Cuba and the United States may be on shake-y terms when it comes to immigration and trade embargoes, but when it comes to predicting, analyzing, and decoding Mother Nature, the two countries tirelessly work together to ensure the safety of their citizens.
Every day, meteorologists from the National Prognostic Center of Cuba’s Meteorological Institute gaze over satellite images in order to analyze previous storms or predict where new ones are going to approach land. These early warning systems are critical for maintaining the safety of citizens in both countries, and is one that has not come easily. Since Castro led Cuba has enforced embargoes with the United States, exchanging information was almost impossible. Cuban scientists, however, have huge links that are able to help meteorologists in the United States predict and measure stores that impact our own shores.
Cuba is the first line of defense, typically, when it comes to hurricanes headed towards the Gulf of Mexico. One scientists claims, “When a storm is approaching Cuba, it doesn’t ask for a visa before entering into the United States.” When storms are approaching the area, scientists from both facilities will begin making phone calls to help orchestrate the exchange of information between the two parties.
When you look at Cuba’s history, they have survived numerous category 4 and category 5 storms with relatively low casualties. On average, a person is 15 times more likely to be killed by a hurricane in the United States than they would be residing in Cuba. Half of the buildings in Cuba were damaged during the second largest storm in their history, Hurricane Sandy, but even with the large amount of damage there were still very few incidences of severe injury, and death. With the amount of deteriorated buildings lining Cuban shores, it is no small feat ensuring that their citizens remain safe during these large squalls.
In Los Angeles this week, rookie baseball player Yasiel Puig helped the Dodgers to turn around their season. Meanwhile, in Oakland, Yoenis Cespedes won a Home Run Derby with ease at Citi Field. The Miami Marlins claim one of the world’s best pitchers, young Cuban Jose Fernandez. First baseman Jose Abreu has now left Cuba and is reported to be on his way to a major league team in the United States.
With more and more players leaving Cuba, the governement ahs begun testing experiments with Mexican leagues to determine exactly where the country stands in terms of their seemingly steady stream of talent. Since 1959, during Castro’s revolution, players have been forced to defect from Cuba in order to play in US leagues. This is causing an uproar, however, because as more and more players are leaving Cuban soil, there are less players available for their own country’s teams. This shallow talent pool has become the pride of Cuban sports, but is being diminished by players seeking better careers abroad.
In Cuba, athletes are considered amateurs, even in the highest leagues. Despaigne is believed to be one of the first Cuban stars to have received permission to play in the Mexican leagues and receive a salary while doing it. This coming during the peak of his career is a huge victory. ”This is very important to us,” long time writer Barros said over the phone in an interview.
Puig allegedly signed a $2 million contract that spans over seven years, while Cespedes has a $36 million contract that spans over 4 years. Huge contracts are not unheard of for players leaving Cuba. For instance, a 21 year old outfielder, Jorge Soler, will earn nearly $30 million over nine years. These contracts are being offered to players who were previously living on $20 per month. Whether or not this trend can continue is left up to speculators, but the in-stream of players does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
In a news story out of Miami, FL, a 64 year old swimmer made a complete swim across the passage from Cuba to the Florida Keys. The endurance swimmer completed her swim on Monday afternoon after nearly 53 hours in the ocean. During her escapade, she encountered sharks and jellyfish as well as the squalls and Gulf Stream currents that “wore her down immensely” she stated. This entire journey was made without the assistance of a shark cage, unlike many other divers and swimmers who have attempted this same journey before her.
She had tried this same swim 5 separate times before finally being able to complete it. After four years of intense training, planning and determination, she arrived on the beach and told one of her close friends: “I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.”
The internet was blazing as she neared the end of her swim, with Twitter and Facebook postings talking about her fortitude and mental capacity for being able to finish such a journey. President Barack Obama said “Congratulations to Diana Nyad. Never give up on your dreams.”. Her success was built on many previous failures over the past 4 years, but after each attempt she reworked her plan and attacked the swim with a vengeance.
In her previous attempts she nearly drowned while suffering through an asthma attack. Her team consisted of a cardio pumonologist to help overcome the bout.
In 2011, she used a team of trained shark divers who carried special rods that contained electrified tips. These shark divers would repel the predators to ensure thatMs. Nyad was able to complete her journey. However, during this trip, the sharks didn’t contribute to her downfall but this time it was the weather that was out of her control. “I think that Mother Nature said, ‘You know what? Let her go,” She said.
Past swims were derailed by intermittent weather while this journey only brought her through 1 squall that lasted just under 19 minutes in length. The currents worked in her favor, carrying her towards the Florida Keys much more quickly, and allowing her to maintain her stamina.