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Author Topic: Hurricane Ike devastates Cuba
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 07 September 2008 04:10 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Category 3 Hurricane Ike is now ravaging Cuba with sustained wind speeds of 195 km/hr.

Unlike Gustav, which cut across the western end of Cuba, Ike is travelling up practically the entire length of the island.

Over 1,000,000 people have been evacuated so far.

The hurricane killed at least 47 people in Haiti.

In Baracoa, near Cuba's eastern coast, reports on state-run television said at least 200 homes had been destroyed, as [7-metre] waves topped the seawall and went six blocks into the city.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has taken to writing columns since handing over power to brother Raul Castro, wrote on Sunday that the flow of international aid to Cuba since Gustav showed that it had many friends who wanted to help.

He said, without providing details, that close ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had taken "measures that make up the most generous gesture of solidarity that our country has known."

Despite the hard blows from hurricanes, Castro said he believed Cubans would receive the aid they needed to recover. - Reuters

[ 11 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 08 September 2008 07:48 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ike is now a Category 2 hurricane. It has deflected slightly to the south, so it looks as if it is going to pass over the Isle of Youth, which was devastated a week ago by hurricane Hugo Gustav.

The eye is travelling at a slow 22 km/hr., so it will be lingering over Cuba for at least another full day.

[ 08 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Greeny
Babbler # 6874

posted 08 September 2008 08:09 AM      Profile for West Coast Greeny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hurricane Hugo?
From: Ewe of eh. | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 08 September 2008 09:17 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It was Gustav, of course. I was trying to think of a name beginning with H, the letter before I, but of course I forgot there was already a hurricane Hanna in there.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 08 September 2008 01:56 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ike is now a Category One hurricane, having shed much of its energy while pounding across Cuba. It could regain strength if it spends much time over the warm Caribbean waters.

No deaths or injuries have been reported in Cuba as a result of this storm so far.

Meanwhile the Ike-related death toll stands at 73 in Haiti.

All the MSM reports about Hurricane Ike briefly talk about how it is blasting Cuba, and then quickly move on to the much more important subject (apparently) of what is going to happen if and when it reaches the USA.

At the moment about 97% of journalists working for British media organisations seem to be in the United States.... Running commentaries on what Sarah Palin may or may not choose to have for lunch and interviews with some chap her husband talked to in the barbers a year or so back account for most of the news bulletins and a fair chunk of the printed coverage. The other big exciting story was the evacuation of New Orleans. This included the good news that No pets left behind in New Orleans evacuation.

Standard procedure for this type of item is an earnest interview with the local weather reporter who is flattered to be given an international audience and one of the BBC/ITV/Sky regular standing getting soaked in a howling wind with a minor risk of being blown to the ground. The British press reports severe weather events in the United States almost as if they were domestic news stories. And as this weekend’s floods demonstrate that means taking up about 50% of each bulletin.

It’s when they report events in other, not very distant from New Orleans, parts of the world that the provincial Atlantacist racism breaks through. The deaths of 90-100 people in India and the fact that 3 million people had to leave their homes received a fraction of the coverage. The deaths this week of hundreds of Haitians when it is reported is done through video clips provided from charity organisations and none of the BBC’s big names are sent to Gonaives to stand up to their necks in water which may be why there have been none of the expressions of sympathy and solidarity that an American city would have received from Queen Elizabeth or Gordon Brown.

Getting to Havana from London is very straightforward. There are several flights each week. The damage that Cuba has suffered is infinitely more severe than anything that has happened this year in the United States. Fidel Castro has compared it to Hiroshima. Are the Cuban authorities overwhelmed with journalists requesting access to the disaster hit areas? Of course not. - Source

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 7851

posted 08 September 2008 03:41 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Everyone is acknowledging Cuba's excellent emergency preparedness, but Ike is raking almost all of Cuba so it's going to be devestating.

Venezuela will help just as New Orleans residents are also turning to Venezuela for help.

From: various musings before the revolution | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 08 September 2008 03:51 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reiterated his country’s solidarity with Cuba, ravished (sic) by two category-four hurricanes in just eight days.

Speaking on Sunday’s Alo Presidente program, Chavez said that Venezuela is ready and willing to do all it can to help the people of Cuba and praised the island’s preparation and organization in the face of natural disasters.

"Fidel, Fidel, we are praying that God will help Cuba and the people of the Caribbean and the United States," said Chavez, who spoke at length with Cuban President Raul Castro by telephone on Saturday.

Visibly moved by the severe damage left in the wake of Hurricane Gustav in the Isla de la Juventud and the province of Pinar del Rio, Chavez said, "Fortunately in Cuba, not one person died. Why? Because in Cuba there is a revolution and an organized people."

Chavez also reiterated his country’s support of Haiti where the situation is severe.


[ 08 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 09 September 2008 10:23 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Four Cubans have died in Ike-related accidents.

UPDATE: the death toll has been revised upward to 7. The toll in the USA is 8.

UNICEF's Vivianna Limpias said the four died from storm-related accidents. They are the first fatalities in Cuba during this year's hurricane season.

The four dead included two men who were electrocuted, a woman whose house collapsed and a man crushed by a tree that fell on his home.

Limpias said officials expect more drastic long-term effects, however.

"The consequences for the island have been really devastating in terms of houses and harvests, particularly during the world food crisis. This is something that's going to be a real problem in the next month," she told CTV Newsnet from Cuba.

"Some official sources in Cuba estimate the damage is going to amount to between three and four billion dollars."

She said UNICEF is evaluating the state of infrastructure on the island, setting up temporary shelter for those who require it and providing water and sanitation equipment to victims. - CTV

[ 14 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 10 September 2008 10:08 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The deadly storm claimed at least 80 lives in the Caribbean, mostly in Haiti.

It also caused havoc in Havana, tearing down aging buildings and devastating tobacco crops on the western coast.

Some 2.6 million people -- about a fifth of Cuba's population -- fled from the storm, leaving communities, seaside towns and the streets of Havana empty. At least four people died from storm-related accidents and hundreds of homes were destroyed.

