By Daisy Valera
A few weeks ago I decided to go to Sancti Spíritus after having finished the school year. My family was demanding that I return home to that central Cuban province after having spent most of the year studying in Havana, which is why we seldom get to see each other.
So, my time had come to leave the hot capital and head for my deadly-calm little hometown.
But to travel from one place to another on this small island is not as easy as you might think.
Approximately four years ago beautiful Chinese “Yutong” buses began being imported to Cuba. Though the conditions of these buses are better in comparison to the deteriorated transportation that we had previously, things have steadily slipped backwards since they first arrived.
Previously the fares were affordable, but today they’re simply outlandish. It costs 75 pesos to travel to my province from Havana, and the fare shoots up to almost 200 pesos if you want to travel from Havana to eastern Santiago de Cuba.
If the minimum monthly wage is 225 pesos, and the maximum salary is 750 pesos, you can easily see how for many traveling by bus is out of the question.
So, if everyone can afford to take these buses, why are they touted as the principal means of transportation for Cubans?
Because of these high bus prices, I returned to Sancti Spíritus by train, even though it took 10 hours to travel the 226 miles to get there. My boxcar companions shared my same unease concerning transportation; their wages didn’t allow them to think about taking a Yutong, though these make the trip in substantially less time.
It’s unfortunate that after fifty years of Cuba’s socialist revolution – which undeniably has made a host of important achievements – there are still palpable differences between economic classes and purchasing power.
Cuban working people must not turn their backs to this problem. To constantly address it is the only way to eradicate it and to advance along the path toward socialism.