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.

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