According to some estimates, damage to Cuba would amount to as much as $4 billion.

Susan McDade, a United Nations co-ordinator working in Havana, told CTV's Canada AM the priorities are to help return residents to their homes, provide temporary shelter, repair damage to the electrical system and collaborate with Cuban authorities on food distribution.

She said some areas suffered crop losses of over 70 per cent.

But McDade said the efficiency of the Cuban evacuation system prevented the toll from being much worse.

"One of the reasons we can't measure the impact of this storm by loss of life is because they are so good at evacuation," she said. - CTV

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 11 September 2008 05:50 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wednesday, Sept. 10:
The eye of Ike has left Cuba, but the body is still kicking strong. Imagine: as of about 4pm, it's slowly growing in size and intensity. Sustained winds of 150 kph. Still category 1 but category 2 starts at 154 kph sustained winds. Its bands of tropical storm winds and rains extend 335 km (radius) covering all of Pinar del Rio with rains reaching to the western part of Camaguey province in central Cuba. And we're being told to brace for another 12-24 hours of rains. In Habana, we're still getting occasional gusts up to over 80 kph. All western coastal areas have been evacuated due to inundations. Last night, for instance, ocean waters penetrated two km inland in the Batabano area, on the central southern coast of Provincia Habana.

Lots of "firsts", but for which no one will get a ribbon:

As of 4:30 yesterday afternoon, over 2.5 million people - or almost 21 percent of the country' s population of some 12 million - have been evacuated. And the number is slowly growing, as rivers that have never flooded before leave their banks, fattened by torrential rains, and dams that are fill and spilling over contribute even more to the flooding. 2.5 million! In the 17 years I've been in Cuba, including through many hurricanes, I don't remember that many people ever being evacuated before. That's an immense undertaking involving organization, coordination and cooperation. Significantly, over two million of these people were able to get shelter in the homes of family and friends, yet another indication of the incredible solidarity that is an everyday functioning part of Cuban society.

The damage to food crops as well as export crops is extensive. In Villa Clara, some 70% of plantains - all kinds - have been knocked down, with maize, papaya and yuca also seriously affected. In Holguin, plantain, yuca, vegetables and beans have been affected. In Santiago de Cuba, damages to plantain, yuca, maize, plus sugar cane has been burned by the winds. Lots of coffee beans have fallen off trees and, weather permitting, they'll try to save what they can. In Ciego de Avila, a strong producer of plantains for the entire country, the greatest damage has occurred in the agricultural sector, in particular - but not only - to the plantain crops. In Cienfuegos, plantain and sweet potato are affected, as well as vegetables and citrus such as grapefruit and orange. The one crop that hasn't been affected is malanga - a tuber kind of like potato. And they're trying to recuperate coffee beans that have fallen on the ground in the Escambray Mountains. The same in Baracoa and Maisi, both in Guantanamo, which are key (actually, the main) coffee-producing areas in Cuba.

Housing has been seriously affected everywhere. For example, preliminary reports from Holguin indicate that over 150,000 houses have been affected, of which 37,000 have been totally destroyed. The province of Las Tunas says that nothing like Ike has ever hit the province during the last fifty years. In some municipalities, 80% of the housing stock has been affected. I can't even begin to estimate how many hundreds of thousands of houses have been either damaged or destroyed on a national scale! The final numbers are bound to be high.

And the rains! That's the most serious part of Ike right now, even more than the winds. In the Escambray, over 500 mm has fallen in some areas. Some communities are still incomunicado due to roads blocked with trees. But before Ike arrived, experienced personnel, including health specialists, had been sent to these mountain communities, along with additional food stocks, in anticipation of such problems, as Hurricane Fay, which affected Cienfuegos just before Gustav, had already affected electricity networks in the Escambray. The beautiful area of Las Terrazas, in Pinar del Rio - which many of you have no doubt visited, got over 400 mm of rain in the last 24 hours, as have many other areas in the province - and elsewhere in the country. Pinar is completely without electricity. Vinales and many other areas are completely incomunicado. To the impact of Gustav is being added the impact of Ike. Some people in Pinar del Rio were even asking if Ike is returning, as they're without communication or up-to-date access to information and the rains seem worse than before!

Everywhere in the country, dams are full and overflowing, causing inundations - still - in low zones, which are fully evacuated. In Las Tunas, before Ike passed, the province was experiencing a drought, with dams only 50% full. Now, all dams are spilling over. A first: the Bulgara Dam in Camaguey, built 22 years old, has NEVER been full, but now, after Ike, it's full and spilling for the first time since it was constructed. And this story is repeated everywhere.

Also, for the first time since it was built, the carretera central, Cuba's main central highway, has flooded. For those of you who know Cuba, the flooding covers a 3.5 km length at Aguada de Pasajeros, where the central highway - that is the main road link between west and east, crosses with the main highway from Cienfuegos in the south to Matanzas in northwest, is so full of water that all traffic has been stopped, and it's anticipated that it'll be closed for at least three or so days. This has never happened before and the images are impressive! Flooding has been caused by overflowing rivers in the area, that have never flooded like this before now.

One bit of very good news, though, to come out of Cienfuegos is that the new "more hurricane proof" houses that were built to replace coastal settlements that had been completely demolished by Hurricane Dennis (2005) were able to withstand Ike. This is very good news indeed!

Jose Rubiera, the head of Cuba's weather forecast department, was asked if Cuba has ever had a hurricane that has touched every part of the country as has Ike. He replied that Hurricane Dennis (2005) entered Granma and then blasted up the centre of Cuba, but that the eastern part of Cuba has never had a hurricane as strong as Ike. Flora (1963) also affected a great part of Cuba, especially the east, but it was more rain than wind - unlike Ike which has been both plus heavy coastal inundations.

Assistance is coming from everywhere, both inside and outside the country. Examples: Santiago de Cuba has sent brigades to help Baracoa and Holguin. Camaguey, which has brigades in Pinar del Rio who went there after Gustav, has told those brigades to stay put and continue to help reconstruction efforts in that sister province. Camaguey, which has gone at least 25 years without being hit by a hurricane of this magnitude and which says they don't have the same experience confronting them as does Pinar, has reached out a very substantial hand of solidarity to los pinarenos.

