Cuba: Theft Under the Cover of Hurricane Irma

September 12, 2017 | Print Print |

Photo Feature by Elio Delgado Valdes

Private cafes also took a beating from Hurricane Irma and thieves took advantage as well. Will they get some help from the government?

HAVANA TIMES – Today, three days after Hurricane Irma, we walked along Calle 1ra, in the Havana municipality of Plaza. It was impressive to hear the stories of the owner of one of the private restaurants located in this area.

The entrepreneur’s business was vandalized to the extreme that his air conditioners were dismantled by people who took advantage of the disaster caused by the bad weather and sea surge.

An Italian tourist testified that he had spoken to the thieves who posed as owners, removing the equipment supposedly to protect them.

One of the workers who could not get to the place because of the flooded streets, told a police officer that they were stealing and the answer was that he was not there to take care of private property. The order was not to let anyone pass, period.

The employee tells us that it is sad that they rob you, but sadder it is to see it and to notify it and that the police do not stop them.

So far the government of Raul Castro has said that his government’s goal is to restore state tourist facilities before the winter high season. They have not said if there will be any financial help for small private businesses.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery


What's your opinion?

  • Gerard Matthews

    Not much different than what we have seen on TV taking place in the U.S.A. The Cuban Government whilst realising that Tourism is so very precious to the Cuban Economy, but surely their first priority is to assist the Cuban people in restoring their property. Tourists will return to Cuba because it is a beautiful country with (Mostly) beautiful and honest and generous people. Come on Mr Castro put your Cuban people first please!

  • Clive Turner

    I agree with Gerard, people first. Anyone know if power has been restored to the city of Matanzas? I would like to help a family in Matanzas, but I do not know how.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      My wife says (e-mail) that she expects the power system to be down for several days. Obviously, heat is a problem – and no refrigerators.

      • Clive Turner

        Yes , I heard the same thing. People are charging their phones at the hospitals. Heat is a huge problem, especially for young children.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Yes Clive, the very heavy rainfall has exacerbated the usual high humidity level at this time of year. The children cannot get a drink of cold water. Because of the risk of drinking from the tap, many folks in Cuba boil their drinking water, then filter and chill it. To boil it now, requires bottled gas and there is no means of chilling it. Fresh pork is likely to be the sole form of meat as there will be no imported frozen chicken and many of the fruit and vegetable supplies will be savagely curtailed by the storm damage coupled with distribution problems.
          The normal daily challenge faced by Cubans of ‘resolver’ is even greater.

  • Ryan Ross

    Yes, of course the Cuban people should be the highest priority, first and foremost. The conundrum is that tourist dollars provide a good portion of the financial support for the Cuban people.

  • Eden Wong

    Unfortunately nothing unique here whatsoever….