As reported in a prior post, Hurricane Ian on September 27 stroke the western portion of the island of Cuba, and by the next day the entire island’s electricity was out.
Cuba Requests U.S. Aid for Restoring Electricity
According to the Wall Street Journal on September 30 the Cuban government requested the U.S. government to provide emergency aid for responding to the damages caused on the island by Hurricane Ian. No exact amount of aid was specified, and a State Department spokesman reportedly told the Journal that it continues to communicate with the Cuban government regarding the humanitarian and environmental consequences of this hurricane and last August’s fire at the oil storage depot in Matanzas. That spokesman said, “We are evaluating ways in which we can continue to support the Cuban people, consistent with U.S. laws and regulations.”
On October 2, the Cuban Foreign Ministry on its Twitter account stated, “The Governments of Cuba and the United States have exchanged information on the considerable damage and unfortunate losses caused by Hurricane Ian in both countries.” But there was no mention of any Cuban request for assistance or any U.S. responses.
Complicating the U.S. providing any aid to Cuba for hurricane-damages is the need for the U.S. to address the immense Hurricane Ian damages in Florida, the Carolinas and Puerto Rico.
“If Cuba asks for humanitarian aid and the U.S. gives it to them, that would be a real breakthrough,” says William LeoGrande, an expert on Cuba at American University in Washington.
Cuban Protests Lack of Electricity
In the meantime, many Cubans have gone to the streets in Havana, Matanzas, Cardenas and Holguin to protest continued lack of electricity and to demand the government restore electricity and provide aid to areas ravaged by the hurricane. For the most part, these protests were calm. The police did not interfere. There were no arrests. Instead, the government sent officials and Communist Party members to talk with the protesters. And the government appeared to cut off the Internet and telecommunications networks across the country, possible to prevent news of the demonstrations from spreading and encouraging others to join.
However, there have been reports of police detention of some of these protesters.
Ted Henken, a Cuba expert and a professor at the City University of New York, said after last summer’s protests “people are out again because the government has been unable to address the root causes of the protests. The frustration has bled into the general population because it’s a scarcity of food, electricity, the basics. That has only been exacerbated by this horrible hurricane.”
If any reader has knowledge of the substance of any Cuba-U.S. communications on this subject, please provide a comment with that information to this post.
 Salama & Cordoba, Cuba Makes Rare Request for U.S. Aid After Devastation From Hurricane Ian, W.S.J. (Sept. 30 & Oct. 1, 2022).; Cuba and the US maintain exchanges on the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, Granma (Oct. 2, 2022).
 Acosta & Lopez, Cuba’s power grid fails in wake of Hurricane Ian, leaving island without electricity, N.Y. Times (Sept. 27, 2022); Martinez, Cuba slowly starts restoring power after the entire island was blacked out, N.Y. Times (Sept. 28, 2022); Brown & Herrero, Cuba suffers total electrical outage as Hurricane Ian roars through, W.S.J. (Sept. 27 & 28, 2020); Acosta& Abi-Habib, Protests Erupt in Cuba Over Government Response to Hurricane Ian, N.Y. Times (Sept. 30, 2022); Cubans Protest Over Power Outage Caused by Hurricane Ian, N.Y. Times (Sept. 30, 2022); Cubans protest over power outages four days after Hurricane Ian, Guardian (Oct. 2, 2022); The Cuban regime accelerates its repressive machinery against the protests: disappearances, detainees and episodes of brutality, diario de cuba (Oct. 2, 2022);.