I was just re-reading Nagin's quotes on Cuba and missed this the first time around:
"I think they do a much better job than we do on knowing their citizens at a very, very detailed level, block by block, " Nagin said.
That's a very funny comment if you understand the context.
I was in Havana shooting a documentary back in 2001. Let me preface this by saying I love the Cuban people...but there's a reason why the government knows every citizen on a very, very detailed level...and here's why:
There are federales who are assigned to every two blocks in Havana. They know every person in their neighborhood and they make sure every person in their neighborhood knows who's boss...routinely.
An example of how well they know them:
I walked out of my hotel, the Ambos Mundos, one night to see a prostitute blowing a policeman in the bushes...and I'm sure that favor was on the house.
So yeah, I guess there are some benefits to being an oppressive, communist society when it comes to disaster response, but then I wouldn't want to be forced to either blow a cop on my street corner or go to jail for 6 months, in non-disaster periods.
Incidentally, I've been trying to upload my short documentary on Cuban Artists but I'm having trouble with Blogger's video system. I'll keep trying.