Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Red Scooter in Cuba

A Red Scooter in Cuba
December 27, 2011
Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 27 — My mother's scooter is red not only in color, but
also because it belongs to the socialist state, that being an
abstraction of what we are all supposed to be a part. That's why the
scooter doesn't belong to her. This contradiction of socialist property
is something I've always found more difficult to understand than the
Holy Trinity.

There are many scooters like my mother's in the streets. There are
scooters and motorcycles of all colors, yet they're all "red." Most of
them are in poor condition; with it assumed that in the workplaces that
provide them, there simply isn't money for maintenance.

People repair them the best they can, using their own money. They need
them to get around, given how difficult the transportation situation is.

Most of them are old, having undergone five, ten, twenty or more years
of use. I understand that some of them that are manufactured in Eastern
Europe are still being imported today, as is the world famous Lada, the
car that's imported from Russia.

My mother is one of the few honest people I know. She's not chauvinistic
and doesn't tend toward exaggeration.

She's incapable of stealing the smallest thing from her job, where's
she's been a manager for five years. And I should point out that the
moral codes have transformed out of necessity in recent years here, with
people becoming more tolerant of the "diversion" (theft) of government

Therefore my mother's red scooter continues to operate thanks to the
charity of her friends. Not even the gasoline that she's allocated by
her job is enough to get her around to her various work functions.

At this very moment the rear tire assembly, with all its components,
need to be changed, it's completely worn out. The tire alone — without
counting the inner tube or the metal rim — costs about 30 or 35 CUCs
(about $35 or $40 USD), the money equivalent to two or three months of


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