And from overseas. You already know about the assistance from Russia: food, huge tents, construction materials. And $500,000 from poor little Timor Leste. Mexico is offering aid in housing and electricity. Uruguay is making a call to the international community to help Cuba with foods, medicines and construction materials. Brazil is putting together an interministerial Assistance Group to help both Cuba and Haiti. After Gustav, solidarity and offers of help were already coming from China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Spain, Brazil Mexico, Guatemala, the Cayman Islands, Peru, Santa Lucia, etc.


Is Canada sending aid?

[ 14 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Greeny
Babbler # 6874

posted 12 September 2008 09:05 AM      Profile for West Coast Greeny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ike has not so much exploded, but ballooned into not a particularly intense storm (still just Cat. 2), but a very, very large one. Larger than Katrina or Rita in fact. This storm is going to kick up a massive storm surge.

And, oh yeah, its headed right for Houston. The NHC seem a little concerned...


Meanwhile, Houstonites prove themselves to be not so good at evacuation. In fact, residents are being urged to stay home. Houston isn't at much risk of storm surge, but that city is certain to face very high winds for an unusually long time, and seeing the storm deepen to a 120MPH Cat. 3 isn't out of the question.

A "bold move"

[ 12 September 2008: Message edited by: West Coast Greeny ]

From: Ewe of eh. | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 13 September 2008 07:42 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All Cubans are taught how to deal with emergencies, starting in the primary grades and continuing through higher education as part of the curricula for all specialties. For example, architecture students spend 70 hours studying defense preparedness. Their curriculum includes: the harmonization of economic and social development programs with the needs for safety; fundamentals of civil defense in normal times and in emergencies; disaster management; risk mapping; vulnerability considerations in design; accessibility of buildings for evacuation; salvage and urgent repair; and designing dual-use buildings for emergency use (schools are hurricane refuges). All enterprises, including foreign and mixed companies, are required to have disaster plans.

Each year at the start of the hurricane season, a two-day hurricane drill is held, the first day for responders and the second for the whole country. Then, when a hurricane is approaching, plans are activated. All citizens know where they will move to if evacuation becomes necessary. Food and water are stored where they will be needed. Family doctors assure that people will have their prescriptions. All means of transport from helicopters to horse carts are mobilized. Communications, from fiber optics to ham radio to carrier pigeons, are readied. Trees near power lines are pruned. Foresters, veterinarians, entertainers, the Cuban Council of Churches, and the Cuban Red Cross are all prepared under a nationally coordinated Civil Defense leadership.

After the hurricane passes, reconstruction begins immediately, with no interruption of wages when a workplace has to shut down because of damage or lack of power. Then the experience is analyzed and solutions are sought to be able to cope better with future storms. For instance, if houses in eastern Cuba suffered more damage than in the west, then it is determined that they have to be built stronger. In the aftermath of hurricane Dennis, several children died from water-borne infections. The Cuban government made it a priority to find out why. It also investigates how settlements can be built in less vulnerable places.

The result of all this is that despite often-extensive economic damage, few lives are lost. Hurricane George (1998) killed 597 people elsewhere, and only four in Cuba. Michelle (2001) killed five, Ivan (2004) killed none in Cuba but thousands in the rest of the Caribbean, Charley killed four, Dennis at least 10.

The Cuban meteorologist Fernando Boytel told me years ago that a hurricane is a natural event with many potentials; it can even replenish water resources if people have built reservoirs. But lack of preparation makes it a disaster.

Cuba's success is based on the priority given to the quality of life for everyone, a holistic approach to problem-solving across disciplines, community-level participation, thorough coordination from the national to the local, and a culture of collectivity and safety. Cuba is now ready to share its experience with the world.

Richard Levins, "Cuba's Example", Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, Vol. 16 No. 4, December, 2005.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 13 September 2008 08:21 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oxfam Canada:
Alexandra Lopoukhine 613-850-9723(Canada)

Oxfam International contacts in Cuba:

Beat Schmid, coordinator Joint Program Oxfam International tel: +53-5-2951881

Marc Ingelbrecht, humanitarian lead Oxfam International tel: +32-4-93631703 until 21/9/08, and +53-5-2899666 from 22/9/08 on

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 13 September 2008 09:52 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oxfam Supporting Relief Efforts in Cuba

Ottawa, 2008-09-12

The biggest impact of the recent hurricanes in Cuba is on farms, housing and other infrastructure according to international agency, Oxfam. Hurricane Ike which hit the country on Sunday is the fourth tropical cyclone, after Fay, Gustav and Hannah, to hit Cuba in just three weeks. The impact of heavy rains, winds and waves has been felt across the island. Over 20 per cent of the population has had to be evacuated from their homes. Reports indicate that this is the worst disaster to hit Cuba since 1963.

Assessments of the damage have been hindered due to the ongoing difficult weather conditions and lack of electricity in the majority of the island. However, it is known that over 1.2 million people have been directly affected by the hurricanes; close to 30,000 homes have been destroyed.

Oxfam has begun to mobilize funds from the public and governments to support the distribution of non-food relief items to the most vulnerable. Oxfam partners are prioritizing the replacement of agricultural tools and the rebuilding of greenhouses and vegetable gardens so that food production can resume as soon as possible.

“Oxfam is urgently calling on the public to generously donate towards the rehabilitation efforts in Cuba,” said Beat Schmid, coordinator for Oxfam’s work in Cuba. “As the rains continue, we know people will need help as they begin re-establishing their lives.”

Click here to make a donation to Oxfam Canada by credit card. Be sure to select “Hurricane Relief 2008” in the Fund box.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 14 September 2008 10:21 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you have ever contemplated paying money for "carbon offsets" to counter some of the damage caused by your emissions of CO2, you could not do better than to contribute to hurricane relief in Cuba.

Climate change has made hurricanes more intense and destructive. Ike is probably the most destructive hurricane to hit Cuba in living memory.

