The sale of second-hand cars from the Cuban State to individuals began this Tuesday at a dealership in Havana, where the first customers acquired vehicles despite their exorbitant prices.
"It is a used car of 2011, but it is in the conditions required to travel," explained to the cameras of Efe Yovan Orlando, a Cuban resident in Miami after paying neither more nor less than $ 80,000 for a Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 of the year 2011 with 6,000 kilometers on the scoreboard.
EVERYTHING FOR THE FAMILY, EVEN THERE IS NO WARRANTY
This customer, who spent five nights in the queue to be the first to choose a vehicle, was satisfied with his purchase and the deal, although he confessed to being worried because his newly acquired Toyota "has no guarantee" and that can be a "problem ".
"For my family I do anything," he proclaimed.
In the dealership of Havana's Miramar neighborhood, 30 models of second-hand cars are offered from Tuesday, all at exorbitant prices such as $ 38,000 for a Kia Picanto, 45,000 for an automatic Peugeot 301 or 63,000 for a Peugeot 4008, according to the list of CIMEX -Company of the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Cuba-, which does not specify year or mileage.
It is required to pay by credit card in "freely convertible currency" or MLC, that is, euros or dollars or other currency. None of the two currencies in circulation in the country are accepted: the CUP or Cuban peso or the CUC or convertible peso.
This responds to the Cuban State's policy of raising foreign currency to try to alleviate its endemic balance of payments deficit, at a time of economic crisis exacerbated by the tightening of the US financial and commercial embargo. In the last months.
Although the amounts of cars may seem exaggerated, they actually include a 10% discount in relation to what CIMEX said was their real price.
The company ensures that it will only retain 15% of the collection and 85% will be used to improve public transport, one of the pending tasks of the Cuban authorities.
WHY UNEXPLICABLE PRICES
The prohibitive prices of second-hand vehicles on the island are directly linked to the restrictions on the purchase of new cars and also to the country's inability to guarantee the supply of fuel, an endemic problem now exacerbated by the new US sanctions .
Until 2011 the Government prohibited buying them and since 2013 it taxes them with a tax of 800%, so that the most economical compact in this country can cost more than a luxury vehicle in any country in Europe or the Americas.
Cuba does not manufacture cars and no private individual or company outside the State is authorized to import them, hence the distortion of supply and demand that requires paying exorbitant amounts to acquire a private means of transport in a country where the average salary of a State worker is around 45 dollars a month.
In Cuba's second-hand informal market, prices are not much better: on the Revolico classifieds website, a Lada 2105 of 1988 was offered last week for $ 28,000, a 2007 Hyundai Atos for 40,000 and a 2010 Audi S4 for 120,000.