Cuba Travel

Cuba’s Vintage Biplanes to get Upgrade

Cuban AN2-72x300Climbers in Viñales have complained of being awaked by ancient biplanes circling early every Sunday mornings. The sharp-eyed would have noticed that the biplane would make a very low pass over the baseball field. Inquiring ones might have discovered that the biplane dropped a bundle as it passed low over the field. No, not a drug drop. It was the Sunday newspaper. And not the New York Times, but the 16 or so pages of the daily edition of Granma, the Communist Party polemic broadside. It sells for 4 cents, but the government delivers it by air to Viñales every Sunday. This quaint, bizarre exercise says a lot about how Cuba works – or doesn’t work. So, while the leaders talk of change and efficiencies, and the media spreads their message, the government bureaucrats simply carry on. The fleet of single-engine biplanes bought from the USSR between 40 and 50 years ago, and based on a 1947 design, will get a make-over, even new engines and props. When in Viñales, don’t plan on sleeping in Sunday mornings.