Storm Stories. Even as Cuba attempts to come to terms with the hurricane damage they have already sustained, Hurricane Ike seems intent on bearing down on the already stricken country. Not surprisingly, the Cuban government has politely refused an the American offer to send an assessment team. They have, however, just as politely accepted an American offer of one hundred thousand dollars, a number that given the devastation seems woefully inadequate, near insulting. For some video of just that devastation, link provided by The Real Cuba, click here.
Aid is a ticklish proposition in that in order to make sure it reaches the victims it is necessary to circumvent the government. The regime has suggested that it is best to lift limits on remittances and visits to family. Read right front paw of the same camel that managed to infiltrate its head years ago after a hurricane where humanitarian aid led to our becoming one of Cuba's major suppliers and a growing chorus of "lift the embargo." But now as then the immediate disaster would seem to trump the chronic one.
Dissidents have also sent the President an open letter asking him to lift the same restrictions for at least two months. Members of the Agenda for Transition, noting the regime's hesitancy in dealing with the US government, asked that non governmental agencies be allowed to send help as well. Personally, I would love to see the marines land, as they did in Myanmar, bearing huge rice sacks with USA stamped all over them. But then, that's me.
Speaking of dissidents, it seems Cuban economist, dissident, and one time political prisoner, Oscar Espinosa Chepe is not only rooting for Obama but has also been reading the Times. The leaning toward Obama was to be expected- Chepe is one who favors engagement- but I was floored when I read Joe Garcia's talking points coming from Cuba. These include the Cuban demographic in Miami is changing, as younger generations- not as hate-filled as the old intransigents- take their place. You know the drill. The story in Spanish here, courtesy of Penultimos Dias.
Also at Penultimos Dias is a link to a magazine story about Naty Revuelta, Castro I's former lover and mother of his daughter Alina Fernandez. Terribly sad, alone and still deluded at 82, she relives the past in this story. Herejias Y Caprinhas has the whole thing posted. It's in Spanish. Just click on the pages for the text. For the whole back story in English read Wendy Gimbel's Havana Dreams: The Story of a Cuban family. You can also read my impressions of said book here.