Communist elevators - Cuba related

This qualifies as mundane and pointless unless you have a personal connection to the story.

Juventud Rebelde, one of Cuba’s biggest newspapers just published an article on the state of elevators in Havana. The whole thing, in Spanish, is here. But here are some highlights:

  • Havana has 562 elevators in residential buildings
  • Since 1959 only 9 of the residential elevators have been substituted
  • Since 1973 replacement parts have not been available, not even for soviet made elevators, the main problem seems to be financial.
  • The government agency in charge of residential elevators just allocated 4.4 million dollars for repairs to 83 elevators, 81 of them in Havana - that will leave only 481 not working
  • One problem in the horizon seems to be that new elevators have more electronic parts, which will not do well unless the buildings are air conditioned, which none of them are.

The article also has interviews with some residents of Havana, some that have lived in the 23rd floor since 1993, and have never had a working elevator. Not even during moving day. That means 23 floors up and down, every single day since 1993.

Another a 70 year old who lives in a 25th floor, and also has to climb up and down the stairs daily. During the climbs he gets dizzy and suffers from tremors in his extremities. I would too.

Three elderly residents have not been able to leave their appartment in 15 years, because their elevator has been broken since then.

All this in the capital of Cuba. Where tourist hotels, restaurants and clubs are all spruced up and freshly painted, and all have working elevators (most of the time), and in a society that supposedly protects the weakest of its citizens.

For those who would blame the US embargo, it is not mentioned once in the article. This is just the way things work in communist Cuba.

Conclusion: Cubans have strong legs! :slight_smile:

(Bicycling everywhere, for lack of other options, helps too.)

This comment doesn’t make any sense- the US embargo is vitally important any time you discuss any aspect of Cuba. If we hadn’t cut them off financially, Cuba would probably be relatively rich and prosperous just by virtue of spillover from the US. If America had commerce with Cuba, many more of these elevators might be working. The government just allocated a bunch of money to help alleviate the problem- what more do you want? That government’s pretty cash-strapped as it is, and while I don’t agree with many of Fidel Castro’s decisions, he doesn’t show the same kind of abuse of power and conspicuous excess that lots of small-time dictators do. It’s not realistic to expect that everything runs well in a third world country.

In terms of general prosperity, yes. But bear in mind, most countries don’t have an embargo on Cuba; so the embargo, by itself, would not prevent them from acquiring spare parts for their elevators.

You’re joking right? Fidel does not show abuse of power? Let’s see, absolute control over the media. Absolute control over civic institutions. Absolute control over courts and legislative body. Absolute control over education. Political dissent is punished with prison or execution. Dissenters in government are exiled or sent to prison. What more would it take for you to consider him really, really bad? Perhaps a forked tail and horns?

I don’t get what this has to do with Communist Elevators.

I lived in China for sometime and they, while Communist, had ample elevators.


Interesting, maybe I can get data for the Little China area in Havana (yes there is one, it is called Barrio Chino), and we can compare statistics. It might be that Maoist communism is more efficient than the Cuban version.

I’m not sure which smiley face belongs here…

I am sure he has an agenda, but P.J. O’Rourke, in Eat the Rich, has two figures about Cuba that I think I’m recalling correctly, which are pertinent to your assertion:

  1. Cuba’s own estimate of lost wealth due to the US embargo (IIRC, from conception of the Communist state until the fall of the Soviet Union): $65 billion.
  2. The Soviet Union’s declaration of capital aid to Cuba over the same period: $68 billion.

You do the math.