Cuba transport minister fired
Web posted at: 10/21/2006 7:22:39
Source ::: REUTERS
Havana • Cuba fired the minister in charge of a highly deficient public
transport sector yesterday in an apparent move to deal with a major
cause of complaints among Cubans.
Jorge Luis Sierra, a member of the ruling Communist Party’s executive
Politburo, will replace Carlos Manuel Pazo due to the “priority” needs
of the transport sector, the party newspaper Granma said.
It was the second Cabinet change since acting President Raul Castro took
over the running of the government from Cuban leader Fidel Castro
following his emergency surgery at the end of July.
Cubans often have to wait hours for buses in Havana and travel on
overcrowded “camels,” the hump-backed wagons drawn by trucks that serve
as public transport.
Most pay to travel in vintage American cars from the 1940’s and 1950’s
that the state allowed to operate as private jitney cabs when Cuba was
plunged into severe economic crisis after the collapse of Soviet
Communism in 1991.
“They should abolish the transport ministry. It wouldn’t make any
difference. Look at the bus service,” said an angry Havana housewife who
asked not to be named.
Cuba has begun buying thousands of new buses from China that are already
used for inter-city travel and shuttling foreign tourists to beach resorts.
But rural areas are still dotted with people waiting for transport who
often end up traveling standing in the back of a packed Soviet-built
trucks. Horse-and-carriage is a common way to get around in provincial