14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 29 October 2021 — Octavio Almaguer Ricardo lost his life last Monday due to a pothole. The day before, the man, in his 50s, had an accident with his motorcycle in Holguín, on a road near his house, which local residents assure this newspaper is “deadly” due to the number of holes it has.
“It was almost dark, late at night, he had left the house to leave some friends at the entrance of the road. He took the pothole, was thrown and the motorcycle fell on him,” a person close to the victim who prefers anonymity told 14ymedio.
As soon as he learned of the accident, which occurred in San Rafael Adentro, at kilometer 5 of the Mayarí highway, the informant approached the scene of the events, where an eyewitness told him that Almaguer “was going down a small hill and hit the pothole, and right there he fell.” In his opinion, the speed of the bike plus the momentum of the descent caused him to speed up. “That’s when the bike’s steering suffered a slight movement and the crash resulted.”
“That pothole is the first on that road, it is terrible, that is the softest but the entire road is full of potholes, the others seem like mortar holes,” says this source.
The victim, with a serious head trauma and multiple fractures in one leg, was transferred to the Holguín provincial hospital and underwent surgery, but nothing could be done to save his life.
Octavio Almaguer leaves a wife, two children and his two elderly parents. The family was, in the words of this friend, “was in extreme pain.”
For his part, Ernesto Almaguer Díaz, the victim’s cousin, posted what happened on his networks, expressing his regret and publishing a photo of the pothole that caused the accident, while blaming the poor state of the roads for the death of his relative.
“This pothole, about a hundred meters from the entrance to the Bird Slaughterhouse in San Rafael Adentro, Holguín, is responsible for the accident that took my cousin Octavio Almaguer Ricardo,” he denounced. “Holguín and Cuba are full are full of things like this. What is the tax paid for the use of the roads in Cuba — known as the license fee — for? How many more lives in Cuba are going to be taken by the poor condition of the roads in Cuba?”
In the first four months of this year, the National Road Safety Commission reported one death every 20 hours from traffic accidents in the country. In statements to the official newspaper Granma, the Secretary General of that institution, Reynaldo Becerra Acosta, pointed out that from January to April 2021 there were 2,403 accidents that resulted in 1,804 injuries and 155 deaths.
There is an average of one accident every hour and 12 minutes, one death every 20 hours and one injured every one hour and 36 minutes. Among the main causes, the report does not mention the poor condition of the roads, but points to other causes, such as not paying attention to vehicle control, disrespect for the right of way, speeding and damaged equipment. Official data collected in Cuba for several years indicate that traffic accidents are the fifth leading cause of death.
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