Caletone or the victims of the next hurricane

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)


22 thoughts on “Caletone or the victims of the next hurricane

  1. Pingback: Can’t help Iran? Think about Cuba | Mind Your Own Damn Business Politics

  2. So 291RCR here we go again with the same type of argument

    Just because something is wrong with some other country same as Cuba does it make it right for Cuba to be same?
    I think Candido pointed we should not compare to the worst we should compare to the best or at least to what we think it should be.

    I do believe that it is Yoani’s right and anybody’s right to complain about problems and to show when their government is not telling the truth.

    Go and ask any of this people in Cuba living on those houses what they think?
    I am sure they will not care so much about New Orleans they will be thinking their government has fail because they promised something and did not deliver.

  3. OK,i know that it’s basic human instinct to do someone a favour and get paid back for it;but the way that the US government make’s us work,and then pay’s us back is sort of insulting.They keep bugging and bugging and poking us to do more,which we are doing,and what do they pay us back with,peanut’s as far i’m concerned,it’s never enough for us after all that we do for them;that’s my complaint and what i meant.
    O,and Señor De La Yncera,thank you for leaving the comment,i will take your suggestion’s to heart. The music i can fix.I’ll try and moderate my post’s,and stick to one topic;i suppose i have to much time on hand’s and tend to go insane with my post’s;i’ll work on it;let’s if today’s post will be short and sweet.


    “Revolutionary Road”, un blog iraní, tiene (un poco) traducción en español.

    Apparently after the death of the young women Neda, the police have been given orders not to attack women. So when the police begin attacking the men, all the women in the area circle the police and demand that they free the men. Amazing !

    Also, thank you Mushba for your comments. Please continue to post, I enjoy what you write. I’ll be sure to check out your Blog. Often people come here and post that Cubans should be thankful for what they have because “at least they are not living in Haiti or Somalia” or some other place which has been destabilized. I know that is not what you meant. I think some here took your comments the wrong way. Its important for people fighting injustice everywhere to share their similar experiences and to learn from each other…and to also understand our significant differences…and to build bridges despite them.

    I hope you continue to read and post to this blog and good luck with your writing.

  5. To Machete Amor — I assure you, you are not on any “watch list” for comment moderation! Generally if a comment gets held back it’s because it’s obvious spam, (“Buy my little blue pills!”), or because it has more than two links in it. Sometimes, they get ‘caught’ for no apparent reason. I try to check the comments every day and ‘release’ those that clearly should have been posted with no delay. Unfortunately I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately (and will be through the summer) and so I sometimes miss days. So my apologies to you and to others who’ve had their comments held for no reason.

    Fortunately the new software is much better and even a comment that goes in the “Spam catcher” can now be released and posted — whereas before that was comment death!

  6. Do any of the bloggers know where New Orleans is? Is there any true that the people in that community being in the Richest Nation (maybe not now that China owns them) in the world and a government that cares have the resident return to their homes? What is it six years since they suffered the same type of disaster now under discussion?

  7. Well I think is fair for the US government to get something in return for their help and the things they ask are not ridiculous like in the case of Cuba they wanted to distribute the help directly to the people to avoid the government using it for their own purposes etc. That I would think is not too bad of a request.

    Does n’t Chavez gets something in return from the oil he gift to Cuba?
    Or does n’t Fidel Castro gets something in return from the doctors and teachers he forcefully send to Venezuela and other countries?
    Every country plays that kind of game.

    If you are always good to a friend and the friend never does any favor in return for you then you will soon get tired and eliminate that “friend” from your list of friends since you will think this “friend” is just using you.

  8. man, you guys are really talented at alienating your allies. give her a break.

  9. Looking at the video of Caletone, I notice most of the roofs on the affected structures have blown away. Not to mention that the infrastructure around the houses appears to be minimal.
    In the old days, cuban middle class homes were built with concrete walls and roofs, with steel bars on the windows, both for protection from burglars and physical impact from large flying objects, so that hurricanes barely hurt them if they were on high ground.

    The concrete roofs, being mostly flat or horizontal with flat ceramic tiles, could be treated as some kind of patio, where older kids could play, set up crystal radio antennas, fly kites, or just look at the stars.

    The Coma-Andante and his “expert” cohorts did not have to reinvent the wheel to build secure coastal homes that could withstand hurricane force winds. Nevertheless, not only are they incapable of producing and creating, but neither can they successfully copy or learn from designs and technologies of longstanding.

    What else can I say, this revolution and its Coma-Andante are hopeless. Any chance people could peacefully fill the Jose Marti Plaza to at least yell at the Coma-Andante, to ask for freedom as as they’re doing in Iran?

