Who Owns All the Planes?
Plus: Trafigura, Credit Cards, London Metal Exchange
This week I was reminded of a trip I took to Cuba many years ago. The country had already been under embargo for close to forty years and the streets of Havana showed it. With no car industry of its own and access to US imports blocked, Cubans relied on ingenuity and makeshift parts to keep their ageing, pre-revolution cars on the road. You’ve seen the photos – I’ve got one I snapped in front of me: a striking blue 1957 Chevy idling by the kerb in the heart of Havana.
Having witnessed the state of the cars on the streets, I don’t know why I thought the skies would be any different. I boarded a plane in Havana to take me to Santiago de Cuba on the other side of the island. The distance is only around 500 miles but the highways aren’t really equipped to carry a 1957 Chevy, so flying is the better option. I suppose I should have known it wouldn’t be a Boeing transporting me, but I didn’t expect to find myself sitting in a Soviet era Antonov. The signage was in Russian, the hull creaked, …