A Sunday of Great Uncertainty in Havana


Photo Feature by Juan Suarez

Text: Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES – On Sunday, the sun came out at times in the Cuban capital. You could still feel some gusts of wind in the morning and a sporadic drizzle. Some privately run establishments offer services, but not state-owned ones, which are the majority.

Only the blaring of the sirens of ambulances and police cars interrupted the monotony of Centro Habana, entirely without electricity, like most of the capital and many municipalities throughout the country affected by the passage of hurricane Irma.

Many streets in Havana are still flooded and expected to slowly subside on Monday. The long struggle to recover has yet to begin. Juan Suarez brings us his pictures taken Sunday morning in the capital cities of Centro Habana and Plaza de la Revolucion.

The simple street inspection shows partial collapses of old walls, neglected during the last half century. People walk down the street, away from dangerous sidewalks given the possible that fall a balcony or a piece of cornice softened by yesterday’s downpours could fall on them.

The hawkers make their party: the bread, whose proclamation is the daily alarm clock every morning did not reach my street, they sold all of the sack of breads 100 meters earlier. One vendor shouted avocados for sale.

Nevertheless, the most talked about item is the rum, prohibited its sale since the decree of hurricane alarm. In Cuba, banning rum sale doesn’t work. In the neighborhoods, the almost familiar bond between merchants and residents determines the purchase of the product under the table, although yesterday, before the ban became effective, many Havana residents had already stocked up.

Here it is said that, if we are definitely doomed, then we are going to party it and thus withstand it better.

The paradox is that while the state makes a big effort to avoid any loss of human lives, the much vaunted “recovery” of the damages will take light years, perhaps until another Revolution.

Now the damage from Irma will be added to the blockade/embargo over the next few years to justify any and all our misfortunes.

At one o’clock in the afternoon the news in my neighborhood was the sale of butter from Lithuania-200 grams –at the Subirana warehouse on the corner of Desgue, at 1.45 Cuc, (1.65 USD), at 55 cents, because the lack of electricity threatens the product and nobody knows when we will enjoy the electric service again. At least Irma left us a small gift.

The hurricane warnings are now over, and one thing for sure is that difficult times are ahead.

Editor’s note: The authorities continue to collect damage reports in the different municipalities and provinces where Hurricane Irma and its wind and rain bands occurred. Without exaggeration, the damage is very extensive. There are villages where almost no house remained standing. And the tourist infrastructure of the Cuban north coast was badly hit. The first priority for the government is the restoration of electricity said Raul Castro.


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6 thoughts on “A Sunday of Great Uncertainty in Havana

  • What an inane response even for you KEC. Just re-read what you wrote and try to make sense of it!
    You forget that I am married to a Cuban and that my home is in Cuba. I know the reality – and have written a book about it. Don’t bother trying to instruct me about Cuba and Cubans from the comfort of your island retreat.

  • Havana Times is usually just slightly negative in case anything might improve ones notion of socialist Cuba… The safety precautions and ability to protect people via all the means of CDR’s Poder Popular, Government protections etc — not here in these pictures of events.. An objective News account from these Folks (Hav a banana Times) is likely to prove that the Miami medical care is the best in the State – unfortunately it’s under water now. Must be some case of Government US denial that climate change and sea level rise is an actual event – a deadly one to boot.

  • Brother Carlyle, The people of Cuba are a heroic people. They overthrew the US supported PUPPET Batista regime, they successfully defeated the Bay of Pigs invasion, they have survived 57 years (1960-2017) of an illegal inhumane, unjust, genocidal Economic Embargo. Despite their limited resources, they have run to the countries and people in distant lands to assist in natural disasters; they possess the spirit, the gumption, the zest the resilience to bounce back and rebuild. It might take some time, but they will eventually do it. It is only when you are floored, that the good fighter finds the strength to rise from the carpet and continue the fight. The Cuban people are that kind of fighter. In their time of need, the friends and the good people of the world, will come to their aid. Do not underrate them. You do so at your own peril!

  • Anyone with pictures from Matanzas?

  • Such a crushing experience for people who already have so few possessions and so little hope. Those in Havana are likely to receive priority, but for those who do not live in tourist popular commmunities, there will be prolonged misery. There is a need to recognize that the bulk of Cubans affected by Irma, do not live in Havana and who also merit attention.
    As Moses Patterson correctly observed prior to the arrival of Irma, over fifty years of neglect has made so many buildings in Havana subject to crumbling and falling down. Ones heart goes out to the people of Cuba.

  • We are all thinking of the Cubans affected by Irma. We hope that the flood waters subside quickly.

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