The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 21:13:02 -0400
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: Castro: Gustav hit Cuba like nuclear bomb

Castro says Gustav hit Cuba like nuclear bomb

Reuters - September 3, 2008

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro
said on Wednesday that Hurricane Gustav hit Cuba like a
nuclear bomb and left authorities struggling to feed
people on the hard-hit Isle of Youth.

In a column on the Internet, he said Gustav, which
slammed into western Cuba with winds of 150 mile per
hour (240 kilometers per hour) on Saturday, had damaged
or destroyed 100,000 houses and dealt a blow to

He said television shots from the Isle of Youth, which
is 40 miles off Cuba's southwestern coast "reminded me
of the desolation I saw when I visited Hiroshima,"
referring to the Japanese city destroyed by a U.S.
nuclear bomb in 1945 at the end of World War Two.

"Now the battle is to feed the hurricane victims,"
Castro wrote, saying that only two of 16 bakeries on
the island were functioning.

The ailing 82-year-old, who has become a prolific
column writer since giving up power to brother Raul
Castro following undisclosed surgery two years ago,
printed a letter from a friend from the Isle of Youth
who said authorities estimated that 20,000 of the
25,000 houses on the island had been damaged.

On Tuesday, state-run news agency AIN said in a story
quoting Cuba Vice President Carlos Lage that more than
90,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed in the
mainland province of Pinar del Rio, which Gustav struck
after raking over the Isle of Youth.

Pinar del Rio has about 750,000 residents and the Isle
of Youth about 86,000.

No deaths from the storm have been reported.

Castro warned that recovering from Gustav would require
sacrifice on the part of Cubans and that the cost would
be high.

"A hundred million dollars means only nine dollars per
resident, and we need much more. We need 30 times, 40
times that number only to cover our most elemental
necessities," he said.

"Such effort must come from the work of the people.
Nobody can do it for us."

Russia, which has been renewing ties with Cuba, its
former Cold War ally, said it would send four planes
loads of food and other items to the island starting on
Wednesday, according to Russian news reports.

After crossing Cuba, Gustav moved into the Gulf of
Mexico where its winds weakened to 110 mph (177 kph)
and struck the central Louisiana coast on Monday.

(Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Philip Barbara)


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