Democracies are less likely to go to war with each other (conventional political theory these days informs us), but what we're missing is a theory about how dictatorships are better able to cope with natural disasters.
That seems to be the case with Cuba. This Los Angeles Times editorial (Michael Kinsley?) says Cuba has an "impressive" record on disaster prevention, and that perhaps other Caribbean countries can learn some lessons from its experience.
It's hard to figure out just how other countries might emulate the social controls of Cuba, however, unless they're proposing a John Ashcroft-type authoritarian figure be put in charge of emergencies.