Coach Drivers’ Protest in Puerto Padre Makes the Government Give In / Alberto Mendez Castello

PUERTO PADRE, Cuba, October 1, 2013, Alberto Mendez Castello / A group of coachmen demanding their right to travel on the road protested this morning, near the municipal government headquarters here.

The demonstration was strong, but not violent, as the protestors gathered on Libertad Avenue and Angel Ameijeiras. Parked on this street, the line of horses and coaches extended more than two blocks. The last vehicles were parked in front of the Municipal Committee of the PCC (Communist Party of Cuba ).

Their drivers were waiting for an answer at the gates of Government.

The demonstrating drivers serve the route between the Bus Station and Guillermo Domínguez Hospital. They are the only transport here that goes to the city hospital. The local authorities had banned their use of the road as of last year, alleging damage to the pavement by the hoofs of the horses and the traffic hazards on a winding curve. To serve their route after the ban, the drivers were diverted via a recessed side road and a bridge in disrepair.

Given the demands of the coachmen, the authorities had promised to repair the bypass road. But only one bulldozer worked the trail, leaving it equally impassable.

Unfulfilled promises from the highest political and administrative authorities of the municipality led the drivers to ignore the ban and to continue using the road. But on Monday the police began to impose fines on the drivers. The reaction was to paralyze transport by taking their coaches to go complain to the government.

The Government’s response was not long in coming: from now on and until the problems of the bypass route are solved, they can continue traveling down the road.

Having achieved their demand, the protest of the drivers in Puerto Padre ended before  noon.

1 October 2013

From Cubanet