Cuba: Suicide Houses & Other Things

The next topic in my Cuba series is less about the tourism aspect and more about how the people live.  While I did not speak the language, my travel companions did.  I was able to glean from them a concept that I had (and still have!) a hard time reconciling in my mind.  This concept is the one of ‘suicide houses’.

No, it has nothing to do with people actually taking their lives.  The idea is all about putting a safe and affordable roof over a Cubans’ head.  The Cuban government gives away for free a building.  Great, right?  Possibly.  The only problem is the ‘house’ is usually in very poor condition, and possibly already in a state of disrepair.  So, when a family receives this free house all repairs and the cost of those repairs come from that family.

Cuba Disrepair

Think about it.  Homes and construction materials have not been readily available in Cuba for decades (since the American embargo).  Materials for building and construction are difficult to acquire and expensive once it is found.  On top of that, who will install it?  And, how much will they charge to do so?

Cuba Disrepair_2

That’s just one aspect of these ‘free’ houses.  The other aspect is after a set period of time the Cuban government begins to charge the family taxes on their ‘free’ house — no matter if the repairs are done.  Meaning, the house may not be in a condition to be lived in yet the family is responsible under the law to pay taxes on it!  Now you understand the term given to these free homes — suicide houses!

There are other ‘free’ subsidies that the government periodically gives out to help people repair their homes/apartments.  Here is one example taken from The Havana Times.

Cuba: Subsidy or Suicide?

Ta-ta for now,

NB

My Cuban Radio Silence

I was radio silent for the past few weeks because I was preparing to go on a vacation.  I was headed to Cuba (read: Coo-Ba).  I was scared, excited, humbled, thrilled, terrified but most of all I was thankful.  Americans can visit Cuba freely for the first time in over five decades.

There’s so many angles to use.  So many topics that could be discussed and in time I just may do that.  I’m still processing; still trying to get my head wrapped around my time warp jump into the 50’s that is Cuba.  The Industrial Age is very much alive there!

What I will do is share my trip with you in pictures.

First View of Cuba

First View of Cuba

My B&B in Central Habana

My B&B in Central Habana

The money! It's called the CUC.

The money! It’s called the CUC.

A typical local market.

A typical local market.

Market 2

A slip back in time.

A slip back in time.

And, another time slip...

And, another time slip…

The Pope is visiting Cuba next month (Sept 2015).

The Pope is visiting Cuba next month (Sept 2015).

Looking across the Bay at Central Havana. This view is from the municipality of Regla in Cuba.

Looking across the Bay at Central Havana. This view is from the municipality of Regla in Cuba.

A typical Cuban street.

A typical Cuban street.

I’ll come back to Cuba and other topics and angles over the course of the next few months.  Ahh.  One thing I truly miss is the Cuban coffee!  Those tiny cups were black blissful gold…

Madder Than a Hornet on a Hot Day…But Darren Fixed It!

So mad. Got home from vacation. Was paying bills as it was that time of the month. I get through (yeah!). I see a pop up from MicroSoft about some new upgrade to Windows 10.  I politely decline. I finish my business and close out.  Do you know Windows 10 automatically updates??!!*@*!!

Do you know what happens to my laptop?  Yes, the infinite loop of restore/restart point hell.  So, I call MicroSoft.  After a 45-minute hold to get to an agent with an accent that is not American I am promptly told that I should have done a compatibility test prior to updating to Windows 10.  It is my fault and I must call the manufacturer of my laptop to resolve the problem.

I promptly call Dell.  After a 10-minute hold time I’m told that since my laptop is booting up and attempting to fix the issue by offering the restore point option it is clearly NOT a hardware issue.  Therefore, I must call MicroSoft back…

Yeah, NO!

I call up Darren of Digitron in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.  He says it’s no problem to fix the issue. He has to wipe my computer and then reinstall my docs/pics/etc.  He does it in less than 24 hours. I dropped off Friday late afternoon and it was ready by 3:00 pm yesterday (Saturday, 9/22).

Darren of Digitron Electronics in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

Darren of Digitron Electronics in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

Did I mention Darren was awesome?!?!  Darren has been my IT guru for years now and keeps my works in progress SAFE! If you need a trustworthy computer/iPhone/laptop/electronics guy Darren’s IT! (Ahh, pun definitely intended.)

Where is he?

7021 Fort Hamilton Parkway

Brooklyn, NY 11228

718-491-4060

(He’s closed on Sundays only; open Mon – Sat.)