Across the puddle in
When Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul last summer and crowds in Miami-Dade hit the streets in celebration, one group of people hit the phones.
The Cuban leader was ill, and because he disappeared from public view, some people thought he was dead. Members of a humanitarian task force coordinating a local response kept in touch by phone and waited for a "trigger point," such as the activation of Miami-Dade's
, to launch their efforts. Emergency Operations Center
That never happened, and things returned to normal after photos and video footage showed Castro was still alive.
But the response in
South Floridapointed to progress.
"If this had happened five years ago, there was no mechanism for all these entities to be in the loop with each other," said Eric Driggs, executive director of the South Florida Humanitarian Network for
, a group of community organizations, universities and government agencies. Cuba
Led by the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys and the
's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, the network is preparing for a major event in Universityof Miami that could set off a mass migration to Cuba South Floridaor affect the region in some other way.
Although organizers say they do not know what those events will be, Fidel Castro's recent illness and speculation by
officials that his condition is terminal mean the network could soon be put into action. U.S.
"What happens [in
] is so important to people here in Cuba South Florida. We just need to be prepared for whatever may happen," said Sam Tidwell, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys.
Local, state and federal government agencies have long had plans in case turmoil in
spills over to the Cuba . The South Florida Humanitarian Network is prepared to provide services to refugees, organize the collection of donations, provide family reunification services and disseminate information to the community. United States
In its "Recommendations for Community Preparedness," released in May, the network outlined possible scenarios and its role in calming any chaos.
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Missing from all the scenarios in the article, was any organization to guide us Exiles to properly celebrate when the day comes. I’ve done some research on Cuban celebratory practices and have not found the guidelines for banging on pots. I believe that back in July when people started celebrating Fidel’s ceding of power, some Cubans in