After Hurricane Irma Swept through Havana

Yanelys Nunez Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — After Hurricane Irma whipped through the city, I went out onto the street. It’s 4 PM on Sunday. It’s still a bit windy, but the sun is out as if nothing had happened.

There isn’t any electricity and all businesses are shut, but people have still started coming out onto the street.

The following are some notes I made about this afternoon:

– The Curita park, located on Reina and Galiano Streets, have strong, big trees lying on the ground, they had been ripped out from the roots. A countless number of branches have also come off and lie on the pavement.

– Nearby, several buildings, which were semi-destroyed beforehand, have now completely collapsed. Rubble can be found in the middle of the street and is waiting to be collected.

– I walk along the San Rafael pedestrian boulevard and there’s only one cafe open. People crowd together at its entrance and from its dark interior, a voice announces: I only have 10 pizzas left!! Many disappointed faces begin to leave.

– I’m heading towards Central Park and I don’t know why one of its most immediate streets has been closed off by the police. Everybody is looking up at the top of the Garcia Lorca Grand Theater, and there’s the reason why. The bronze sculpture which crowns one of the building’s corners has been blown on its side by the force of the hurricane’s winds and is dangling. There is a crane which is trying to reach it unsuccessfully. It seems they hadn’t calculated the height of the building properly and they just brought the first thing they could think of.

– Meanwhile, I run into some of my photographer friends who were also walking through the area like myself. They show me some pictures of when the hurricane swept through and some of them were completely surreal: people playing dominoes while flood waters reached their ankles, kids who were swimming in the middle of the street, taking advantage of the sea coming in.

– It’s almost evening and a new crane has come. Two people are lifted in a cage to try and cut the sculpture at its base. Many people have come together here – remember there isn’t any electricity – waiting to see whether it falls unexpectedly or whether the workers are able to take it off they like want to. They manage to do it in the end. Everybody claps. They slowly come back down. Once in the truck that will transport it, people get ready to touch it, to take a photo with it. Some people joked that the next time they’ll see it is when another hurricane comes along to put it back in its place.

– It’s 8:30 PM. People scatter into the darkness. Silence takes over again.

Yanelys Nuñez

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva: Writing is to expose oneself, undress before the inquisitive eyes of all. I like to write, not because I have developed a real fondness for nudity, but because I love composing words, thinking of stories, phrases that touch, images that provoke different feelings. Here I have a place to talk about art, life, me. In the end, feeling good about what you do is what matters; either with or without clothing.

4 thoughts on “After Hurricane Irma Swept through Havana

  • It is not a criticism Ginni, but obviously you don’t comprehend Cuba and the communist administration. In Cuba Ginni, people earn a livlihood crying their wares as they walk along the streets. That includes some who sell squeegees or mops carrying half a dozen on their shoulders. Expecting the administration to dole out any form of free goodies is rather optimistic.
    How right you are in suggesting that “CUBA needs to provide for it’s people.”

  • We are scheduled to fly in on Tuesday (with kids). Tying to make a decision to go or postpone. Thanks for your articles.

  • Are the Cuban people being given bottled water, food and cleaning supplies to help them clean their homes? Here in the US The Salvation Army provides cleaning supplies along with a mop and a broom.
    Two gallons of bottled water per person per day is given out with ice when electricity is not available as of yet. A case of MRE’s Meals Ready to Eat are given out to each household. FEMA along with the Red Cross assist with housing. CUBA needs to provide for it’s people!

  • Thank you for the sincere portrayal.

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