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My name is Carlos Rojas, I’m a Cuban living in Montevideo, Uruguay. Around 8:20 pm on January 27th, on a rainy night, a tornado with an 11km radius struck Havana, Cuba. In 16 minutes the 300km per hour wind beast left 4 people dead, over 170 injured, hundreds of houses destroyed, thousands without homes and a third of the city with no electricity, it looks like a war zone.

The lives of thousands of Cubans changed overnight with no previous warning.

I woke up the next day (January 28th) watching an endless stream of pictures showing cars upside-down, fallen buildings, sad faces, debris everywhere… I had to do something, but I’m thousands of miles away!

My first thought was to create a GoFundMe project, however, I don’t like the idea of just asking for money, even if the cause is good. Also, there is always the shadow of the blockade against Cuba and its repercussions. I’d rather give something in return, maybe sell something. And that’s when the idea of creating an e-commerce site was born:


cuba solidarity with Carlos


I contacted a couple of Cuban friends who are designers and they liked the idea of donating some of their creations to be sold on the website and use the profits to help the families in Havana. A few minutes later the first version of the Yo Tiré Un Cabo site has been built and I was sending an invitation email to other designers to collaborate on this project.

“Tirar un cabo” is an expression used regularly by Cubans and roughly translates as “To give a hand” or simply to “To help”. The name of the site is that expression in past tense: “I gave a hand” or “I helped”. And it’s in the present tense for all the products as a badge to show with pride. Every person who buys (or donates) through is directly helping the victims of the tornado.

After a few hours, we were now a small group of young Cubans sharing ideas, contacts, advice and doing our best to raise money for those in need. Then 48 hours later two families had already received help directly from us and one week later over 100 products had been published on the website thanks to the generosity of the Cuban designers who keep sending us their designs. More help is on its way to Havana!

The donated funds and the profits of selling the articles through the page is directly transferred to one of our team members in Havana who is collaborating with other groups and helping directly in the field.


But the good news doesn’t stop there! Yo Tiré Un Cabo is not alone, there are several groups inside and outside the island gathering donations, raising money, launching crowdfunding campaigns, etc.

We need your help and are asking for it now

Buy a t-shirt in and help the victims of the tornado in Havana.
Donate directly in
Share our Facebook page
Follow us on Instagram
Contact us at
Get in touch with any of the other groups and ask them how you can help.

Thanks to all the designers who are donating their work and time

Thanks to Annick from Geo-gráficas for joining from the very beginning. Thanks to Sergio for the constant support. Thanks to Tinti for donating the first design. Thanks to Yemil for his indispensable work. Thanks to WPML , especially Amir and Laura for their instant help. Thanks to all of the people who donated and/or bought the t-shirts -and other articles- from the site. Thanks to the other groups inside and outside Cuba.

And especially, thanks to the victims of the disaster for staying strong and helping each other.

If all of our efforts result in at least one person being helped, then we have done things in the right way.

Here are some articles from news companies about the tornado:


– Carlos –

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