National Thermometer / Regina Coyula

Photo: OLPL

The relationship of Cubans with public transportation is intense. The interaction is produced on various levels: between the public and the driver, amongst the public themselves, and between the public and the bus. This interaction is determined by the frequency between one bus and the next; and at this time that frequency has once again become, as it almost always has been for many years now, low. The irritation and annoyance with transportation that is delayed and packed determine the violence with which “the factors” react. Now on television they chide the public for the mistreatment of the buses and for the quantity and quality of the collection made as a conception of payment. In that type of reports there is no mention of “our working people”, as if those chided didn’t form part of those same people of the official demagoguery.

So if the public decides not to pay, or prefers to hand their fare directly to the driver, or refuses to pay $1.00 CUP (Cuban Peso = national currency) for a service that costs 40 cents and tears a bill in half to approximate the price, or bangs without mercy on the back door of the bus when the driver misses a stop, or points out somewhat cryptic responsibilities but in a loud voice; I don’t know what sociologists see (especially if those sociologists don’t travel on public transportation), but I see a reaction to accumulated frustrations, and not just with the subject of public transport.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 29 2012