CUBA – Spare parts for the ancient cars of the priests in the diocese of Holguin
The ancient “classic cars” that are so typical of the towns and cities of Cuba are a great attraction for tourists, who love to photograph them. For the people of the country itself, however, the situation is not so rosy. The trade embargo, imposed after the Cuban revolution of 1959, led to a complete stop in the import of US vehicles into the country. As a result, until 2011, the only vehicles obtainable in the country were those built prior to 1959. However, since 2011 it has been possible to trade privately in second-hand cars, and since 2013 there has been a progressive easing on the import of new vehicles. Nonetheless, the prices of new vehicles are astronomical, with a simple mid-range vehicle costing in excess of 200,000 Euros!
Father Radoslav Kottra from Slovakia and Father Hans Weibel from Switzerland are both Divine Word Missionaries (also known as Steyler Missionaries) who work in Mayari in the diocese of Holguin. Each ministers to several different parishes but their cars are ancient. Nor is the situation any better for the other priests of the diocese – their cars all need new motors, batteries, tyres but new cars are something that these priests dare not even dream of.
Yet there is at least some good news for them. Following the visit of the Pope to their diocese, the authorities have finally granted the Church special import licences for certain specific items so now they can at least purchase certain urgently needed spare parts. ACN is helping with 12,000 Euros so that these ancient vehicles of the priests in Hologuin diocese can be kept going for a little longer yet