Sunday, April 5, 2009

And sometimes, their money's no good there


The Castro government wasted little time in abolishing private ownership of vehicles. Pre-1960 cars and trucks remained the property of their owners (and, with the proper permit, could be sold to other Cubans). But the Soviet vehicles that replaced the American imports were the property of the state, to be handed out to individuals based on their demonstrations of revolutionary zeal.
“An outstanding worker, with thousands of volunteer hours or a mission as a soldier to Angola or Ethiopia, might consider himself lucky if he was allowed to acquire a Moskovich or a Lada,” writes Yoani Sanchez in her famous Generation Y blog.
“Professionals of the highest rank would compete in the universities and study centers for the small allocations of automobiles.”
Many of those cars remain in service for their recipients and their descendants, still “non-transferable and easily confiscated.”
Cubans can buy the Peugeots and Daihatsus that are the imports of the post-Soviet era – if they have somehow have the cash and, tougher yet, can prove the money was accumulated in keeping with socialist precepts (black marketeers need not apply). The process can take years.
And now there is a further roadblock, Sanchez reports. Yes, it involves paperwork.

2 comments:

extraordinary machine said...

What a wonderful blog. I travelled to Cuba to study percussion for a few weeks a couple years back, and I'm fairly positive I left my heart there. Between the music & the people (but definitely not the food!), I never wanted to leave & think about escaping back often.

Although I've never considered myself a Cuban car aficionado (and probably never will), it's refreshing to read a blog where the author obviously cares so much about the subject and some of those pictures really do take me back to Spring 2006. Now if only they could take me back and I could stay there.

Caristas said...

Yes, Cuba sure resonates, EM, especially for someone who has been there to study percussion! You'll get there again. Many thanks for your kind words.