It's very unfair for Cuba to bear the consequences of North America's profligate consumption of fossil carbon, particularly since Cuba is practically the only country that combines a high "human development index" with a low carbon footprint. Canada, of course, has one of the largest per capita carbon footprints in the world.

Instead of giving money to carbon offset brokers to invest in building a better windmill (to make someone else rich if the research pays off) you could be giving money where you know it will actually be used to reduce some of the harm already caused by global warming.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 14 September 2008 10:43 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Neither carbon trading nor carbon taxes will work to ameliorate effects of global warming if there is no political will to make it work. Canada's two old line parties have been committed to a policy of planned and enforced impotence when it comes to raising corporate taxes or even collecting deferred and unpaid corporate income taxes. Liberals are clueless when it comes to corporate income taxes. $40 dollars a ton is too low according to Ralph Nader, himself an advocate of the carbon tax. McCallum is the ultimate Elmer Fudd of economics and anything of importance in general. He was a terrible defence minister who mixed up WWI events with WW II on live TV. That guy really didn't impress me quite a lot. Jim Stanford made him look like a total fool on Canadian townhall TV when discussing the Liberals' multi-billion dollar corporate tax cut commitment post 9-11. The Liberals need new blood and are not ready to take power in Ottawa, and not for a long time.

The Liberals handed Canada's natural gas industry to corporate America in the 1950's, and then sold Canada's environment to Exxon-Imperial and big fossil fool friends during their most recent dynastic rule. The Liberals have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted on so many issues surrounding the economy, the environment, and social democracy.

[ 14 September 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 14 September 2008 11:27 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association [CCFA] Toronto and the Canadian Network on Cuba

DONATIONS: Cuba Hurricane Relief –

One hundred per cent of your donation will go to Cuba either directly or in shipping requested materials to help in the reconstruction. The Charitable Organization "Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund" (Revenue Canada Registered Charitable Organization # 88876 9197) is working with the CCFA Toronto and other groups to collect donations for Cuba Hurricane Relief.

There are two ways to send in donations. Either way, you will receive a charitable tax receipt.

1) Send your cheque made payable to the "Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund" Then write on the memo line of the cheque "For Cuba Hurricane Relief." Also include your name, address and phone number if it is not already on the cheque so a tax receipt can be issued (or state that a tax receipt is not needed).

Privacy: Mailing lists/Donors' names are not given out.

Envelopes should be addressed to: Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Att: S. Skup,Treasurer 56 Riverwood Terrace, Bolton, Ontario,
L7E 1S4

If you do not want a tax or any receipt, you also can go to any TD Canada Trust branch and deposit money to the following bank account:
(TD Canada Trust - 1881 Steeles Ave West at Dufferin, Toronto)
Institution # 004 Transit # 03212 Branch # 321 Acct# 5001074 of the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund.

2) Make out your cheque (or cash) to your local Cuba friendship/solidarity committee with your name, address and phone number, clearly stating "For Cuba Hurricane Relief" on the memo line.

The local group will send one cheque - along with a list of the names, addresses, phone numbers and the amount donated by each donor - to the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund. Tax receipts will then be issued to individual donors, unless requested not needed.

List of provincial groups are on the CNC website:

Communications from Cuba are very difficult but we have been advised by the Cuban government that there is an immediate need for cash and construction materials.

We are in the process of arranging to transport at least 10 containers of materials and a major relief benefit is being planned. Will advise
the details as soon as known. We are also planning a major fundraising drive within the union movement and I'd appreciate any assistance or tips anyone can provide through their years of activism.

All reports are the devastation is the worst ever seen in memory and its time Canadian activists do all we can to help a nation and a people who selflessly help so many others.

Please contact the CNC at the address above or myself if you can assist or need more information.

In solidarity
Sean Smith

Cuba is in dire need of cash as well as direct aid, since the country is excluded from access to the international credit system, and has to pay C.O.D. for its imports from most countries.

The Harper government, which has already sent hurricane aid to Haiti and the USA (even before Gustav hit Louisiana), has of course not lifted a finger to help Cuba, for political reasons. If you think an online petition will do any good, you can sign one HERE.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 14 September 2008 02:10 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cuba is organised as a mutual aid society in which every citizen has his responsibilities, his duties and his place. When hurricanes threaten Cuba, people move out of the way guided by the neighourhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution – CDR. They move the old and the young, the sick and the healthy and their cats, dogs, parrots, their goats, donkeys and cows, to safe places.

Here is a truly incredible fact. Last week the Cubans moved 2,615,000 people – a number nearly equivalent to the entire population of Jamaica, to safety. Four people died in the storm, the first fatalities for years.It is a remarkable statistic. Three years ago when Texas tried to evacuate a million or so ahead of hurricane Rita more than a hundred people died in the evacuation.

The hurricanes hitting Cuba this year have been peculiarly destructive, Gustav leaving behind wreckage which reminded Fidel Castro of the wreckage of Hiroshima.

Cuba needs food, not because of poverty – as in Haiti, but because its crops have been devastated and food stores destroyed. When the Cubans asked the Americans to allow them to buy supplies from the US, Condoleezza Rice said no!

The Cubans were not asking for charity.

Some of us have long suspected that for some Americans, ideology was more important than humanity.

That celebrated rhetorical question in the Bible has now been answered by Secretary Rice:

If your brother asks for bread, will you give him a stone?

The essence of being human is that other humans recognise your humanity, I, and probably many others, are unable to recognise Ms Rice as human.

It is savagely ironic,or, perhaps, barbarically ironic that it is the Cubans who should be treated in this way. When people are in trouble anywhere in the world the Cubans send help no matter what the state of relations is with their governments, to Honduras, Guatemala and Pakistan among others. When Katrina hit the US the Cubans organised a 1,500 strong medical brigade which would have saved many lives, had their help been accepted.


[ 14 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 15 September 2008 09:28 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is Cuba that has shown what a Good Neighbor Policy really is, extending its hand even to the people of the vastly wealthier United States, training young American to become doctors in U.S. inner cities, and offering millions of dollars in medical personnel and life-saving drugs to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - an offer the Bush regime rejected.