  10. C’mon !!!! this is the Century 21!!!!!,,don’t be so naive!!!!

    That is happening since the caveman age !!!! where the strongest one was able to do a favor, but later, the favor was supposed to be paid later!!!!

    How can you define the humans relations?

    It is very simple, “One hand washes the other and both together wash the body” !!!


  11. That’s very true, no government ever just offers to help without pre-conditions. Especially not the US. Maybe the pre-conditions are justifiable or maybe they are used to further entrap and destabilize the country. But there are always pre-conditions.

  12. Señor De La Yncera,
    Ofcourse your right.I suppose you were referring to the entry on my blog.Well,i would like say that i was referring strictly to the relation’s between Pakistan,and it’s ‘ally’ no 1,US;well,it’s more the other way around.There’s a difference between Cuba and Pakistan;just as there’s a difference between how the US treat’s it’s allie’s,and it’s so called enemie’s,or nation’s with whom they have strained realtion’s.So that should tell you enough,that what i’ve learned is that a government,or the US government,never help’s it’s ‘ally’ without making the ally in question work,so they can gain something out of it.

  13. Yoanis:

    I have a suggestion:

    Can you put a video below of the people of Caletone, where we can see Miramar or any area of the living zones of the “current owners” of Cuba?

    With both videos, you should be able to compare the poor Cuba with the rich Cuba and you will show the achievements of the Revolution on equality!!!!.

    Note: 90 % of Cuba s territory is exactly as the Caletone’s video, the other 10 % belong to zones where Castro and his maffiosa gang have their homes and pleasure places!!!!


  14. Mushba

    I will like to tell you that the US government whom the Cuban government considered their enemy number 1 offered monetary help and construction materials etc but the Cuban government refused their help.
    That help was for the people of Cuba not for the government of Cuba does a government have rights over its people specially when it is not a freely elected government?

    Iain with regards to this

    “One wonders in what respect, exactly, Castro maintains that his “planned economy” is superior to the “free market.””
    I will like to say that the so called planned economy is not planned at all I think someone mentioned before is more like a planned catastrophe!
    Every action is got consequences and many of them are too unpredictable to know the end result so it is better the use of “the invisible hand” to get the problems to fix themselves with solutions that solutions that are dictated by a few older gentleman in power.

  15. “I had a very good job, with a very good salary, but, I decided to quit (voluntarily), just because the guy in front of my house does not have job, besides, there are too many people without job!!!!, them and their families are suffering, then, I should suffer and keep my family suffering too!!!!!!”

    C’mon!!!! Mushba with all your respect!!!!We know that there are too many countries in the world suffering, struggling, etc, etc, to survive!!!!, but, Why do you have to use it as a reference to compare that you are not the only one?.

    The goal, the objective, etc, is supposed to reach the same society level that the other side of the world has it!!!!,,,complaining , crying and struggling among us (the impoverished) will not be the solution!!!.

    For every case that you can speak about how bad is Pakistan, I can tell you 100 similar or worst situations in Cuba, the same thing happen with you, for every situation we have in Cuba, then, you can mention 100 with similar circumstances in Pakistan!!!!

    If you are trying to find a solution, please, present choices, show how to solve it!!!,,,on the contrary, if for every problem, your answer is, that you, and your people are suffering the same way, it just put on a silver platter the excuses for our bad Governments to use these comparisons and discuss the social inequality that exist today in the world, solidifying their false image of defender of their people!!!

    Before January 1, 1959 , Cuba was, probably, the second or third country in Latin America (just may be behind Argentina and Brasil), our economy, our democracy, our human rights , etc, were so respectable, of course that we had problems, we had corrupts politicians, corrupt police, poor and rich, but, now the comparison is valid!!!!,,after that date, and step by step until today,,, 99% of Cuba’ population is totally poor and hungry, and 1% very, very rich (I’m talking about Castro’s family and his maffiosa gang in this second group), our liberties, our human rights, our freedom !!!! was removed form our conscience, removed from our soul,,,now we have inoculated the poison of fear, insecurity and no hope at all!!!!,,,and the saddest part of it , is that we don’t know when this is going to end!!!!!.

    Our future is in the hands of nobody!!!, Castro, and his maffiosa gang can do anything they want it!!! and they can justify any kind of crime, or abuse, or violation under the banner of patriotism or the Revolution!!!! with total and absolute impunity!!!!!, but the worst aspect is that outside of Cuba, the exterior world, can believe what he says, based only in the same kind of answers that you are bringing with your comments!!!!

    Please, I’m not trying to stop yourself of your free expression, this is a free and open tribune, where everybody can express his free opinion, I’m just want to suggest you that we should not wear us down with us whit something that we all know, keep that energy to expose our bad Governments!!!!

