Raul's a Laughing Stock

Sunday, January 5, 2014
News sites are full of stories poking fun of dictator Raul Castro's latest "reform" allowing Cubans to purchase $263,182 Peugeots.

Of course, just a few weeks ago, some of these same sites were lauding this "reform" -- while choosing to ignore basic economic fundamentals.

Yet, we'd warned that this was simply a monopolistic smoke-screen -- a "ridiculous reform."

And there you have it.

The following story is full of great (thought-provoking) quotes capturing reaction in Havana.

By Fernando Ravsberg in Havana Times:

New Cars in Cuba: The Joke’s on You

In practice access to cars in Cuba is more forbidden than before, only now for the price.

“Who is the last in line to buy a car?” asks a Cuban in front of the Peugeot dealership and everyone else laughs out loud. Today was the first day of unrestricted new car sales but the joy received a bucket of cold water: a car costs between US $90,000 and a quarter of a million dollars.

Things are no better with the used cars being offered.  A Chinese car with several years of use and tens of thousands of miles costs more than $20,000. “I read it on the internet and I came to see for myself because I couldn’t believe it,” said Vicente Gomez, adding “this has to be a joke.”

Trucker Dorian Lopez loudly showed his indignation saying: “The prices are outrageous; it’s just so they can say they are selling cars in Cuba but it’s really disrespectful.”

It’s because “they are really Peugeot-Ferraris,” laughs another looking at the dealership window.

“This is a trap because if I show up with $260,000 to buy a Peugeot, the next day I’ll have the DTI (police) in my house to arrest me,” explains another person who went to the dealer to verify the prices.