Saturday, December 13, 2008
When the streets were paved with mob money
I believe this archival photo comes from the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí Havana; please correct me if I’m wrong. The scene is a paving project on La Rampa (The Slope) in Havana’s Vedado district, circa 1955. Although much of Cuba, then, as now, lived in poverty, the flow of cash from sources such as the casinos operated by U.S. crime families paid for smooth streets and the big cars that rode on them.
Across from the ESSO station is the flagship showroom of Ambar Motors, operator of Cuba’s largest chain of General Motors dealerships. Many of the Cadillacs and Buicks still running in Havana today would have come from this showroom. Here is how the same intersection looked recently: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5204839