Cuba is known for three things : cigars, rum and classic cars . How does Cuba have these beautiful cars, even some 1950s models that you can’t find anywhere in the world? Here is some background explaining why, for all the history buffs out there:
The simple version of the story goes like this: Cuba was once ruled by a dictator named Fulgencio Batista. Many considered Batista to be nothing but an American stooge who catered only to rich Americans while the local people were getting poorer and suffering. Fed up with the corruption, the people of Cuba, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, rose up and revolted against the dictator. In a historic event, the dictator was driven out of the country and the revolutionaries succeeded.
Cuba, which had been the playground of rich Americans soon turned into a communist regime as it grew closer to the USSR. In the time of The Cold War, the strengthening ties between Cuba and Soviet Union threatened the US. In the 1960s, the US found that Cuba was providing a military base for the Soviet Union. To punish Cuba, the US imposed a trade embargo. Cuba reciprocated by imposing a ban on imported goods such as cars from the US. Importing cars from other countries, which are geographically farther away, was very expensive. Therefore, no new cars entered Cuba from 1960 on-ward. When the cars broke down, the people who owned these cars patched them up with local parts.
In 2013, Cuba finally lifted the ban on car imports paving the way for new cars to enter the country. However, these patched up classic cars have now taken on a life of their own. They have turned Cuba into a living classic car museum!
Now that you know the history, feast your eyes on these classic beauties!
Going to Cuba? Check out my blog post Old Havana.
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