In the last several weeks, two major hurricanes have slammed into Cuba, the first, Hurricane Gustav, destroying 100,000 homes. What did the superpower United States offer its wounded neighbor? A measly $100,000 - and that only if the pittance would be handled by an aid group of Washington's own choosing. Cuba, of course, told Washington to keep its pocket change. - Source

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 September 2008 09:35 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bypassing its trade embargo on communist Cuba, the United States on Tuesday announced approving 250 million dollars in "farm sales" to Havana after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike devastated Cuba's crops.

The licenses for agricultural sales, which include food and construction materials, were approved after Ike lashed Cuba a week ago and "wood, a material essential to rebuilding, is included," read a State Department communique delivered to reporters at the US Interests Section in Havana....

After being hit hard by two hurricanes in less than two weeks, desperate Cuba last week urged Washington to ease its trade embargo to allow US firms to open private lines of credit for food imports to the cash-strapped island of more than 11 million people.

The bilateral breakthrough "is more or less what they (the Cubans) are asking for, not credit because our law does not permit it. That will have to be through third parties. The license includes food and wood," a US diplomat in Havana told AFP privately.

A Spanish aircraft meanwhile was due in Cuba on Tuesday with 17 tonnes of aid from the World Food Program and another four tonnes from Spain to help those affected by the hurricanes. Other countries, including Brazil, Russia and Ecuador, have also sent humanitarian assistance.

Spain also has promised 300,000 euros for rebuilding social infrastructure, 200,000 euros for the Red Cross and another 18,000 via the Pan American Health Organization for the repair of medical centers, according to an official statement.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 23 September 2008 03:03 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The number of deaths caused by Hurricane Ike in the United States has risen to at least 50, according to authorities, while rescue teams continued to remove rubble and more than three million consumers in Texas and six other states are without electricity.

One-third of the deaths were in Texas, where the hurricane made landfall on Saturday and hit the hardest, while the rest were spread over 10 other states in the central and northern United States.

Seven people died in Indiana, and six in Louisiana; four died in Missouri and the rest in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

The Department of Energy reported that on Wednesday morning, there were still three million consumers without power in seven states, 1.9 million in Texas and one million in Ohio and Kentucky.

[Granma International, September 17]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 23 September 2008 03:17 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Official information on preliminary data of damages caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike

The combined action of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in winds, rain and flooding as they passed through almost the entire country between August 30 and September 9 — including the previous and subsequent effects as the hurricanes entered and left national territory — unquestionably made them the most destructive in the history of these meteorological phenomena in Cuba with respect to the magnitude of the material damage caused.

For our people, prepared for years to confront natural disasters thanks to the organization and efficiency demonstrated by their strong, energetic and farsighted Civil Defense — as Fidel described it — the experiences of hundreds thousands of directly affected compatriots have been horrific, as have images broadcast by the media in the locations affected.

In the face of such significant effects on the nation’s economic/productive activities, services and entire infrastructure, it is only the Revolution that is preventing the provinces of Pinar del Río, Holguín, Las Tunas and Camagüey and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth — to mention those that were hit hardest — from being declared disaster zones, and their inhabitants from being immersed in desolation. On the contrary, what prevails in those regions and throughout the country is the confidence that we will leave this complex situation behind; it is the security that, united under the Party’s leadership, we will develop an intense and effective, although prolonged, process of recuperation and reestablishment.

Both Hurricane Gustav and Ike, as they followed their courses, placed virtually the entire country in tension beginning August 25, when the Civil Defense issued its first note on those hurricanes, placing the eastern provinces in the informative stage, until Note No. 9 referring to Ike on September 11, which placed Pinar del Río in the recuperation stage.

Between the two meteorological events, not a single province escaped their threat and impact. In the run-up to Ike’s landfall and its exit via Pinar del Río province, just a few kilometers’ distance from the location of its predecessor — Ike placed the entire country in the alarm phase. The story is sufficiently known.

As people know, as soon as risk possibilities are forecast, the country’s first priority in these circumstances is to safeguard human life. Some data illustrates the scope of efforts made in this context.

In total, 3,179,846 people were protected from these two hurricanes — 2,772,615 during Ike — only about 500,000 of whom were in evacuation centers; the rest received solidarity shelter from friends and neighbors. More than 10,000 means of transport were employed, and hundreds of shelters outfitted for the occasion. In addition, as a consequence of the measures adapted for Ike, 176,113 students were returned home from their boarding schools, and 2,818 tourists were relocated.

More than 87,000 comrades worked in the service of the Civil Defense system and related missions during the two hurricanes, including those who were mobilized and personnel at command posts, both national and in defense zones.

And although during Gustav no human lives were lost, during the days of Ike — as was opportunely reported — we mourned the deaths of seven citizens in a number of provinces, not just as a direct result of the hurricane’s effects, but of a failure to strictly observe measures adopted by the Civil Defense authorities.


Very preliminary assessments of the damage caused in the less than 10 days during which the two hurricanes impacted national territory place total losses at around five billion dollars.

Unquestionably, one of the most calamitous effects of Gustav and Ike was on housing: more than 444,000 homes damaged, a large number of them with partially or totally destroyed roofs and other impacts; and of that total, 63,249 houses completely demolished.

Every province was affected. The final figures have not yet been determined, given that these could increase due to the combined effects of heavy rainfall and the passing of the first few days. However, the majority of the effects were directly related to those places hit hardest by the worst of the rainfall and winds, in addition to flooding and coastal deluges before, during and after: Pinar del Río and the Isle of Youth, particularly by Gustav (with its Category 4), and Holguín, Las Tunas and Camagüey by Ike (Category 3).

This may also be described as the most complex type of problem — not only because in the case of housing it leaves more than 200,000 people homeless for some time, and hundreds of thousands more whose homes require repairs — but because building and rebuilding involves financial investment and resources in the millions, and requires years of intense work.


The preliminary assessment of Gustav’s damage reveals that the most significant impact was in the special municipality of the Isle of Youth and Pinar del Río province, mostly in the towns of San Cristóbal, Los Palacios, Consolación del Sur, Viñales, La Palma, Minas de Matahambre, Candelaria and Bahía Honda.

