Saturday, August 19, 2006

Housing Shortage in Cuba

El Nuevo Herald published today an article on Cuba not meeting their housing goals. The article is in Spanish, and I couldn't find it in English, so I'll cover some of the basics:

Cuba will not meet its new housing goals this year due to the ups and downs of petroleum prices, official sources said.
Hmmm. I thought they got free, I'm sorry, discounted oil from Venezuela. And what about all that cement they donated, excuse me, sold to Jamaica..that wouldn't have anything to do with it, now would it?
He added, that for 2006, 72,094 houses would be built with "the efforts of the people" and 42,524 with joint efforts from the State and the families.
But, I thought everyone in Cuba had a roof over their heads provided by the Revolution; I had no clue they had to BUILD IT THEMSELVES. If the people are supposed to build their own houses how does this relate to the price of oil or not affecting the Battle of Ideas Works such as hospitals and schools?
Rene Lozano, Director of Housing, pointed to two delaying factors in meeting the housing goal: (1) the price of oil and (2) "the importance of not affecting the efforts of the Battle of Ideas (hospitals, schools and other institutions with social and economic repercussions)."
Interesting, hospitals and schools first, who cares if people have a place to live as long as they are getting indoctrinated at the places of the Battle of Ideas. Huh?

The article then details how the hurricanes during the past four years have damaged more than 500,000 houses and destroyed more thatn 70,000 - goes to show how no one is taking care of the country's infrastructure - and even the Cuban government agrees stating that 52.5% of the constructions on the island are in bad shape.

But surely everyone in Cuba has a house, after all isn't one of the pillars of the revolution equal rights, housing, education and healthcare for all?
Housing is one of Cuba's biggest structural problems. Official estimate a deficit of more 500,000 houses.
That's houses; people without them when you consider families are even a bigger number. If you calculate a family of two per each non-existent house that's about 10% of the population that's homeless in a country that boasts of not having a poor and/or homeless class. But why are all these people without homes? Surely they are a priority for the government! Well not exactly.
"We've had to give priority to those who were left homeless due to a hurricane."
What? So if I've been 5, 7, 10 years without a home I still have to wait until someone that already had a home gets a new one? What happened to equal right and no poor class? I thought the revolution did not prioritize, I thought everyone was equal. Hey at least it wasn't blamed on the embargo.

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