The Cuban ingenious after 50 years of isolation
House fans built from telephone components, metal meal trays repurposed as television antennas and a washing machine motors repurposed as a coconut shredder, are among the list of Cuban inventions studied by designer and artist Ernesto Oroza.
In the article “How communism turned Cuba into an island of hackers and DIY engineers,” PBS NewsHour illustrates the dozens of inventions created out of necessity that are equally useful and brilliant.
The article highlights the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as a catastrophe for Cuban economy, causing the country to lose about 80 percent of its imports, and shrank by 34 percent.
“Cubans learned to make do. When something breaks, they patch it up. When something doesn’t work, they fix it. And when something is altogether lost, they invent it,” PBS reported
Cubans became masters of invention, and they had to be. “Musicians, medical doctors, workers, homemakers, athletes and architects all had to dedicate themselves to making their own things and meeting the emerging needs of the family,” Oroza said to PBS. “The Cuban home became a laboratory for inventions and survival.”