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Wilma In Cuba
Tuesday, October 25, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

Wilma bypasses Cuba, but fidel's destruction continues

As pitiful as Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's preparation was for Hurricane Katrina, her friend fidel castro seems to have been even less prepared for Hurricane Wilma. Wilma didn't even reach Cuba, but the high waves were enough to swamp the Malecon seawall in Havana, flood the cities streets, and further degrade the old buildings neglected by years of communism. The Associated Press (and our old friend Vanessa Arrington) reports parts of the seawall washed into the sea, and:

Picturesque but dilapidated buildings lining the northern coastal highway alongside the Malecon received an especially severe beating on Monday. Their doors and wooden window shutters were flung off as first-floor homes filled with waist-deep water.

fidel saw fit to rescue some of the flooded out people - all of 250 in the entire city of Havana. He makes Ray Nagin's efforts look heroic.

"This has been terrible, a true catastrophe," said Aurora Quintana, 38, who lives on the second floor of a building facing the ocean. "These houses are already in really bad shape. Recovering from this, given our economic situation, is going to be tough."

Arrington reports that streets were flooded so that cars were completely submerged and only the tops of public telephone booths were above the water level.

As night fell Monday, residents along the Malecon nailed doors back down on their homes, praying the ocean would calm down as they braced for a night without electricity and water.

"No one has come here yet to check up on us, to see how we fared," said Ignacio Duro, 36. "My faith goes as far as what I can get done myself."

As far as what I can get done myself - in a workers' paradise.

Havana is not the only city in Cuba, of course. The Real Cuba has lots of photos showing flooding and destruction across the island.

As usual, the U.S. media reports little, if any, of the continued destruction of what was once the pearl of the Spanish Caribbean.

Update - Charlie Bravo has another photo and comments.


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