The USA began an Embargo of Cuba in 1960 in response to the government nationalizing the oil industry. American companies were not compensated for this rash action. In retaliation, President John Kennedy prevented any US products from being shipped to Cuba. It’s still in effect.
As we know, the Castro regime did not skip a beat with their Communist buddy, the Soviet Union, propping them up. Life went on without us. That meant without our cars and parts to keep them running.
Families who had owned pre-1960 autos continued to drive them. With the passage of time, they needed service and parts – but they could not get them from the USA. Other countries did not honor our embargo, so plenty of Lada’s Hyundai’s Dae Woo and Mercedes filled the streets.
The average Jose could not afford them, so they kept the old cars running. They literally had them moving with bailing wire and duct tape. As parts were needed, they fabricated them.
Decades passed and Father time took its toll on the cars. The Cuban
Decades passed and Father time took its toll on the cars. The Cuban embargo continued. Gradually, the cars became taxi’s, taking people here and theree.
Fast forward to today. With the so-called “Cuban thaw,” brought about by Presidents Raul Castro and Barrack Obama, Americans were once again allowed to visit.
Those cars have a new life. Visitors can hire one for about $30 for a one-hour spin through town. They can also be had for 7 hours for about $250. Fun fun fun.
If the thaw continues, these cars will be snapped up by collectors and the owners will make a bundle.
Put a trip in a 1959 Buick next time you are in Havana. Let us know if you’d like to take a cruise there for free…..I’ve been twice this year. Drop us a comment to learn how.