It should be taken into account that estimates of housing losses are based on historic and conventional prices, not real values at international prices. Suffice it to say that in order to have a durable house that can stand up to the fiercest winds, one essential element is necessary and very scarce: a labor force. This is needed both for temporary repairs and lasting construction. That labor force has to be divided among all centers of production and services, some significantly damaged, which is why the real value of a house in the world and the recovery of the corresponding investment is much greater.

• The situation is critical for the 120,105 houses affected by Gustav in Pinar del Río province, particularly in the municipalities of Los Palacios and San Cristóbal.

• Associated with impact on housing, more than 4,000 water storage tanks for apartment buildings were damaged.

• In western Cuba, serious impacts were reported on the electric power infrastructure:

Along the 220-kW Mariel-Pinar del Rio transmission line, 137 towers were destroyed, and along the 110-kW line, 13 towers were destroyed.

Among other elements: 4,500 posts knocked down, 530 transformers broken and 5,000 streetlights damaged.

• In the special municipality of the Isle of Youth, 100% of electrical lines were affected.

• More than 55,700 hectares of crops suffered total losses in western Cuba, mostly tubers and sugar cane. In addition, 877 organic vegetable gardens and 392 intensive farming sites were affected.

• Eighty percent of the Isle of Youth’s poultry industry was seriously affected, and 100% of that industry was affected in the eight municipalities of Pinar del Río that were hit.

• In the tobacco sector, 3,414 storage facilities were destroyed and 1,590 damaged, and more than 800 tons of tobacco was affected.

• More than 180,000 hectares of tree farms were affected.

• In industrial food production: 28 bakeries, eight sweet shops and a fruit and vegetable preserves enterprise were affected, mostly by the total loss of their roofs, but they did have generators.

• 4,355 tons of food in warehouses and neighborhood stores were affected.

• The main damage to the national radio system occurred as a result of the total destruction of its medium-wave towers (2) and the television tower on the Isle of Youth, affecting radio and television services. A similar situation occurred in Pinar del Río, to the towers of facilities in San Cristóbal, La Palma and Los Palacios and their three television centers. In Havana, the centers in Artemisa and Bauta were damaged.

• In telecommunications, 9,316 services were affected, most of them in the special municipality (7,797) and Pinar del Río (1,021).

• Losses are still being calculated in computer equipment, televisions and VCRs. In the health and education sectors, 794 computers were affected.

• In the public health sector in the western region, considerable damage was done to 31 facilities, including 26 hospitals, 18 polyclinics, 191 doctors’ offices, 14 senior citizen homes and 41 pharmacies, with the most critical situation on the Isle of Youth and several municipalities in Pinar del Río: San Cristóbal, Los Palacios, La Palma and Consolación del Sur.

• In education, 1,160 schools were affected, included 599 in Pinar del Río, 218 in La Habana province, 225 in City of Havana, and 87 on the Isle of Youth.

• Important installations were destroyed in the Nueva Gerona port, and the Isle of Youth’s airport, and almost all passenger transport was affected there.


Without assessments being concluded, at the close of this report on September 12, the worst damage by province occurred in the aforementioned provinces, mostly in the following municipalities:

• Guantánamo: Baracoa and Maisí.

• Holguín: mostly in the capital city of Holguín, Banes, Antilla, Moa, Rafael Freyre, Mayarí and Gibara.

• Las Tunas: the capital, Puerto Padre, Manatí and Jesús Menéndez.

• Camagüey: the capital, Nuevitas, Guáimaro, Najasa, Florida, Sibanicú, Minas and Santa Cruz del Sur.

• Ciego de Avila: the capital, Venezuela, Baraguá y Majagua.

• Sancti Spíritus: the capital, Trinidad and La Sierpe.

• Villa Clara: Manicaragua, Encrucijada, Santo Domingo and Sagua la Grande.

• Cienfuegos: Cumanayagua and Aguada de Pasajeros.

• Matanzas: the capital, Unión de Reyes, Calimete, Perico and Jagüey Grande.

All municipalities in those provinces were affected, with only the worst affected listed above. Losses in the other municipalities will not be ignored.

With respect to principal effects, major losses were reported in the provinces of La Habana and City of Havana, although proportionally not as much as in the rest of the country.

Once again, Pinar del Río and the Isle of Youth were lashed by the winds, and this time, much more by water. The aftereffects of the hurricane were slow to disappear.

• Electric power services were affected throughout almost the entire country, which was left in darkness by the direct effect of the wind and heavy rains and by the measures of protection applied to prevent further damage.

• Moreover, reconstruction work was complicated in almost every province 24 hours after the storm headed out to sea.

• Initially, electric power was reestablished with the use of micro-systems via generators, which are being gradually phased out with the activation of the National Electric Power System, except in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Granma and part of Guantánamo, where it was possible to connect them to the Renté thermoelectric power plant. Pinar del Río province and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth are still getting power from micro-systems, and will continue to do so until transmission lines are reestablished, which will be done as soon as possible.

As of September 12, the provinces had electric power in the following percentages: Las Tunas, Camagüey and Holguín: not above 30%, due to the magnitude of breakdowns in their basic distribution networks; Granma and Santiago de Cuba in excess of 99%, and Guantánamo, 94%, although Maisí and Baracoa, the hardest-hit municipalities, were at 53% and 79%, respectively; Ciego de Avila in excess of 92%; La Habana, almost 92%; Matanzas, 90%; Villa Clara, 87.2%; Cienfuegos, 94.7%; and Sancti Spíritus, 84%, all with their provincial capitals, as a rule, at higher percentages. Some of the most backward municipalities also suffered major damage to their grids.

City of Havana exceeded 98%, although there were specific outages to be resolved (burned-out transformers, branch lines, etc.), concentrated in Boyeros, Habana del Este, Plaza, Cerro and Playa.

The regions most compromised and complex, Pinar del Río and the Isle of Youth, were at a little over 55% and almost 67%, respectively.

