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.
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?
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.
Ta-ta for now,