http://havanajournal.com/business/entry/cuban-government-unable-to-meet-housing-demands-in-cuba/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Business

Cuban government unable to meet housing demands in Cuba

Posted December 17, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Business.
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AP

Cuba built about 20,000 homes in 2009, meeting barely 60 percent of its modest annual construction goal and further exacerbating a severe housing crunch, the official press said Thursday.

A report prepared for Sunday’s session of parliament indicates that authorities missed by more than a third the target of building 32,000 homes this year.

There was no reason given for shortfall, reported in the Communist Party newspaper Granma. Cuba’s cash-strapped economy has been pummeled by the global economic crisis, however, causing officials to slash imports of food and other basics as the country’s foreign debt balloons.

In September 2005, Fidel Castro said housing was such a priority that his country would build 100,000 new homes per year. That goal proved so overambitious that by 2008, officials had lowered annual projections to 50,000 homes, then sliced them to 32,000 for 2009 — a bar that still proved far too high.

The communist government controls nearly all construction. Even operations as simple as obtaining building materials for home improvement usually mean turning to a black market supplied by state employees who steal goods from work.

Cuba reported in 2006 that its housing shortage had reached half a million homes — and that was before three hurricanes hit the island in 2008, leaving tens of thousands homeless.

The Cuban parliament meets in full sessions just two days a year and usually gives unanimous approval to proposals put forward by the leadership.

Member Comments

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On December 17, 2009, publisher wrote:

What a said state and insult to the Cuban people.

100,000 homes a year Fidel? Good luck. Oh right, you could have done it if it weren’t for the hurricanes, global economic crisis and of course the Embargo. Right.

Here’s an idea… let the Cuban people have the freedom to work in any job they wish, open a business, make a real living and build their own homes. Is that too much work for the government?

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On December 17, 2009, paul wrote:

paging pipefitter and marekon on line one

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On January 05, 2010, Marek wrote:

Dear Paul (aka “shithead” - if he can call me “marekon” he deserves equal treatment).

Sorry to not have been obsession over this site - had some family time over the past month. You guys are not my universe, you know wink

The Revolution’s greatest challenge and arguably greatest failure has been in the provision of housing, and Cuba is first in line to say so.

But since the Publisher has already provided us with the answer, but dismissed it…

“100,000 homes a year Fidel? Good luck. Oh right, you could have done it if it weren’t for the hurricanes, global economic crisis and of course the Embargo. Right.”

...well, what’s left to say? You guys refuse to acknowledge economic realities and continue to believe that Cubans simply need to apply some good ol’ capitalist initiative and entrepreneurship and all will be hunkey-dorey. To quote the Publisher,  “Right.”

Oh, and by the way, Fidel isn’t running things anymore. Raúl is the President, and by continually focusing on the “guy at the top” you do a disservice to the thousands of political actors, bureaucrats and popular councils that contribute to policymaking and the daily operation of the country.

If you haven’t done so as yet, I highly recommend an excellent recent book by Henry Louis Taylor, “Inside El Barrio”.  Fascinating perspectives.

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On January 15, 2010, rogdix wrote:

Marek, your post is a little un-focussed. The only way Raoul could be de facto running the country is if El Jefe is feeding the fish somewhere; and that is indeed a possibility.

QUESTION: What “political actors, bureaucrats and popular councils…............... that contribute to policy making and the daily operation….........” are you referring to? The only meaningful word here is “actors.” Just that. They do what they are told by a military government (= a Police State,) and if they don’t one in four of their “colleagues” will report them.

On housing, the Castros in 1959 gave themselves (the State) a gift of tons of confiscated properties - in generally good condition. They couldn’t even manage and maintain that.

A Cuban family of my close acquaintance regularly accepts money from my Canadian friend so that they can buy a little cement and stuff on the black-market to repair their tiny hurricane damaged house - in which live three generations. Then the family was fined because my friend stayed over one night while they were in the middle of laying the cement. (Even though he hid his motorina in the kitchen - a one-in-four neighbour reported them.)

What was your point about entrepreneurship in Cuba? There is such, and it’s cleverly run - it’ s called the black-market. There’s no shortage of latent entrepreneurial skills in Cuba. The Castros have turned the country into a society of petty criminals - an inevitable outcome of totalitarian incompetence.

Just one small insight into Cuba today.