HAVANA TIMES — Even though the current situation in Guantanamo’s municipalities battered by Hurricane Matthew is still tragic and brings tears to the eyes of anyone who has witnessed the damage firsthand (reality beats any picture no matter how terrible it might seem), Cubans haven’t lost this sense of humor that has always helped them to cope with their misfortunes, which unfortunately have been many.
Although the majority of the country is committed to helping put the four municipalities which were most affected by the hurricane back on their feet, over these last few days, there have been many surprising stories to tell.
Some of them are about the tragic event, about how people have lost everything or about how they just about managed to survive, but others are about rebuilding these municipalities and they even make us chuckle a little.
It was Saturday October 8th, only four days after Matthew had hit, Raul Castro was in Baracoa, walking through some of the city’s neighborhoods and conversing with its people (in videos on national TV, you can see him greeting people there and giving them encouragement).
He gets to Baracoa’s Malecon seawall, where many locals are waiting for him euphorically. There, he talks to the citizens; he urges them to keep on going and to have faith in the Revolution, which he said will never leave anybody unprotected.
From out of the middle of the crowd, an old man stepped forward and said: “Comandante, and with what money will we pay for the building materials?”
Raul ignored him and continued to talk with the rest of the people present.
“Comandante, with what money will we pay for building materials?” repeated the same man, louder this time.
[The Castro government has offered to subsidize 50% of the cost of building materials but many are totally unable to come up with their 50% on salaries averaging around US $20 a month.]
Raul stared at the man, but he didn’t say anything.
However, a hefty guy walked over to the man who had asked the question, took him by the arm and said in a low voice: “So Comandante, eh, I’ll tell you right now how you’re going to pay…”