Now You Can Buy Wood in Cuba

Fernando Ravsberg

madera-cubanaHAVANA TIMES — After decades of absence from the market, Cubans can now buy lumber. Thanks to a resolution of the Ministry of Domestic Commerce, published in the Official Gazette on January 15, 2016, the retail market of building materials can now offer wood to the population.

The announcement comes with a long list of types of wood with their prices.

This isa necessarystep becauseseveral years agothey legalizedself-employedcarpenters, and designated a store for them to purchasetools. However, the most essential element, the wood, could only be bought on the black market.

12 thoughts on “Now You Can Buy Wood in Cuba

  • So if u are self employed can u buy wood in Cuba now in 2022?

  • Where in Cuba were the mahogany estates?

  • I want to purchase Cocus wood that is from and found in Cuba please.

  • Cuba banned the export of Cuban mahogany in 1946.

    A “tough environmental stance” from the same government which ordered millions of hectares of forests and swamps bulldozed to plant sure for the Million Tonne Harvest? According to the book, “Controlling Tropical Deforestation” Cuba had reached a state of “critical deforestation” by 1980. That is, 21 years after the Castro regime seized power.

    Among the top 10 Cuban exports, wood showed the greatest increase up 272.2% since 2010.

  • I’m told that the wood ban was intended to limit the number of seaworthy crafts that could be built to escape the Castro “paradise”.

  • I think you can chalk up any environmental conservancy in Cuba as a consequence of the incompetence of the government in their attempts to industrialize Cuba as opposed to any conscious actions of the government

  • Moses, yes I do see the wood ban being an environmental action. Are you thinking the Cuban government did it just to complicate its citizens lives?

    And it is Bob, not Dan. If you have questions about my validity, simply Google my name and “Cuba”.

  • I remember once just before Hurricane Gilbert going into the hardware store (if you can call it that) in the Galleria shopping mall in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. There was a stack of plywood sheets in the back of the store. I was surprised to see them. I asked a floor employee how much each sheet cost and she said she didn’t know. She asked her manager who came out front to find out who I was, why I wanted to know and where I planned to use the wood. When I told him I was just a curious tourist, he told me that he didn’t know the price either. He told me that someone had already purchased the wood and using his right hand, tapped his left shoulder with his first two fingers. In Cuba, that’s the universal sign for a boss, jefe, high-ranking official, etc. I never did find out what was going on with that stack of plywood.

  • Ah OK. You see the wood ban as an act of environmental conservation/protection. Gimme a break, Dan!

  • Yup. Reinaldo Arenas wrote about an old woman in Havana who’s tiny apartment backed onto an abandoned and sealed up church. Shortly after the revolution, the authorities bricked up all the windows and doors and then apparently forgot about it for years.

    One day, the old woman asked Reinaldo to help her put up a shelf in the back wall of her apartment. When he hammered into the wall, the brick crumbled and opened up an access into the forgotten church. Peering into the gloom, he was stunned to see pews, an alter, cabinets, vaulted wooden ceilings and so on. Turning to the old lady, they quickly cut a deal. He would crawl through the hole in the wall, remove the wood and sell it to people desperate to fix or renovate their crumbling overcrowded apartments. They old lady would get her cut.

    The operation went on for weeks, making a pile of dough. Eventually, the busybody at the local CDR noticed something funny was going on. Did he report them to the police? Of course not, he just demanded his cut of the proceeds. Eventually the church was stripped clean of all wood & tiles, and anything of value was sold.

    Thus the Revolution compelled the Cuban people to devour their cultural heritage.

  • The Spaniards pretty much denuded much of Cuban forests during their rule as much wood was exported to Spain. There was not a lot of relief during the colonial period. The Cuban government took a tough environmental stance after the Triumph of the Revolution and permitted very little timber harvesting or use of lumber for construction..

    Of course some wood has been available just not legally. Hopefully the forests have reached some state of environmental equilibrium where responsible harvesting and legal sale of lumber can resume.

  • Stop. Are you serious? Castro sycophants deign to criticize the American system and dare to suggest that the Castros can teach us a thing or two when you couldn’t even buy 2x4s in Cuba? I didn’t know that.

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