The old ‘classic’ cars that are so typical of the towns and cities of Cuba are a great attraction for the tourists, who love to photograph them. But for the people of the country itself, the situation is not so rosy. The trade embargo, imposed after the Cuban revolution of 1959, led to a complete stop in the import of US vehicles into the country. As a result, until 2011, the only vehicles obtainable in the country were those built prior to 1959. Since 2011 it has been possible to trade privately in second-hand cars, and since 2013 there has been a progressive easing on the import of new vehicles, but prices of new vehicles remain astronomical, with a simple mid-range vehicle costing in excess of $217,000!
Father Radoslav Kottra from Slovakia and Father Hans Weibel from Switzerland are both Divine Word Missionaries (also known as Steyler Missionaries) and both work in Mayari in the Diocese of Holguin, each ministering to several different parishes. They do have cars, but their cars are extremely old, and the situation is no better for the other priests of the diocese. All their cars need new motors, new batteries, and new tires; new cars are something that these priests dare not even dream of.
There is some good news for them, since, following the visit of Pope to their diocese, the authorities have finally granted the Church special import licenses for certain specific items. So now they can at least purchase certain urgently needed spare parts. ACN is helping with $13,000 so that these ancient vehicles of the priests in Hologuin diocese can be kept going for a little longer yet.
Will you give so that the priests of Cuba can purchase spare parts for their aged fleet of cars and so continue to use them in their ministry to the country’s faithful?
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