[Marxism] Comments on Wilma's side effects

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 25 19:01:33 MDT 2005


(The author of these timely clarifications is a retired
Briton who lives and works in the Central Havana area.
He's a subscriber and occasional poster to CubaNews.)
=======================================================

From: CubaNews at yahoogroups.com 
[mailto:CubaNews at yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of michael walker
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 6:34 PM
To: cubanews at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [CubaNews] Wilma's side effects

First to establish a fact. Hurricane Wilma never
entered Cuba instead it danced a slow pavan first to
the Northwest then to the Northeast bypassing Cuba.
What did the damage here and, in Havana  all along the
Malecon the long curving road that follows the
contours of land's end, was the penetration of the sea
and to an extent and a force not experienced in a long
time. The sea wall was battered by waves of up to 20ft
leaving massive  sections of concrete pushed aside as
if they were nothing but polyystyrene blocks; and the
water stayed because it couldn't escape. Where I live
there was water had reached up to the next block. In
Avenida de Italia(Galiano),near to my house the water
was waist-deep in places because there was a dip in
the road and, worst of all, the electricity was cut
off.

For sound reasons of course, the water penetrating the
cables could have caused a short circuit which would
have caused serious damage to the electrical system
which would have taken more than the two days without
electricity which we've endured, to resolve. For all
we accept intellectually, it's very difficult to
realise how much we depend on electricity until it's
not there and the lesson is hard to endure. Say what
we may about alternative power sources they still have
to be carried from the point of capture to the
consumer. Worse still in this area we rarely suffer
power cuts. The scheduled powerouts you may read about
affecting parts of Havana and other parts of Cuba just
don't occur here. 

Why such special treatment?
Firstly its's a very densely populated area (but not
the most), it has a high concentration of commercial
establishments, shops and offices and a high number of
tourist installations, shops,bars,cafés,
hotels,restaurants and the cables are buried
underground. Fairly impervious to most weather
conditions. 

It's not easy to live in an urban house without
electricty - no light, ventilation, regrigeration,
water(it has to be pumped up from the street), no gas
for cooking (although this time we were spared that
problem) and no entertainment - TV,music, radio,
computer games etc and limited communication (the
phone service remained working but all the ancillary
gadgets stopped) and certainly no Internet connection.
There are of course alternatives. Candles - risk of
fire, kerosene lamps - need good ventilation,
emergency lamps - batteries run out like all battery
powered items - 48 hours is a long time. 

Still it provided an opportunity to revise everything
and try to be better prepared for the next time as
next time there will be. The best part - little,if
any, loss of life but those figures will be provided
in other reports.

One of the most heartening parts of being reconnected,
the rousing cheers from all around the neighbourhood
as the lights flickered on again.

Michael Walker
Havana 
25th October 2005
5pm







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