Stranded in No Man’s Land

6 Apr

There is no ideological gibberish that can convince a people who are fed up with lies. The provincial concocters of discourse and the daily grind achieve nothing against the litany of citizen complaints

Since late January the city of Holguin has been without rail service to Havana.  But since 2006 people have been transported not by train, but by Chinese (Yutong) buses which charged the modest price of 26 pesos.

Then the Ministry of Transport decided to cancel these trips for meeting their earnings estimates.  In their place they have scheduled two trips a day to the old bus station at a price of 144 pesos in national currency, but since then a long line on the waiting list frightens those who arrive.  Black market tickets have risen from 10 to 15  convertible pesos (CUC), as the crowd of travelers has risen to the levels of peak travel (New Year, start of the school year, beginning of a holiday or Mother’s Day, when a significant number of Cubans decide to travel to or from their hometowns).

The same sort of thing occurs with the policing of the Holguin Terminal, where around-the-clock patrols harass the horse cart drivers, cart pullers, bicycle taxis, drivers of rental cars (clandestine or licensed) and other kinds of private carriers.

Holguin is crossed by the main road, but the bypass built in the 1980s detours away from the city most of the transportation going to and from other parts of eastern Cuba, which makes it a dead end on the rail network or by road in Cuba.

The latest evasions of the provincial government and their transport managers were published in the local press last February, but nothing resolves the obstruction or the interference with daily life.

Inventing an alternative title to a song attacking racism by the troubadour Frank Delgado serves me as a palliative against such an absurd measure: “How to get to Havana and not die in the attempt.”

Translator’s note: Frank Delgado (born October 19, 1960 in Pinar del Rio) is member of the novisima trova, heir to the nueva trova movement. The writer is referencing the popular song from 2002, “Como ser negro y no morir en el intento.” (How to be black and not die in the attempt.)

Translated by ricote

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