In the latest installment of the chronicles of the 2008 hurricane season, Hurricane Paloma struck Cuba, destroying hundreds of homes in the process and compounding the damage and economic losses the island experienced two short months ago after Hurricane Ike. Bloggers from both Cuba and the diaspora were monitoring the storm's progress.
Babalu Blog linked to mainstream media reports that suggested the devastation was not on the scale of Gustav and Ike, but he noted:
It's still early and no doubt that areas along the southern coast of Camaguey and Las Tunas provinces got hammered last night. Let's hope and pray that Cubans won't go through the misery that they've already had to endure the past 2 months.
Fellow diaspora blogger Uncommon Sense echoed his concern:
This has been an especially hard year for Cuba, as Paloma is the third major hurricane to strike the island. Rebuilding after the previous storms, Gustav and Ike, is far from complete, and Paloma will undoubtedly add to the ever-present suffering in Cuba caused by almost 50 years of dictatorship.
In a follow-up post, Uncommon Sense wrote about the Cuban government's “preemptive rejection of any post-Paloma assistance from the United States”, a move that dashed The Cuban's Triangle‘s hopes for aid to get through to the people who most need it:
Cuba similarly rejected U.S. help after hurricanes Gustav and Ike ravaged the island this year, deciding it was better to make a diplomatic/political point against the United States and the embargo than to accept all the help that was offered in response to the tragedies. Perhaps the American government's moral standing was compromised because it refused to lift limits on how much help Cuban Americans could send to family members on the island — the limits are immoral, no matter the weather. But there was never any doubt that the American offers of help to Havana were sincere and somewhat extraordinary.
Maybe the embargo should be debated, especially with a new president soon to take office in the United States. And if the dictatorship releases political prisoners and holds free elections, the embargo should be scrapped.
Circles Robinson said that the island was in the midst of “that strange, eerie time just before a hurricane strikes”:
It’s been one heck of hurricane season. If Hurricane Paloma crosses the island as expected, it will be the third major storm to hit Cuba this year.
Instead of trying to concentrate on the prospects posed by the soon-to-be Obama administration in Washington, Cuba must once again put all its priority on Civil Defense.
In a post that Circles wrote for Havana Times, he noted that “it was dark when Hurricane Paloma struck Cuban soil at 7:27 p.m. on Saturday and the damage being caused by its winds and rain continues on into the wee hours”:
The latest of three major hurricanes hitting Cuba this season was dubbed Paloma (the dove) but entered the island like a fierce hawk on the south coast of Camaguey province near the town of Santa Cruz del Sur.
The hurricane season official ends on November 30th and nobody in Cuba will be sad to say goodbye.
And Generation Y was of the opinion that Paloma only deepened the devastation that was already there:
Today the sarcasm of the name is more cruel. Paloma will flutter down over a wounded Island, sinking its beak into places that still show the wounds left by hurricanes in August and September. It has the bare neck of the vultures, as common as they are absurd, and the blackness of its feathers does not bode well.
As for nature, it is better not to try to understand her. She has both chaos and logic. At the moment she has touched us with her confusion and madness. Paloma will pass, leaving the Island in the same place, the destruction a little deeper and the dreams much farther off.