MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Vehicles still very much in use in Cuba, like American-made classic cars from the 1950s and about 100,000 Russian-built Ladas and other Soviet-era vehicles are now having trouble circulating.
Not because they are old, but because many parts made in Russia are not being shipped to the island due to restrictions and sanctions.READ MORE: Renewed Call For More Safety Measures After Deadly Rickenbacker Causeway Crash
Dr. William LeoGrande, a Latin American Specialist from American University said, “If you are a Cuban and you own an old Russian car, you are going to have a hard time now getting parts from Russia.”
Those vital Russian car parts that keep the decades-old, poorly built boxy-looking Russian cars on the road are now very hard to come by.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the worldwide sanction of most all things Russian, including the sale and transportation of Russian car parts into Cuba.
The average Cuban worker makes about $20 a month and if lucky enough to have a car, it is often a mission to keep the old cars running, that is why replacement parts are critical.
Dr. William LeoGrande told CBS4, “Now, with the cut-off of flights between Russia and Cuba, it going on be much harder for them to get spare parts from Russia.”READ MORE: Divers Mark 20th Anniversary Of Sinking Spiegel Grove Off Key Largo
It is much harder for Cubans on the island to get Russian car parts from Miami, yes Miami.
There are not many Russian-made Cars running around the Magic City, so why are there several Russian car parts stores in Miami and Hialeah that carry a big stock of Russian car parts?
The Russian sanctions have put a spotlight on a unique Russian car part supply chain. All legal prior to the sanctions parts from Russia exported to Miami, purchased and carried, flown, in personal luggage to Cuba.
Major support for keeping those Russian cars running comes from Miami, or has come from Miami. “So the stores stocking the spare parts might have the same problem as the Cubans have,” said Dr. LeoGrande speaking about the sanctions.
How about those old American cars tourists are so fond of? Tough to get American car parts into Cuba, so over the years many of those Chevrolet and Ford convertibles have been modified using Russian car parts.
Some of those brightly painted vintage American Cars have Russian Diesel engines under the hood which someday might need some Russian car parts.MORE NEWS: Miami Man Is Florida's Newest Millionaire After Playing Lottery's 'Jackpot Triple Play'
CBS4 reached out to several of the local car part stores but no one was available to talk.