HAVANA TIMES — After touring Santiago de Cuba earlier in the week Cuban President Raul Castro is in Guantanamo today one of the three provinces hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy a week ago.
Castro’s main message is asking people not to lose hope and assuring they will not be abandoned.
The latest destruction reports show over 180,000 damaged or destroyed homes along with over 100,000 hectares (245,000 acres) of crops destroyed, the hardest hit being the sugar crop, along with plantains and other bananas, vegetables and other basic crops.
“It was a truly hard blow; it was a powerful hurricane that developed very quickly. The reality [of the damage] exceeds the photos and images in the press and television: Santiago has been shaken; it looks like a bombed city. But we will recover. You are a tough people. We’ve known that for over a half century,” said Castro.
First vice-president Jose Ramon Machado, who is accompanying Castro in the tour of the affected regions, said “one of the greatest problems in the coming months is going to be providing food for the people.” Cuba imports over half its basic foods.
Cuba already had a shortage of building materials and skilled construction workers before hurricane damage, tensing the situation in the coming period.
In fact, reconstruction from the 2008 earthquake Ike was still not completed in Holguin, the other province hit hard by Sandy.