Hell on the Highway

28 Apr

From time to time, I get on a truck that takes me to the eastern most of Cuban provinces, Guantanamo.  I always go wondering if I’ve gotten used to the stink of backpacks with packed lunches, live animals and the smelly shoes and clothing of the passengers that compose the group of travelers.  It is the least expensive truck on that route, for three Cuban dollars, you can go from one province to another.

Between the exhaust that gets inside the truck from the engine and the people who smoke, each trip is hell.  Every five kilometers there’s an inspector, a policeman or some functionary who stops the driver to let him know they will conduct a search.  Later on, they board the truck to look at the packages of each one of the passengers.  The metal seats, the exhaust fumes, my blackened face, and the haggard looks on the faces of the women beside me – the Cuban geography goes by us at about 70 kilometers per hour.  Sometimes I look out and see cars going by, Ladas and the latest model Toyotas driven by people who look like managers.  And I think to myself about my patience and the patience of all Cubans.

I read the official press out of respect for Sonia who, before she got off told me “Don’t ever stop reading the lies they tell, because that’s the code to understanding everything.”  But I cannot decipher those codes which are wrapped up in the excuses of the “American blockade, imperialist invasion or climate change.”

Translated by: Hank

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