Cuban Bus Company Employees Sanctioned Over “Offensive Sticker”

Por Café Fuerte

A similar Viazul bus prompted a complaint by a traveller.

HAVANA TIMES — Cubans will have to start paying attention to what the stickers they put on windows and vehicles actually say – even if they are in English or Chinese.

The Empresa de Omnibus Nacionales (EON) announced it would apply sanctions on a department head and two bus drivers employed by the base company unit (UEB) Viazul held responsible for affixing a sticker reading “Fuck you!” on the rear windshield of a Yutong-brand bus.

“In view of the lack of control over general operations at the UEB, the disciplinary measure consisted in a definitive demotion to a lower position and different working conditions. The measure was applied to the head of the operations and marketing department,” a letter issued by EON’s general manager Lisandra Caraballo Rodriguez specified.

In her letter, the company official pointed out that the disciplinary measure applied on the two drivers “consisted in a temporary transfer to a different position with lower wages or category, or with different working conditions, for a term of six months, with the right to return to their original positions.”

Years of Insults

The names of the employees sanctioned were not revealed. The letter was published in the correspondence section of Cuba’s Granma newspaper, in response to a complaint from a reader, angered by the vulgar contents of the sticker.

“As I saw some years back, while traveling in a different vehicle headed for Santiago de Cuba, a sticker showing a hand giving someone the finger and the succinct and offensive phrase “Fuck you!”, which I am not going to translate, was still affixed to the rear windshield of the bus,” someone who identified himself as Jesus Singh Castillo wrote in a letter sent to the newspaper on February 20.

As it turns out, Singh Castillo is not a common traveller or reader. He is a veteran journalist and filmmaker, a correspondent for Cuba’s National TV News in Guantanamo.

The incident took place on January 23, around 8:30 am, at the parking lot of the Guantanamo Hotel. The bus in question was Viazul omnibus number 620, bearing the license plate B-073771.

The journalist/reader remarked that, from the time he saw the sticker for the first time, the drivers of the bus must have covered thousands of miles, “insulting all drivers that crossed their path.”

Work Discipline Violations

“This is but one example of the thousands of State vehicles of every kind that, in the most visible of places, show stickers advertising a brand (chiefly foreign) or with signs that have nothing to do with the entity they belong to,” the author of the complaint added. “What’s incredible is that the drivers of these vehicles enjoy express or tacit approval from their superiors, who share in the “pride” of freely advertising for Pioneer or Adidas, something which has nothing to do with the work they and those vehicles are meant to do.”

On receiving the complaint, the EON called an urgent meeting of the board and approached Viazul requesting that it address the incident.

“It was confirmed that the facts described constitute a violation of work discipline and of the internal disciplinary regulations,” the EON director explained.

Regulations establish that employees must “preserve the entity’s corporate image at its facilities or when, for work-related reasons, they are outside these. In this connection, they are barred from affixing other images to vehicles and other places that haven’t been designed for such purposes.”

According to the company director, following the application of the disciplinary measures, Singh Castillo was visited by high EON officials and expressed satisfaction over the response to his complaint.