Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flashback: Hurricane Michelle

Seeing images of Hurricane Ike reminded me of Hurricane Michelle, a huge storm that hit Cuba in November 2001, killing five people. Michelle weakened to a Category 3 when it crossed Cuba, but still caused deaths and millions of dollars in damage, according to this report.
I interviewed victims of the storm and photographed this couple, above. What I see in this photograph today is sadness and loss, along with determination, pride and spirit.


Yaalaliberta said...

I have a flashback-January 1st 1959 when Typhoon Fidel came to Cuba and stayed. Its effect have caused millions of displaced Cubans and thousands of dead. Saddly Typhhon Fidel before leaving has spurred an offspring named Tornado Raul.

alongthemalecon said...

yaalaliberta - you're not alone.

Here's a comment posted in 2005 on Gus Van Horn's blog:


Hurricane Fidel Still Lingers

Hoping for Castro's downfall in this context is hardly minimizing the tragedy of the hurricane strike. The other day, I thought of the hurricane striking Cuba and realized that the damage would still not surpass what Fidel Castro has already done to that island and its people during decades of despotism. What's worse is that in addition -- and in the meantime -- Castro will act to compound the tragedy.

leftside said...

Yaalaliberta, comparing the plight of people rendered homeless because of a vicous storm to those who made a personal decision to move (usually for economic reasons) is more than a little insulting to Cubans suffering in this moment. What thousands of dead are you referring to?? If you are talking about the (couple hundred) murderers executed after the triumph of the Revolution, you have insulted Cubans even more.

And how many thousands of lives has the Revolution saved because of its amazing track record on prioritizing its people in the face of disaster?

leftside said...

And how much damage does the US embargo cause every year? The billion plus of damage every year is probably close to the damage of these hurricaines.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

According to the census of June 1933, the Jewish population of Germany consisted of 505,000 people. Jews represented less than 1 percent of the total German population of 67 million. Approximately 300,000 German Jews managed to escape before the Holocaust. Of the remaining 205,000, 170,000 were killed in the Holocaust. (Source: The Holocaust Encyclopedia).

The Cuban Archive Project has identified and documented 104,000 Cubans killed by Castro (and this number, of course, is always growing).

Hitler killed 170,000 German Jews relative to a total German population of 67 million in 1933 (when he took over). Castro has killed 102,000 Cubans out of a total population of 6.6 million (when he took over in 1959).

Proportionally, Castro has killed 7 times more Cubans than Hitler did German Jews. Even if we relate Castro’s killings to the current Cuban population (11 million), he has still killed 4 times as many Cubans than Hitler killed German Jews.

Moreover, if all the European Jews killed by Hitler (6 million) in all countries to which he extended the Holocaust are taken as a percentage of the total population of Europe, Castro has still killed more Cubans per capita than Hitler killed Jews.

As bad as Hitler? No, worse.

leftside said...

Come on, 100,000 people that Castro has murdered. I would laugh if the accusation was not so serious. If you can give me the name of 1 person who has been unlawfully killed by the Revolution I would be shocked. And don't tell me that everyone who made a decision (spurred by the Cuban Adjustment Act) to set off in a raft was killed by Fidel, or that Batista's henchmen were unlawfully murdered, or that those killed in just wars of liberation in Africa were murdered. Don't insult the Jews like that (many more than 170,000 were killed by Hitler).

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


German Jews. If you have an argument with the 170,000 figure, you may take it up with the authors of the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

As a denier of the Cuban Holocaust yourself, you are not expected to acknowledge the fact that Fidel Castro has not only been the most sanguinary ruler in the history of Cuba but of the whole Western Hemisphere since independence.

Before 1959, there was no death penalty in Cuba. That's why Castro surrendered to Batista after the Moncada attack: he knew that his life was inviolate under the 1940 Cuban Constitution and that he would be protected by the Rule of Law.

Castro's victims never enjoyed such guarantees. That doesn't seem to worry you, however, since you believe that they deserved to be "unlawfully murdered."

You seem to have a great deal of use for murder and very little for the law.