The Politics Of Survival - Cuba Is An Antique
Posted: 18 October 2004 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]
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With the average salary in Cuba being an equivalent of $5-$7 US dollars a month,Cubans have found the way to survive In Cuba.

In recent years many Cubans have found the art of antique selling a profitable way of making a living, from fine Cuban art,ceramics,rare glass to slave trade papers Cuban antique dealers are making more then just a buck or two,they are making more then a decent living by todays US standards.

Many of these antique dealers have found their way to American and foreign soils and continue to fend for themselves by continuing to deal in rare Cuban items and collectibles.

On any given day you may bid on a piece of Cuban history on Ebay ,you can buy slave documents,Cuban art,police badges,vintage humidors and even rare machete’ from Ebay sellers like “Kubaneo” from Miami, items reach Ebay sellers by means of “Mules” or by directly visitng Cuba themselves and then purchasing anything of value from Cuban dealers in Cuba.

It’ become a profitable business says one dealer.

“For example, I’ll buy a Cuban baseball card for $2 from someone,then I’ll resell the card to a dealer/client from Miami or elsewhere for $20-$50,and they in return sell the same card for $100 or more”

“Imagine,I make $18 US on the sale of that one card alone,I’m rich in Cuba”

The business of dealing in collectibles in Cuba has spawn a money making movement like no other on the island, every Saturday morning one can visit what is called “El Club Numismatico”/“The Numismatic Club” usually hosted in Playa,an upper
scale city in Havana.

Organizers of the club charge an admission fee of 10 Cuban cents to Cubans,and $1 US to non Cuban citizens.

Once inside one can visit the small flea market type tables Cubans dealers have set up,some even sell items on the floor of the venue,each are charged a set up fee by the organizers of the club,which is yet another way to make money.

You can find all sorts of vintage and highly desireable items from the booths/tables owners,from Cuban and US baseball cards, to costume jewelry, if it’ collectible chances are you may find what you’re looking for at the club or at the sellers homes.

Rare books,bank notes,rare Cuban and American coins,documents,glassware,ceramics,bisque dolls etc.. can be found,and if you don’t see what you wan’t just ask any of the dealers at the club and they most likely know where to find what it is you are looking for,they can point you in the right direction for a modest fee or commission of the sale.

While visitng Cuba I met many of the top dealers in Cuba,entered their homes and much to my surprise I was overwhelmed at the fact that they lived better off than I do back home in Miami, house full of new furniture,big screen televisions,computers,stainless stell frig,central a/c and even satelite dishes complete with pirate cards etc.. can be found in the homes of Cuban antique dealers.

“I made $220,000 US in 1999” Said one dealer while sitting at his home.

“I never have to work a day in my life again if I don’t want,but, the money is hard to ignore”

This particular dealer styles a brand new 2003 Fiat while cruising Cuba’ streets in hunt for the next great item to sell.

“When I visit Cuba to see my family,I stop by the Numismatic Club to say hello to my Cuban friends whom I purchase items from to keep for myself or resell for a profit” says a dealer and Ebay seller from Miami

“I bought a rare Patek watch for $2500.00 in Cuba and resold it for $125,000 the next day to a dealer at the Sebold building in Miami” he said

“As far as I’m concerned I owe my economic rise
to the dealers in Cuba who sell these wonderful items to me at great prices,cause of them I live a comfortable life, but unlike other sellers in Miami who buy from Cuban dealers in Cuba,I do not rape them like they do,I made a huge chunk of change from the sale of the watch and immediately sent back $25,000 more to the person who sold me the watch for $2,500.00

“It’ disgusting to see how some of these guys who hussled their findings in Cuba have made their way to the US only to go back to Cuba and hussle their piers,Ebay sellers like Kubaneo disgust me, they go back to Cuba sporting their gold chains and new clothes,but yet they want to pay close to nothing for items worth thousands of dollars,I can’t stand them and I wasn’t even born in Cuba as they were,yet they rape their own” he said.

Besides dealing in collectibles in Cuba,Cubans have found ways to make a nice living in Cuba,one worker who drives supplies all over Cuba in a boxy Mercedes Benz truck charges $5 US to Cubans who are looking to hitch a ride to Havana while on his way back from another city in Cuba.

“I make anywhere from $500-$1500 US a month,one month I made $3000, my job doesn’t pay me enough to survive,I do what I have to do for my family,if caught I will be fired and thrown in jail,but the rewards are worth the risks” he said.

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Posted: 01 November 2004 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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  Unless there are millions of VERY rich antique dealers in Cuba it makes no difference, does it. Rich Cubans who still have Cubans living down the road in a shack making 5-7 dollars a month are just as bad as the Americans they claim to detest. Besides, that’ American ingenuity, not Cuban. Tourism right now seems to be the only salvation and unless 21 st century business attitudes are allowed to grow then the country won’t. It’ not very wise to not take advantage of the brilliant young minds of the Cuban people.

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Posted: 16 January 2005 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would like to appraise a lost treasure from Cuba de mis abuelos.  It’ an 18k gold pin watch made in Havana in the early 1900s or mid-to-late 1800s.  It has small gems on the front: ruby & diamonds.
If anyone is interested please let me know.

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