This is what Barrack Hussein Obama and his handlers, henchmen, and bootlicks want for all of us.
A host of historical forces combined to give Cuba its unique car culture. In the years before Castro took power, Cuba had a fairly strong urban middle class — with a passion for American cars.
But when the Communist Party gained control in 1959, it cut off all US auto imports, leaving Cubans with little choice but to keep their cars running any way they could.
And that’s exactly what Cubans have done. The classic cars you see on the streets of Havana today aren’t charming throwbacks to a bygone age. They are the very same vehicles that traversed the city before the Cuban revolution.
What makes the survival of these classic cars especially remarkable is that thanks to the US embargo, Cubans couldn’t get spare parts.
Beginning in the early 1960s, the United States placed severe restrictions on virtually all economic activity between the two countries. The Cuban government estimates that this embargo costs the island $685 million annually, or about three months salary for every Cuban.
The embargo has kept US auto makers from selling replacement parts to Cuban mechanics, with the result that many of the classic American cars on Cuba’s streets are actually equipped with German or Japanese diesel engines and held together with jerry-rigged parts.
The Communist Party in Cuba has restricted all manner of economic activity, and car purchases are no exception. For years, only the most well-connected Cubans were allowed to buy new cars, and they were largely limited to Soviet imports.
As of 2007 — the most recent data available — only about two of every 100 Cubans owned a car. In the nearby Dominican Republic there were six cars for every 100 people. In the United States, it was 45.
Leaving aside the embargo and the lingering restrictions on the island’s car market, there’s a more basic reason Cubans aren’t purchasing modern cars: They can’t afford to.
Officially, at least, the average salary in Cuba is about $260 per year. That figure may be somewhat low, since it doesn’t include black market dealing nor account for the fact that the state already pays for basic services things like health care. But with annual salaries in the hundreds, rather than the thousands, it’s hard to imagine Cuba could sustain a really thriving market for new cars.
Or much of anything else; for a look at what Left philosophy has done to Cuba, check out Totten’s excellent Old Havana/New Havana travelogue. But while the scumbag Obama enjoys a Cuban baseball game with some terrorist pals while Europe is being blown up by more of his terrorist pals, somebody might want to point out this truly heartrending story to him:
It was 1999. I was 16 years old, playing for the Cuban National Team. We had a qualifying game for the Pan-American Games in Venezuela, where my friend was living. I don’t even want to say his name, because he still has family in Cuba. When we arrived at the hotel, he came to see me and we had a regular chat, laughing and catching up.
Then when nobody else was around, he whispered to me, “Peña, if you want to leave Cuba, this is your chance. I’m willing to help you. I can get you to Costa Rica. But you have to be sure. There’s no turning back.”
It was my dream to play in the big leagues, but it wasn’t like I was some big star and had an MLB team waiting to sign me to a million dollar contract. I was just a chubby 16-year-old catcher from Havana who was a pretty decent ballplayer. If I got caught trying to defect, the consequences would be devastating. Not just for me, but for my whole family. I told him I had to think about it.
“Okay, but we don’t have much time,” he said. “Tomorrow morning I’m going to come to the hotel and bring you some batting gloves. I’ll have a red pair and a green pair. You choose which ones you want. Green means you really want to do it. Red means we forget all about it.”
This was all that was said. We couldn’t speak any more about it, because we were always being watched by officials from the team when we traveled to international tournaments. We couldn’t even go to the bathroom alone. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about calling my mother and father. I thought about talking to my teammates. But I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble, so I said nothing to anyone. That night, I didn’t sleep. I stared at the ceiling and thought about what life could be like in America as a big leaguer. But then I thought about life with my family in Cuba — my grandma, my grandpa, my home.
At seven the next morning, our team went down to the lobby for breakfast and there was my friend, handing out batting gloves. He walked up to me, completely calm.
“Hey Peña, which color do you want?”
At that moment, my heart was beating out of my chest.
He tossed them to me. I went to my room and thought…Green. What now?
“What now” turned out to be a daring escape from the impoverished socialist hellhole (sorry for the redundancy) that Obama is now feting and celebrating and holding up as a shining example of what the whole world could be if only we’d all accept his superior wisdom and let him get on with the Fundamental Transformation. My statement from the other day that somebody ought to find a way to make him stay there for good was only half joking–if only because of how perfect it would be to see his scrawny ass bolting through a bathroom window to escape his precious Workers’ Paradise. More on life in Obamaworld:
I used to share a mask with five or six other catchers. The chest protector we shared was probably from 1959. But the biggest problem was that I only had one pair of shoes that were so old and beat up that my toe would poke out the front.
Then one day, a friend showed up with a pair of baseball cleats that he got a hold of somehow. They looked a little bit funny, though.
“Hey Peña, they’re your size,” he said. “But there’s only one problem, bro. They’re both left shoes.”
It was like Christmas for me. I didn’t care. Give me the two left shoes. At least I have real baseball cleats. I thought I was so cool, man. I wore these things everywhere so I could get used to it. I played a whole year in two left shoes. Whatever, I was never that fast anyway.
My family thought this was the funniest thing ever. But you know what? I didn’t care how I looked. It protected my foot behind home plate. I was going to do whatever it took to get my opportunity to play baseball at the highest level I could.
And so he did, thanks to his drive, courage, and indomitable will. Even the Castros, Stalins, and Obamas of the world can’t crush spirit like that, try as they might. It should never, ever be forgotten that when socialists get their way, the above is what results EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And then hardy souls like Peña have to start looking around for windows.
Update! Another heart-wrenching story Obama won’t give a tinker’s damn about.
The ocean between our countries is filled with the Cuban bodies that tell the story, lives literally thrown to the wind in desperation, hoping to reach America’s possibility-soaked shores on boats made of old tires and wood and poverty’s debris. No free press. No elections. No freedom. That’s the Cuba that still surrounds the baseball diamond where we play this game. That’s the Cuba people still get on makeshift boats to flee today.
Read it all. Or, if you’re Obama or any other spoiled-brat America-hating neo-Marxist, get busy finding a way to renounce it, deny it, or claim it irrelevant.