Cuba Gov. to Finance Some Building Materials to Victims of “Irma”

September 18, 2017 |

Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES  – The Cuban government will finance the purchase of some construction materials that will be sold to the victims whose homes were totally or partially destroyed by Hurricane Irma, reports dpa news.

The State Budget will finance 50 percent of the price of the materials while the other part will be covered by bank loans with low interest rates and longer payment terms.

In cases of a total collapse of housing, the Cuban state will assume the payment of bank interest, published the official newspaper “Granma.”

What the government did not clarify is when there will be availability of construction materials, well below pre-hurricane demand, and whether they will keep their high prices relative to the salary or pension of most Cubans (between US $10 and US $25).

The sale of construction materials to the victims will have four forms of payment: in cash, on terms, bank credit and through the granting of a subsidy, Interior Minister Mary Blanca Ortega announced.

In Havana alone, Hurricane “Irma” caused damage to some 4 288 homes, of which 157 suffered a total collapse of the structure and 986 were partially damaged, according to the Municipal Defense Council.

The damage in the capital, when the center of the hurricane was nearly 100 miles away, is a reflection of the general state of housing.

As it passed through the northern part of the island “Irma” left 10 people dead and caused huge material damages that have not yet been quantified. The provinces where the hurricane hit the hardest were Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Matanzas.

Cuban authorities mobilized the Armed Forces to clean the streets and collect debris, while brigades of electricians moved to the most affected provinces to restore basic services such as electricity and telephones.

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  • Sky

    This makes my blood boil. The government have ignored the fabric of housing stock for decades. My husband’s aunt died when her balcony collapsed. And the family had to ‘suck it up’. Now the authorities are only offering to subsidize 50% of rebuilding costs? Does that seem reasonable to anyone else? Not to mention that even before Irma, building materials were scarce. The reason the Capitolio (and other hotel projects) took so long to renovate was because there was a vigorous black market in materials earmarked for those projects. Building insurance does not exist, but what about the state being all that people needed? People in the west with good salaries would find renovations of this scale hard to absorb out of their salary. God knows how hard it is going to be for the average Cuban.

    • Sky: This is that “same old, same old” where various government officials and citizens sit around the table discussing who should pay. Then eventually they acknowledge that no part of the government nor any of the people around the table have any money to pay for anything.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      You will recall Sky, the cunning Raul deciding in 2012 that Cubans now owned the properties in which they live and could sell and buy them. That and a similar decision to permit the buying and selling of cars, commenced the popular international myth that: “Things are changing in Cuba.”
      Little did innocent non-aware non-Cubans realise that by his move on housing, Raul had divested his regime for any responsibility for the maintenance or repair of such housing.
      You are right when you speak of the government ignoring the stock of housing for decades – now that the deteriorating crumbling ‘chickens’ are coming home to roost – who carries the can? The people!

      • CErmle

        Thanks Donald T. for clarifying that for us, NOT!

    • Javier Vargas

      What is not reasonable is that the US continues its 50+ year economic blockade against Cuba. That’s what makes my blood boil.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        As you know Javier, the US embargo does not prevent the importation of building materials. As you mention what “makes my blood boil”, in my case it is the repression by the Castro regime and its use of power to control every aspect of the lives of Cuban citizens.

        • CErmle

          What makes “my blood boil” is these self-appointed know-it-alls who serve the interests of the old oligarchy, claiming to be experts on everything. They are servants of Trumpism. They can’t understand that not everybody is motivated by greed. The people of Cuba overwhelmingly support their government.

        • Javier Vargas

          While the Blockade doesn’t prevent the importation of building material completely, it does stifle it which in turn makes it much more costly for Cuba..As far as repression by the Cuban government towards its citizen, I am not in agreement with you completely… First of all, All governments in every country of the world have some from of repression including the United States… Some are high up on the scale of repression while others are on the the lower scale.. Evidence and facts show that Cuba is on the lower scale…

  • N.J. Marti

    What would actually work is to allow the private import of building materials. The government would regulate how the work was carried out. This would allow outside direct assistance on a massive scale.

  • Ginni

    Power and Control!!! That is what is happening, no freedom to purchase supplies for recovery to prevent even more damage or loss of property. And like was said, supplies were scarce before IRMA and probably will be even more scarce now afterwards..
    When I have been on flights into CUBA I have met those Cubans returning for a visit with a gallon of paint and a kitchen sink all from Miami and wondered where they might end up?
    CUBA needs Home Depot once again to help the Cuban People in a time of need.

  • christie coolidge

    No country needs monopolies like home depot, walmart, staples, amazon, and so on. These monopolies concentrate the wealth of americans into a very few hands. All the wealth of the country goes to 1-10% of the population, everyone else gets the scraps. Monopolies also control u.s. politics. For many decades now americans have not been able to make decisions concerning their jobs, their wages, their schools or in many other areas because monopolies are forcing and deceiving americans into supporting their interests solely. Monopoly interests = profits above everything else.