Galveston Mayor Visits Cuba

HAVANA TIMES, April 22 — Hurricane season begins in June and the mayor of Galveston, Texas, Lyda Ann Thomas, isn’t letting politics get in the way of trying to be more prepared.

Just last September both Cuban and Galveston were hit hard by hurricane Ike and once again Cuba’s civil defense capabilities and strategies proved a notch above those of the wealthier nation to the north.

Galveston’s relationship with hurricanes and Cuba dates back to 1900.

At the time, Cuba’s meteorologists tried to warn that a killer hurricane was headed for Galveston but according to the book “Isaac’s Storm”, the US occupying force refused to let Cuban weather specialists transmit the danger to Galveston authorities.

The powerful storm went on to leave 6,000 dead in the Texas port city, then in its heyday.

While in Cuba, Mayor Thomas plans to exchange with Cuban officials on hurricane preparedness. Her trip has been planned since last year.

Cuba has often noted that if the half-century US blockade on the island is lifted, civil defense, illegal people smuggling, drug trafficking, joint scientific research and cultural exchange are just a some of the many areas the two neighboring countries would have a lot to collaborate on.

At the Americas Summit over last weekend in Trinidad and Tobago, Latin American leaders called in unison to US President Obama to end the blockade.

While the encounters were cordial and Obama spoke of the possibility of talks, he did not signal anything concrete to end the blockade and pave the way to restoring normal ties between the US and Cuba.