Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1957: Terrorist bombs blackout Havana

Cuba History Timeline Events
May 28, 1957
M-26-7 urban terrorists detonate an underground bomb that knocks out the city’s electrical power for more than 48 hours, effectively shutting down Havana, even as the terrorists continue car bombing and other terrorist attacks.

In a story dated 28 May, the New York Times reported:

In the Havana terrorism, electricity was cut off by the dynamiting of a gas and electric distribution center. The city’s suburbs were not affected.

A policeman, a woman and daughter and a 78-year-old man were injured.

According to the police, terrorists had rented a house and dug a tunnel under the street to reach the distribution center. Dirt from the tunnel was found in the kitchen of the house.

Most of the morning newspapers were just getting ready to go to press at the time of the explosion and failed to publish.

Telephones throughout the business district in Havana were put out of commission. An official of the telephone company said the emergency plant would be unable to carry the load and that within a few hours possibly all of Havana would be without service.

Big department stores, such as El Encanto and Fin De Siglo, which depend on electric power for air conditioning and lights did not open today.

The Cuban Electric company announced late today that damage was more extensive than first estimated and that possibly forty-eight hours would be required to repair it.

The downtown section of Havana was blacked out tonight as authorities strove to prevent further bombings and sabotage.

Automobile and pedestrian traffic ceased. All cafes, bars, night clubs and motion picture theatres in the section were closed.

Powerful searchlights at the Cabana fortress across the bay from Havana were turned on the city to aid the police in maintaining order.

In the Vedado residential section a bomb exploded at an intersection, damaging two automobiles parked near by and the home of Dr. Andres Morales del Castillo, Secretary to the President.

based on Manuel Márquez-Sterling's Cuba 1952-1959 and
Cuba 1952-1959 Interactive Timeline

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