Hurricane Sandy: Observatorio Crítico launches independent relief effort in Cuba

Hurricane Sandy: Observatorio Crítico launches independent relief effort in Cuba

Translation of appeal for donations from Observatorio Crítico de Cuba, the independent Marxist grouping based in Cuba

Solidarity in the face of catastrophe: let’s put the network to work!

Hurricane Sandy forcefully punished Cuba’s east coast on 25 October, leaving 11 deaths, a desolate landscape and 3 million affected victims. The superstorm has created a complicated humanitarian situation in the eastern provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo.

So far around 200,000 households have reported damage, of which 15,392 houses have completely collapsed and another 36,544 have partially caved in. There have also been huge losses throughout the agricultural sector, outages of power, phone lines and communications, and widespread disruption to education, health, sport, business and other basic services. All of this equates to over $2 billion lost.

Despite the triumphalism of the local media, the damage cannot be rapidly reversed, precisely because the level of construction [that would be] necessary has been beyond our depressed economy for years. There are still homeless families from the storms of 2008.

Convinced that our network cannot be [allowed to be] a pipe dream, nor a mere “intellectual construction”, we would like to announce our decision to [not only] be there in person [but also to] share our efforts and spirits with those who right now are living through very difficult times. A small committee of the OC is going to go and be part of the relief, far from the normal welfare [channels].

Although the situation is overcoming us, we’ve decided to gather as much as we can, and therefore we’re calling on everyone – be they an individual or a group, on or off the island – to cooperate with us.
We will be receiving donations of all sorts of materials (medicines, clothes, underwear, non-perishable foodstuffs, tools, domestic utensils, etc), as well as those who are prepared to come here, and money – to be handed over to the victims in cash or spent on materials or tools that are lacking in the Oriente (east).

To this end, people can communicate with us directly via the following telephone number: (+53) 8302533 (ask for Hibert) or this email: (with “HUMANITARIO” in the subject line).

We must also bear in mind the complexity of the situation, and that people’s needs will change with time and the progress of the relief effort.

Havana, 9th November, 2012