I have a lot to tell about the events of these last days. I know that you are waiting for the details about what happened at the concert on Thursday, the poster, the beatings, the arrests, the incredible police operation and all the stand-by activities in front of the Playa Municipal Tribunal that ended with the liberation of Gorki. The trial alone – at which I was present to check the inconsistencies in all the accusations made against the rocker – would give enough material for several posts. Unfortunately, because of Gustav the weather situation in Havana doesn’t allow me to leave the house to connect to the internet in a public place. On my balcony, fourteen floors up, we already have strong winds, and have started to close the windows and protect the plants. Today I am called on to face another cyclone.
What I do not want to fail to say is that never before, as in these last days, have I seen international public opinion, the media, and part of Cuban civil society come together and unite. Yesterday we demonstrated that the wall can be pushed if we do it together. We have forced them to retract, to undo the injustice, and this is a very good precedent for us and extremely dangerous for “them.” The internet proved that it can act, in the Cuban case, as a virtual environment for joint efforts. I hope that these centimeters we gained by pushing the boundaries will be followed by meters and meters of reclaimed freedoms.
*I have dictated this post by telephone to some friends who will post it. With the collaboration of some of them I was able to report yesterday from outside the court. I want to especially thank Ernesto Hernández Busto through whom much of this information saw the light of day in the pages of “Penúltimos días.”
I am from New Orleans. My whole family is in New Orleans. Half have evacuated, half have not. Gustav is on our way to us. This comes almost on the third anniversary after Katrina. Life just sucks for us right now. So much rebuilding after so much destruction. If this storm moves 100 miles to the east, we may be destroyed, again. 🙁
I want to know that you guys are doing well. When I went to bed last night, Gustav was a category 1. During the day today, it grew to a 4, almost a 5. It pounded western Cuba (Pinar del Rio) as a strong 4. What happened there? How bad was it? This storm is scaring the shit out of us. New Orleans and Cuba have often been linked in our history. It saddens me to see us linked by storms like Gustav and Katrina. I hope you guys came through this storm ok.
Diganos por favor como salio con esta hurican. Como explico arriba, yo soy de Nueva Orleans, Lousiana. Todo mi familia esta en la ciudad. unos han salido ya, otros no. Fuimos por Katrina y me preocupo bastante de Gustav. Espero que salieron bien ustedes porque esta tormenta nos esta asustando igual o mas que Katrina.
Que Dios les bendiga a todos.
I hope you are all well. You are in my prayers.
I hope you are well and safe
A little update tonight from New Orleans. The storm weakened after leaving Cuba and never regained it’s strength. We are only a few hours away from landfall now. The storm will come in either as a weak Cat. 3 or a strong Cat 2. It will slide to the west of the city. I am confident that we will come through this storm ok. 3 people died being transported out of ICU to other hospitals, and someone I know said that his friend’s Grandfather died at a road-side rest stop in the state of Mississippi during their evacuation.
That said, I have been utterly horrified at what I have read about the situation on the Isle of Pines (Youth) and Pinar del Rio. The situation very much reminds me of Katrina. The Cuban government is reporting no deaths. I have a hard time believing that because as I describe above, stuff happens, so it depends on how deaths are counted I suppose. But if that is the case then that is a blessing as over 1800 people died in New Orleans as a result of Katrina.
Our government response has been much better with Gustav than with Katrina.
At any rate, I hope you and your family are ok in Havana, Yoani. And God Bless all of your countrymen who are dealing with the aftermath of Gustav. You guys are in our prayers. I hope there is a way that I can donate to relief efforts there.