Interesting story – a Miami mechanic is the ‘go-to’ man for servicing Russian vehicles on the island of Cuba.
In Cuba, with new vehicles a rarity for most of the population, keeping older car models on the road is a focus for many. And when it comes to keeping those cars on the road, it often means scrounging around for spare parts.
Alongside American made cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s, there are also many Russian made vehicles in Cuba. This is because of the relationship between Cuba and Russia during the Cold War era. For many Cubans, sourcing parts for Russian vehicles can be difficult.
That’s where Miami mechanics Fabian Zakharov comes in – he’s the guy visiting Cubans come to see when they visit Miami and are in need of parts. Cuban Americans with family still in Cuba also visit Zakahrov to acquire parts that they can then send to the island.
Stories like this highlight the difficulty for average Cuban citizens in acquiring what are generally considered basic needs. The embargo of the last 50+ years has prevented the shipping of car parts. However, people traveling to Cuba could take parts back if they could carry them (or get them in their suitcase).
With a ferry to Cuba, like the one CubaKat intends to operate, passengers to Cuba would be able to carry more auto parts (and other goods) than they can currently carry when traveling by charter plane.
Here’s another article from PRI.org – be sure to listen to the audio clip of the story!