muchas cosas más importantes están en juego en estos momentos. Por favor, hagan lo correcto y reprogramen este maratón”, sentenció de su parte en el muro Cinthya Ponti Miller.

Al momento de escribir esta nota el muro de la página de Facebook del NYRR tenía unos 1,000 comentarios, la mayoría exigiendo la cancelación del maratón y casi 600 con "like" (me gusta) a los comentarios.

El periódico Los Angeles Times independientemente promovió una encuesta este viernes en su página digital en la que consultó a sus lectores sobre si el maratón de Nueva York debía postergarse o no. A media tarde entre 741 personas que respondieron, el 66.79 por ciento votó por la suspensión y el 33.21 por ciento por su realización.

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