Sailing and travel tales

Cuba – making do, somehow

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We have not worked out how the food gets transported into central Havanna.

There is a distinct lack of freight trucks about but could be because there is a distinct lack of food stores and if you find one there is only basic stuff in it. This means the roads are relatively quiet and peaceful. There are many 1950,s cars in operation still. The big old American cars. They are an icon of Cuba right now. Mechanics work daily on the street sides maintaining these old cars ingeniously to run yet another day. We stopped and talked to some. Perkins diesil engines have replaced most of the petrol engines in these old cars.There are also old  Russian cars still in use too and there are some new cars on the streets as well –  not many.


There is a terrible lack of buses for the general population but the tourist ones we used are new and were free for us to travel the half hour to and from our marina to Havanna.The local people are not allowed to use them.

Today we were accosted beside our boat by an older Cuban on a bicycle. Please could he have one of the tyres off our bikes which were parked nearby. He showed us a gaping tear in his bike’s tyre. Of course we could not oblige because as Andreas pointed out we would only have three left and we need four for both our bikes to go !

There are no spare bicycle tires to replace damaged ones in Cuba. There is no money to fix anything in Cuba it seems. There is just no money and there is no motivation or inclination in the people to get on with restoring what they have. Nobody takes responsibility for anything and nobody seems to takes pride in a job well done.

The communistic zeal of the revolutionary generation has evaporated. The following generations have been adequately feed, educated and maintained healthwise – on the state –  but the real cost seems to be that many have failed to learn the fundamental that when you grow up, you work, like all free animals do, to put food in your mouth. The Cuban society we saw seems largely unmotivated and unwilling to do more than what is barely needed. It does feel like they are “unravelling” they are “waiting”. We were told that the government is starting to address the situation – rations and cash weekly payments are being reduced for those not working.

But what you do not see is that there is a sound education system in place, everyone until the age of 17 gets free education. There is a good health system in place. Doctors and nurses are in abundance here not lawyers! There are good sanitation systems installed. The main roads are good. There was a good train system but it, like the fishing fleet, also is in need of a lot of maintenance now. So much is good here. Much of the land is good soil. The climate is good for growing. There seems to be plenty of water. There are minerals ores, nickel currently the most mined but copper, manganese , lead, zinc , chromate, cobalt, iron and gold reserves are substantial but in early stages of extraction. Why the Americans swapped Florida for Cuba with the Spanish in earlier times I cannot imagine.

Tourists are hoping that when the time comes that the Cubans will be able to emulate places like The Czech and intelligently change without more revolution and war.

Written by teoranga

January 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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