    My best regards to you!!!!


  16. Why are Cuban authorities stopping the entry of Not Just Tourists bags in their country? All we want to do is help. These are bags full of medical supplies that are desperately needed.

    ¿Por qué las autoridades cubanas están deteniendo la entrada de turistas no sólo a las bolsas en su país? Todo lo que quiero hacer es ayudar. Estas son bolsas llenas de suministros médicos que se necesitan desesperadamente.

  17. Iain. That’s nice that you had milk near Houston.

    As your probably very well aware, many people who were and still are devastated from that Hurricane. I can show you the town in Alabama where a friend of mine is still working with Vietnamese fishermen to reconstruct their lives after loosing everything their families built there. A family friend was sent to NOLA with the national guard and said that he was primarily protecting people from the local police who were completely out of control and were basically acting like armed vigilantes (that was his first hand experience). I think the official statistic for Katrina is 1,836 dead and 705 “missing”.

    It’s not necessary downplay or dismiss the reality of what happened here in the US to prove a political point about Cuba. If we’re reading this blog chances are that we’re all pretty much on point that Cuba’s handling of the Hurricanes is substandard if not criminal and that they lie about their statistics. That said, by critiquing how the US handled Katerina I’m certainly not implying that Cuba handles their shit better…all of our shit stinks when it comes to providing for the poor/those with less resources.

  18. I was near Huston (that’s Texas, pardner :-)) for a couple of the “Leave or Die” hurricanes last year and had to endure a power-cut (I think the Americans call them “outages”)of nearly two hours! Fortunately, the gallon of milk in the fridge (around a month’s work for a Cuban) was unaffected. There was some damage down on the seafront but, thanks to the nature on modern construction, only the oldest buildings appeared to have sustained structural problems.
    One wonders in what respect, exactly, Castro maintains that his “planned economy” is superior to the “free market.”

  19. Again i can say that the struggle of the hurricane victim’s can be easily felt by the victim’s of the 2005 earthquake,who are still struggling,and the IDP’s from the Swat conflict.I am happy to say that though the international community has’nt given us that much aid,the Pakistani people have opened up their wallet’s for them,and yet they still struggle to get the basic’s.I’m afraid that if they are not provided for,or relocated back to their home’s,some have been given permission to back to their area’s for they are now considered safe,they are going to turn the camp’s into town’s.They need to be provided for quickly.
    It’s sad that the Cuban’s are not provided for like the IDP’s and earthquake victim’s;like Yoani said,the materials and aid has been lost in the machinerey of bureaucracy.

  20. Castro’s tyranny statistics conceal the results in most of the cases, manipulating or simply disappearing the information. In this specific case the manipulation take effect in the number of fatalities caused by hurricanes, as shown below in the excerpts of the article “CASTRO’S TYRANNY AND THE HURRICANES”:

    Hurricane Flora caused havoc in Cuba. According to the Government statement 100 deaths were reported. Periódico Revolución, October of 1963.

    Flora caused near 1,000 deaths. Speech by Fidel Castro May 27, 1969.

    Hurricane Flora devastates Cuba: 1,159 corpses and numerous damages.,
    July 25, 2001.

    A monument to remember the victims of Hurricane Flora, which killed more than
    1, 200 Cubans. Juventud Rebelde, October 7, 2003.

    The most deadly, however, was Flora in 1963, which left nearly 2,000 killed by the floods that occurred in the east of the island. Havana, September 13, 2004 (EFE).

    The statistics of the Castro tyranny speak for themselves.[1]

    [1]By Humberto (Bert) Corzo, “CASTRO’S TYRANNY AND THE HURRICANES”
    La Nueva Cuba, Noviembre 8, 2008

  21. I have a question. Sorry to be off topic from the subject of the post. But sometimes I post and my message goes through right away. Other times I post and it get moderated. Is that because I posted links ? Or are some posts moderated and other not or am I on a “watch” or “black” list…jaja…just kidding…i’m just curious why my last post is moderated. Thanks.

    On topic, at the risk of comparing apples to oranges. I volunteered to help re-build several homes in New Orleans after Katrina. But, part of the problem was that the city and surrounding area was in shambles before the hurricane even hit. So, this seems to be also a problem in Cuba where you have a natural disaster compounding the problems created by an economic disaster. These small towns, not New Orleans, but many small coastal towns in Alabama and Louisiana have seen a very deep economic decline over the course of years. I stayed in small towns where the fishing industry bottomed out, the entire town was living in trailers or scuttled fishing boats collecting gov’t assistance and when the hurricane hit they lost everything. And now they are still living in substandard gov’t supportive housing with no way or means to get out.

    Many are just waiting for the next disaster, either natural or economic.

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