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October 2012
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Seven Proposals After Hurricane Sandy

Seven Proposals After Hurricane Sandy / Yoani Sanchez

Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

Thursday morning will never be forgotten by thousands of people in

Eastern Cuba. The wind, flying roofs, heavy rains and trees falling on

streets and houses, will remain as permanent memories of Hurricane

Sandy. Nor will they be able to get out of their heads that first night

after the disaster in which, from their battered beds or rickety sofas,

they found nothing separating their faces from the starry night sky.

Some people lost everything, which was not much. People from whom the

gale took the modest possessions they'd accumulated over their whole

lives. A human drama extended over this area already affected beforehand

by material shortages, constant migration westward, and the outbreaks of

diseases like dengue fever and cholera. For the victims it rains and it

pours, literally and metaphorically. Nature intensifies the economic

collapse and social problems of this region of the country. So these are

the times to redouble our solidarity, to roll up our sleeves and help

them rebuild their homes, to divide the piece of bread, and to go all

out to contribute to those unlucky Cubans that Sandy left behind.

I think we all know what we can give and do, but I still dare to venture

some proposals directed at the Cuban authorities. The decisions they

make in the coming days will be crucial to shortening and mitigating the

tragedy. I hope they put aside ideological differences and open their

ears to the public that wants to contribute to the recovery of our

country. Solidarity should not be an institutional monopoly, it never

has been, and from this conviction arise proposals to make it more

effective, such as the following:

Eliminate the custom duties for entry into the country of food,

medicines, appliances and building materials.

Ensure that the public is organized to collect, transport and

deliver clothes, medicines and other resources to the affected areas.

Encourage and authorize the collection of funds and resources from

Cuban immigrants to bring to the island, both on a personal level as

well as a group or institutional level.

Ask for an assessment by and cooperation from international

organizations that provide aid, loans and advice to overcome this disaster.

In the worst hit provinces make the procedures more flexible for

obtaining construction permits, and also for the delivery of land in


Enact a moratorium on the collection of taxes from the

self-employed in the regions where Sandy destroyed important parts of

the economic and agricultural infrastructure.

Renounce the institutional monopoly on the distribution of support,

encouraging and respecting the existence of citizen channels to

distribute aid.

26 October 2012 Tags: dengue, food, medicines, transport

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