By Muriel J. Smith
(photos Tricia Curtin and Nancy Zockoll)
There are thousands of them, all brightly painted, the sun bouncing off shiny chrome; all with their windows down…pre-air conditioning days, remember…their interiors either plush or vinyl cleverly patched or taped to look good, and who knows what under the hoods to keep them purring, or growling gently as they navigate the streets. The cars presumably date back to the 1950s when they were new, Cuba and the USA were friends, and Cubans enjoyed a middle class status that enabled them to purchase foreign cars. For good reason, most chose American rather than Russian vehicles, though some of them were also available during ‘the special period,’ the time in the 1960s when Russia was the alleged friend of Cuba. The vehicles have been handed down from father to son, and with an embargo prohibiting the import of car parts, have been kept in running condition through ingenuity and a strange conglomeration of makeshift and re-made parts. Cuba is on good terms with Venezuela, so fuel for the vehicles is no problem. Nor do they spend a lot of time or effort on repairing windows that no longer rise or close, given those 90 degree sun-filled days.
But there’s so much more to Havana than cars.admin | Filed under: Cuba, Monmouth County News | Tags: Cuba, Five Days in Cuba, Monmouth County News, Muriel J. Smith, Muriel Smith, Nancy Zockoll, New Jersey, Red Bank Catholic High School, Tricia Curtin, U.S.-Cuba relations | Comments Off on Cuba: It’s more than cars!