Cuban Muscle Power

Santa Marta, Cuba –
January 25, 2020 –

There is a lot of things that Cuba has plenty: cigars, beautiful girls, vintage cars and Che Guevara pictures for example. But on the flip side there is also a lot of things that Cuba has very little of: milk, apples or razor blades for example – and fuel.

Thanks to the US embargo and the continuing chaos in Cuba’s No. 1 oil supplier, Venezuela, there is a permanent shortage of fuel. As a tourist, it may not strike you or even effect you at all. Tourism industry has preference as it is the main source of desired foreign currency. 

But little is left for private and cargo transport which leads to an extremely unbalanced allocation of goods throughout the country. Whereas one place is drowning in ceramic tiles others are eagerly waiting for them for example.

(In the middle of the video below you will see a short sequence showing a crowd waiting for these very ceramic tiles. The truck has just arrived and people are loading their allocated number of tiles onto a horse trailer or a cargo bicycle directly from the truck.)

But the Cubans were not the Cubans if they wouldn’t find creative solutions also for this post-revolutionary challenge. And as the whole world argues over green transportation, Cuba is already one step ahead. Back to the future if you want. And while western city centers are getting flooded with questionable e-scooters, Cuba’s solution is based on bike taxis and horse coaches.