File this under “Scams,” disaster relief folder, number 43,974,734,291
How nice it would be if this aid went directly to the people who need it. But those of us who have lived in Castrolandia know all too well where most or all of this money will go: into the coffers of the Castro dynasty and the pockets of corrupt officials. Nothing in that benighted kingdom functions without corruption and a Darwinian scramble for the crumbs that fly in with the tourists.
We who once lived there or still have family on the island know that the national ethic is that of "everyone for himself and God against all." There is no lying, no stealing, no cheating, simply because all of those verbs have been replaced with "resolver" -- "solving my problem" -- an ethic in which compassion and honesty mark you as a loser. Those who run Cuba Education Tours probably know this, too, but their publicity stunt -- a mere $10,000 -- is worth ten times that sum in free advertising here in North America.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Cuba Education Tours Donates $10,000 to Cuba for Hurricane Sandy Relief, Challenges Other Cuba Tour Operators to Do Same
Cuba Education Tours, North America’s premier cultural and educational tour operator has donated $10,000 to assist rebuilding efforts in towns and cities in eastern Cuba. The company appeals to its travel industry colleagues to match or exceed its donation, and urges individuals to help within their means.
Blaine, WA (PRWEB) November 02, 2012
Cuba Education Tours, North America's premier cultural and educational tour operator has donated $10,000 to assist rebuilding efforts in towns and cities in eastern Cuba. The company appeals to its travel industry colleagues to match or exceed its donation, and urges individuals to help within their means.
Sandy, a category 2 hurricane, hit southeastern Cuba on the morning of October 25 with category 5 impacts. The result was catastrophic damage to housing, economic activity, and education and health facilities according to Cuba government and private sources. Roof collapses, toppling trees and wind-blown debris killed eleven people, including a 4-month-old boy.
More than 180,000 homes were damaged by hurricane Sandy, 43,426 lost roofs and 15,400 were wiped out. Thousands remain without shelter; a historically unheard of condition in Cuba. Power, water, gas and communications continue to be irregular over large sections of eastern Cuba.
Islanders are urged to boil drinking water to prevent water borne disease, but this is difficult because of loss of infrastructure and domestic appliances and services. Local authorities are distributing chlorine to sterilize water and have prioritized electrical service for strategic use by hospitals, schools and bakeries.
President Castro said Cuba's second largest city, Santiago, looked like it had been bombed.
"It will take years to recover from this calamity," says Santiago resident Román Fernandez González. "My family house survived with moderate damage, but many of my neighbors lost everything."
Anayansi Himely, a Havana television production coordinator told us, "A lot of my friends in the eastern provinces not only lost their homes, but their shops, workplaces, crops and farm animals – their livelihoods. Their future is bleak. The government is doing everything possible to provide emergency aid, but its resources are limited because the U.S. embargo of the island blocks entry of construction supplies and confiscates funds to the island transacted in U.S. dollars."
For more propaganda-filled reporting and free advertising for Cuba Education Tours, continue reading here.