Monday, May 25, 2009

And now what?

Foto: Claudio Fuentes Madan

I waited at 23rd and 10th to get the P4 bus at 7:00 in the morning and got to my destination (Playa) at 9:45. I tried to get on board three buses but I couldn’t do it, and the rest of the time I spent trying to catch a 10 peso taxi, but there were none. A bit strange, what’s happening, I asked myself, while looking up and down a deserted 23rd, normally crammed with taxis.

At 4:00 in the afternoon I was well informed, no one in Havana was talking about anything else: There is an operation and they are seizing cars and so the drivers, of course, are terrified and no one wants to operate. I have several comments on the matter:

- At the bus stations they’re conducting a special operation, confiscating the cars “on site.” Despite numerous calls from the drivers to their contacts in the PNR (National Revolutionary Police), no one can do anything about it.
- Until recently they were giving out licenses, but not anymore.
- A license is unique and not transferable, and represents the car and the owner; this means that only the owner of the car can drive it, not a friend, nor a relative nor absolutely anyone else in the universe.

The consequences? Always the same. Everyone who went by car now has to go by bus. If before it could take you an hour to get aboard, now it can take three, and in 24 hours we’ve returned to the Golden Age of the Post-Transportation Revolution.

Why is the government taking these measures? Beyond control and repression I can’t stop thinking that they must be getting something more, but what? Why not give the licensees a little more flexibility and increase the tax money coming in? Now the bus stops are a crush of people and getting to work is a hardship, with people arriving late or not at all. Not in its wildest dreams can the state transport system meet the demand and nobody wins: not the people, not the taxi drivers and not the state.

1 comment:

Laraine said...

Tu vida es Dada, surreal...el teatro del absurdo. Tanto me gustaria verlo todo cambiar dentro de poco. Por mi parte sigo buscando tus escrituras cada dia y relatandolo todo a los que quieran escuchar como es la vida diaria en Cuba. Con gran carino desde Tampa....tenemos corazones en solidaridad con los blogueros cubanos. Ustedes van a cambiar esa mala situacion....escritura por escritura. Sigue blogueando sin miedo. Los ojos del mundo estan mirandoles.