• Mini- and micro-hydroelectric plants have been seriously affected.

• Wells for supplying manufactured gas to the capital have continued to operate. Only one Energás turbine is working to maintain vitality, for which some wells are being kept open to provide gas to the system.

• There are generalized outages in communications due to fallen trees, telephone posts and transmission towers, with some community television stations deactivated.

• Damage to agriculture is reported as a consequence of Ike in 205 greenhouses, and most of the facilities for semi-protected crops.

• All coffee-growing areas in eastern Cuba were affected, essentially destroying the harvest in some of the most productive municipalities due to the combined action of rain and wind in areas like Mayarí, Sagua de Tánamo, Maisí and Granma province.

• In the eastern provinces, 32,305 hectares of plantain were lost, plus more than 10,000 hectares of other crops.

• At the close of this report, more than 500,000 poultry had been registered as lost, 100,000 of which were slaughtered and sold to the population. Damage to poultry stock was significant in Sancti Spíritus, Matanzas, Las Tunas and Camagüey.

• In sugar cane, 156,600 hectares were reported as flattened, 518,879 hectares flooded and 3,895 hectares of new cane lost, and approximately 40,000 tons of sugar was reported as requiring reprocessing due to having got wet.

• There were also notable effects in the Ministry of Sugar varied crop areas, with damage recorded to more than 10,000 hectares of plantain, rice, beans and others, including organic vegetable gardens.

• Generalized serious effects to roofs and windows of industrial facilities were reported. Production at all factories was halted for different reasons, and many of these remain in that situation.

• The Ministry of Domestic Trade reported damage to 49,000 tons of storage capacity, with the worst to Holguín’s Warehouse Base, where 12,750 tons of products and 1,111 stores were seriously damaged.

• Partial or total destruction was reported to 2,642 Ministry of Education facilities, mostly roofs and windows, as well as 186 child care centers, and severe damage was reported to schools in Holguín, Las Tunas and Camagüey.

• The Ministry of Higher Education reported damage to the universities of Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Holguín; the municipal headquarters of Puerto Padre in Las Tunas and the Institute of Agricultural Science in Havana.

• Damage was reported to 146 cultural institutions and 82 sports facilities, including six sports initiation schools (EIDE); 13 athletics colleges (ESPA) and academies; two faculties of Physical Culture; five provincial baseball stadiums and 32 municipal ones; eight multipurpose auditoriums; 13 community schools and two swimming pool complexes.

• In health facilities, the greatest damage reported was to the neonatal services of the Enrique Cabrera, Aballí, Gineco-Obstétrico Eusebio Hernández, 10 de Octubre and William Soler hospitals, as well as the Fructuoso Rodríguez Orthopedic Hospital.

• Roads were affected by fallen trees and flooding. All the bridges on Cayo Coco causeway and its water pipeline were damaged. Access, with much precaution, can be had over La Farola, Guantánamo province; the Las Tunas-Holguín and Holguín-Moa sections are being inspected, and access was blocked on two sections of the National Highway. Thousands of kilometers of roads and streets were damaged throughout the country.

• Seven ports are closed and there is serious damage to the roofs of port warehouses in Vita, Carúpano and Nuevitas, with damage to pedestrian walkways and signs at the entrances to all ports.

With respect to the volume of accumulated water in the country’s 239 reservoirs managed by the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, at the close of September 12, it was in excess of 7,892,005 million cubic meters, 86% of the total of usable capacity retained, which signifies an increase of 1,791 million of cubic meters with respect to Friday, September 5.

Currently, 128 reservoirs are releasing water into drainage channels, 94 more than before Ike’s passing.

In the last week, all provinces, except for the special municipality of the Isle of Youth, experienced increases in reservoir volumes. Those at 90%-plus capacity include Pinar del Río, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Granma and Guantánamo; Santiago de Cuba is over 99%. Four more provinces are over 80%.

Much more information and data could complete and compliment the situation created in the country in less than one month by the impact of four meteorological phenomena, particularly Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, because of their destructive capacity. The country’s economic, social and housing infrastructures have been devastated like never before.

"Now comes the time to analyze the objective factors, the rational and optimum use of material and human resources; what must be done in every concrete place, where we should or should not invest; what to do with every cent; respond to every question that has to be asked in situations of emergency. And under normal circumstances, when everything returns to its place and the normal lives of children, adolescents, and adults continuing moving forward, always prepared to fight and win without ever becoming disheartened in the face of the adversities of today or of tomorrow," as Fidel recently wrote.

The government has not wasted a single minute and, within a few hours, began sending material resources from its reserves to the affected territories, even though it is not possible for everything to get to everybody immediately.

The people’s solidarity has been present from the first moment, and there are many examples of that. We have been educated that way over almost half a century of Revolution.

There will be no lack of rigor and rationality, as called for by Fidel and indicated by the Party, in the inevitable readjustment of economic and social programs and plans, given that our top priority today is to recover.

Support from the outside has not been lacking, either. The authorities of many governments, agencies and institutions have contacted us and sent initial aid. The seed of our internationalist conduct and solidarity has been germinating for decades. Our gratitude goes out to all of them.

Admiration is due to the cadres and members of our glorious Party; the valiant combatants of our Revolutionary Armed Forces, Ministry of the Interior and Civil Defense; the men and women of our working class; our mass organizations; our media; our journalists and intellectuals and the rest of the citizens of our heroic nation, who, with valor and discipline, have confronted this extremely hard blow dealt by nature.

We will work more united than ever, always remembering that "our duty is to overcome!"

