Hurricane Fidel

Back in September the UN called Cuba “A model of hurricane preparation.”

The head of the UN body that focuses on disaster reduction said Cuba is a model for other countries in the management of hurricane risks, according to UN News Center.

Salvano Briceno, director of the International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction, said Cubans are taught in schools, universities and workplaces how to prepare for hurricanes and how to cope with them if they hit the country.

Some 1.3 million Cuban people were evacuated from their homes in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ivan. Television and radio stations are used to transmit information to the public and all institutions are mobilized 48 hours in advance of the expected arrival of a serious storm, the official praised.

Mr. Briceno said there is also the strong Cuban political desire to minimize the impact of hurricanes on the local population – something that is missing in some other nations.

So, if Castro’s government is such an example of hurricane preparedness, why won’t he allow reporters to enter hurricane shelters and speak with hurricane victims?

PINAR DEL R?O, October 5 (Rafael Ferro Salas, UPECI / – Journalists from several foreign news agencies duly accredited in Cuba were denied clearance to report on the victims of hurricane Ivan in Pinar del R?o province. According to the report, the government posted political police agents around the shelters in which some hurricane victims have been taken in.

At no time were members of the foreign press corps allowed into the shelters, much less to talk to the victims of the hurricane, who were resident of the fishing village of La Coloma, on the south coast of the province.