Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pedaling to Survive

Pedaling to Survive / 14ymedio
Posted on February 25, 2016

14ymedio, Havana, 23 February 2016 — Preferred by customers for short
distance travel and demonized by motorists who consider them a danger to
traffic, pedicabs are part of the urban landscape of Havana and many
provincial cities. With their three wheels and their many decorative
variations, these vehicles use the "human fuel" of a driver who pedals
you to your destination. That makes them the most precarious link in
passenger transport in Cuba.

Those who work the pedals are harassed by the police and exploited by
the owners of the pedicabs. Many, the poorest, come from the east of the
country and are considered "illegal" in the so-called "capital of all
Cubans," because they lack the resident permits required to live in the
city. The days they manage to make more than five convertible pesos
(CUC) they feel happy, although there are some who brag about giving
tours for tourists for no less than "20 CUC per hour."

The "bite" taken out by the police must also be factored into the
prices. Among those in uniform extortionists abound and avoiding a fine
or a confiscation can only be achieved with gifts or hard cash. In the
network of corruption suffered by self-employed workers, the pedicabs
drivers are on the lowest rung of the ladder. They must pay if they want
to continue to pedal through the city.

Source: Pedaling to Survive / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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