Mayari’s Potholes and Horse-Drawn Carriages

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

HAVANA TIMES – There’s been a new accident here in Mayari involving public transport in recent days: a horse-drawn wagon. It is already the third one of such severity in less than three months, the result of the poor state the city’s streets, especially the main roads which public transport circulate upon.

The accident took place on Leytevidal Street, along the stretch from the entrance to the Cocal store’s parking lot. “A truck stopped for a second and the horse cart driver tried to overtake it but was surprised by a great big pothole and the wagon fell into the hole.

The wagon’s front wheels came loose and only the chassis was left. “It was a great fright, I thought that the passengers were going to fall out, at least it didn’t flip over,” Andres says, a witness at the scene.

According to another witness of the accident, “there were eight passengers in the wagon and luckly only one of them suffered a head injury. This was a man around 45, fell down from the impact and some of the floorboards came loose and hit him in the head. Everybody panicked. It’s a miracle that there weren’t any fatalities on this street. It is in such poor conditions and with so much traffic.”

In December, another wagon loaded with passengers flipped over on this street when it fell into a deep pothole. This one prepared to be filled in, but several days went by. That time, there were children and even a pregnant woman on board. The pregnant woman was in danger of miscarrying. Some weeks before, another horse drawn wagon had an accident. It was full of passengers too and it happened on the same main road in a bad state.

Amidst so many accidents, Mayari locals expected the street to be fixed before the end of the year. However, the municipal government only obtained a bit of cement, which wasn’t even enough to fill 10% of the potholes.

The rest were covered with dirt, which was immediately washed away by the rain, turning into mud and dust. This has only made the situation worse instead of better.

A government journalist from the local radio, Emilio Rodriguez Pupo, posted on Facebook about the issue. He criticized the poor quality of repairs on Leytevidal street. Mayari residents in the municipality and migrants also comment with very critical opinions.

Gelson Querol Soria said, “Mayari is a real disaster when it comes to roads, just two days after covering the holes (…) you could see how they were getting worse.” Noraida Suarez said, “how frustrating it is when we see how they do shoddy work without a trace of modesty.” Yohanis Zapata asked whether “if this construction company does things so badly, how can they be responsible for building a hospital or prison?

However, nothing has been reported on local radio, the government’s Citizens’ Portal, or local media. No information for the population about the many accidents resulting from the city’s damaged roads.

This municipality in eastern Holguin, is ironically very wealthy in industry and natural resources. Nonetheless, over 80% of urban public transport are rustic horse-drawn wagons. Other complaints came from their drivers. They asked why these roads are in such a poor state when they’ve paid taxes for years to use them. Especially, when the Government tells them that it doesn’t have the resources to fix them.

Read more from Osmel Ramirez’s diary here on Havana Times.