Russia war sanctions mean a struggle for Cuban car owners


Apr 15, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


ARTEMISA, Cuba — Francisco Pérez Rodríguez has a auto difficulty — a person that is beginning to be all also typical for several Cubans.

He is been rebuilding the motor of his father-in-law’s Moskvich — one particular of tens of thousands of vehicles and other motor vehicles that poured into Cuba from its Chilly War allies in the Soviet bloc and afterwards Russia above the previous fifty percent century.

To run, it desires a new timing belt. But Pérez Rodríguez claimed that’s one thing only offered these days in Russia. And flights there have been disrupted by Western sanctions imposed soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

World-wide limitations on transportation and trade with Russia pose an especially significant issue for Cubans, whose socialist authorities has lived given that the early 1960s below an embargo imposed by the close by United States. Significantly of the island’s fleets of vans, buses, automobiles and tractors arrived from distant Russia and are now growing old, in need to have of elements.

And significantly like Russian tourists, those sections are no for a longer period arriving.

Transportation in Cuba can be tricky in the greatest of moments. Buses have usually been in limited supply, cargo trucks are often pressed into provider for rural passengers and the streets are loaded with Russian-designed Ladas, Niva SUVs and Jeep-like Uazs.

Even a lot of of the legendary 1950s-vintage American cars and trucks that roll together Havana’s waterfront have been modified more than the yrs to use Russian engines and other elements.

Cuban statistics suggest the island has about 20,000 outdated American cars and 80,000 to 100,000 Ladas.

“For the Ladas, every thing is brought from Russia. Lots of people are heading to be impacted,” stated Pérez Rodríguez, 57, who operates a lathe workshop in Artemisa, just southeast of Havana.

Together with disruption of the critical tourism marketplace and economic transactions with Russia, “the interruption of transportation is going to be a dilemma for Cuba in conditions of spare pieces,” said William LeoGrande, an skilled on Cuba at the American University in Washington, D.C.

“This just would make lifetime even more difficult, even if they find strategies to function all over these sanctions on Russia,” he stated. “It is heading to be a lot more costly it is likely to be far more time consuming, and it is just likely to make their economic condition worse”

Cuba’s economic climate now has been slammed by tightened U.S. sanctions under the Trump administration and by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manuel Taboada, a 26-12 months-aged taxi driver in Outdated Havana, is now apprehensive about his personal Lada.

“Now with the mess of the war, with almost everything that is going on, it will have a huge result mainly because they are unable to journey and they won’t be able to bring points in,” Taboada said. “Honestly, we do not know how we are going to close up due to the fact there are precise elements for this auto.”

The exact scale of the issue is difficult to measure mainly because much of the trade in elements manifest in the informal marketplace — exchanges concerning persons, mentioned Pavel Vidal Alejandro, an economics professor at the Pontifical Javeriana College in Cali, Colombia. “The Cubans have a large amount of restrictions on vacation without having a visa to other international locations, and Russia is just one of the exceptions.”

“Even with the length and the charge that implies in conditions of vacation, it was a sector from which arrived goods” both for the official market and for self-employed Cubans, he stated.

Several discovered it less difficult to get the sections by using trips to Florida, where some sellers specialized in importing Russian automobile components exclusively for individuals travelling to and from Cuba. Now sanctions on dealings with Russian financial institutions and on transport complicate that as perfectly.

“There is additional desire it has risen about 80%,” stated Roberto Hernández, owner of MZ Miami, a shop that sells areas for Ladas as effectively as motorcycles and bicycles.

Basilio Pérez is one of all those in Florida who normally make the trip again to the island to take a look at spouse and children — so generally that he continue to has an aged Moskvich there.

He explained he’d been not able in latest times to find parts he requires to fix the car’s steering system — both in Florida or in Cuba.

“Before, men and women (in Cuba) travelled and could uncover areas. Now there is absolutely nothing,” Pérez mentioned.

Back again in Artemisa, 69-yr-outdated Humberto Santana turned up at Pérez Rodríguez’s workshop hoping to repair a crankshaft for his Russian-manufactured truck. But with that seemingly unattainable, and no substitute areas, he claimed he’d try to obtain a Japanese motor instead and make it fit.

“The Cuban constantly invents,” Santana reported.


Salomon claimed from Miami. AP journalists Milexsy Duran and Andrea Rodríguez contributed from Havana.


Resource connection

By Kelli