September 15, 2008

[ 30 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 04 October 2008 09:01 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Meanwhile, in the wealthiest country in the world, the victims of Hurricane Ike remain forgotten refugees in their own country...
Two weeks after this disaster 1.5 million people still go home to no power but that which they provide for themselves. The blue light of televisions run by generators blares out into the darkness. The sound of the newscasters voices are more frequently replaced by a game or movie. Cable is restored with news that never mentions Hurricane Ike. The remote shelters have all closed. All evacuees have been bussed back to their city of origin, found the rare hotel room, or bunked wherever they could. People in Galveston sleep in tents. FEMA ceased distributing ice and water days ago. Only two regional hospitals are reopened. Warnings about mold, vermin, mosquitoes, and "germs" are issued with reminders that medical care is not readily available. Restoration of power schedules are pushed back for lack of parts. Debris will not be removed until after Thanksgiving, or New Year's if we are lucky. 245, 000 Texans applied for emergency food stamps. Food banks are distributing four times their normal amount in an attempt to meet demand. More than 250,000 households have applied for FEMA assistance. There are no empty hotel rooms for 300 miles. The scurrying of bugs and rustling rodents amid the debris keeps people up at night. - The Silent Storm

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 06 October 2008 06:56 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cuba has just been lashed by two intense hurricanes which have devastated its agriculture and seriously affected part of its infrastructure and damaged or destroyed more than 400,000 homes.

Allow me to take advantage of this opportunity, on behalf of the Cuban government and people, to thank all those countries, organizations and persons who in one way or another have honestly and sincerely contributed with resources or moral support to the reconstruction efforts undertaken by my country.

That stands in contrast with the position of the United States government which continues to ruthlessly apply their blockade.

Cuba has asked for no gifts from the United States government. It has simply asked and asked again that it be allowed to purchase in the United States the materials that are indispensable for the reconstruction of homes and power grid and that US companies be authorized to grant Cuba private commercial credits to buy food. The answer has been negative, and it has been accompanied with an attempt to manipulate information in such a manner that the government of the United States seems to be concerned for the wellbeing of the Cuban people while the government of Cuba is perceived to be turning down their offer.

If the United States were really so concerned for the Cuban people, the only moral and ethical behavior would be to lift the blockade imposed on Cuba for the last five decades, in violation of the most elemental rules of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.

This irrational policy has a clear aim: to destroy the process of profound revolutionary transformations undertaken by the Cuban people from 1959, in other words, trampling on its right to self-determination, wresting away its freedom and its political, economic and social conquests and plunging it backwards to its former neocolonial status.

The Bush administration intends to justify the intensification of its policy against Cuba by turning once more to fraud and deceit, with the cynicism and hypocrisy that characterizes it. Its determination to dominate and re-colonize Cuba is being presented, no less, like an endeavor to liberate and democratize.

Who, other than its accomplices, recognizes that the United States government has any authority in this world in the matter of democracy and human rights? What authority would such a government claim, one that hunts down and cruelly mistreats the illegal migrants at its southern border, that legalizes the use of torture and keeps in concentration camps, such as the one installed in the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. base at Guantánamo, people who have not been proved of or even charged with any crime?

What respect is due to a government that attacks the sovereignty of other States using the excuse of the fight against terrorism, while at the same time guaranteeing impunity to anti-Cuban terrorists?

What kind of justice can be promoted by an administration that illegally keeps imprisoned five Cuban patriots who were only seeking information to prevent the actions of the terrorist groups operating against Cuba from the United States?

- excerpt from the speech of José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of Cuba's Council of State and Ministers, to the general debate of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 24, 2008.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 23 October 2008 05:27 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
International solidarity was immediate although insufficient. Several countries like Venezuela, Russia, Spain, China, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil, among others, offered emergency humanitarian aid to Cuba which quickly arrived. Spain, Russia, China and Venezuela were the first to respond quickly and efficiently. Of course, all those nations helped Cuba unconditionally.

The government in Washington, on the other hand, proposed 100,000 dollars of humanitarian aid for Cuba. "The United States announced [...] to the Cuban government that it is prepared to contribute immediate humanitarian aid to Cubans affected by hurricane Gustavo," said Sara Mangiaracina, Department of State spokesperson.

But the U.S. offer was hypocritical. In fact, two conditions were imposed on Cuba. On one hand Havana had to accept the inspection of a group of U.S. experts to assess damages and needs, as if Cubans were incapable of carrying out that kind of evaluation. On the other hand, the aid would be distributed exclusively though non-governmental organizations, that is, organizations of the extreme right in Florida, fiercely opposed to the revolutionary government.

On the island, Washington's cynicism and political use of the natural tragedy which hit the Cuban population deep in the heart was little appreciated. In fact, Washington is the only capital which made its assistance conditional, while the other countries offered immediate aid without imposing any demand. Cuba is the only country hit by hurricanes that Washington made a conditional offer. The discriminatory nature of the U.S. position was perceived as an insult in Cuba.

Frank Mora, Cuban specialist at the National War College in Washington recalled that: "The United States, in the past, has acted honorably and quickly in response to hurricanes in Central America, tsunamis in Indonesia and earthquakes in Pakistan: they come in first, with the most resources and unconditionally. That has not been the case for Cuba. It's embarrassing and shameful that politics has inserted itself at a time when so many Cuban people on the island are suffering."

The U.S. offer cannot be seriously considered. While Cuba had damage equivalent to five billion dollars, Washington, the first world power, only offered the insignificant amount of 100,000 dollars. As a comparison, East Timor, a small archipelago in the Pacific, with numerous economic and social problems, offered aid five times greater.

Similarly, the White House gave 20 million dollars of aid to Haiti, that is, an amount 200 times greater than the offer for Cuba, while the country has a population two times less than the Caribbean archipelago and the material damage, although considerable, is less than in Cuba.

Even Jorge Mas Santos, president of the National Cuban American Foundation, an organization of the extreme right based in Florida and viscerally opposed to the government of Havana, described the aid to Cuba proposed by the Bush administration "as frankly insulting."
Salim Lamrani

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 08 November 2008 08:51 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Powerful Hurricane Paloma strikes storm-weary Cuba

CAMAGUEY, Cuba (AP) — Powerful Hurricane Paloma slammed into southern Cuba on Saturday as authorities scrambled to move hundreds of thousands of people to safer ground and protect crops on an island still reeling from two other storms.

Paloma made landfall near Santa Cruz del Sur as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, but quickly weakened into a still-ferocious Category 3 with winds of 120 mph (195 kph) winds and torrential rains, the National Hurricane Center said

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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