The victims of the last hurricane have ceased to be newsworthy; they are only numbers in the statistics of those who have lost their homes. The politicians no longer travel to the disaster zones to have their photos taken next to the injured, and the materials to rebuild are lost in the machinery of the bureaucracy. A few towns have been lucky enough to be showcases for the reconstruction, but others—small and unknown—are still filled with abandoned houses.
Near Cienfuegos, a sheltered family suspects the cement and iron to raise their walls have been stopped by the hands of others who can pay more. Those who have grown tired of waiting for the rebirth of their home villages come to the outskirts of Havana to build their houses out of tin and cardboard. They don’t want to be the victims of the next cyclone because these natural disasters, like Ike and Gustav, only throw light on the other disaster, the disaster of unproductivity and inertia that affects us all.
It will soon be a year since thousands of homes came to have only the sky for a roof. Caletone, a town near Gibara that doesn’t even appear in the Atlas of Cuba, is still deep in destruction. Its inhabitants know that with the current economic crisis it would be a miracle if the necessary resources reach their hands. They have fallen into that no man’s land caused by indifference, the triumphalism of the press and the winds—not of hurricane force, but of waiting.
Music of Ernesto Lecuona: “Noche Azul” (Blue Night)