When it was dark on Saturday, July 13 in Jaruco, news was all the rage among the people: the new Chinese train that had left La Coubre, in Old Havana, was passing through the train station, heading to Santiago de Cuba, that same day at 4:15 p.m.
Those who had the privilege of greeting that blue vein while crossing the County City, without stopping, fueled the illusion of enjoying at some time the modern device so cited in Cuba during the last months.
So it was. On the night of Sunday, July 14, the row of wagons with their dazzling light blue made the only Mayabeque stop at the Jaruco station.
Then, our photojournalist Cánovas captured with his camera the images that marked a before and after in the transportation of passengers by rail, especially since the end point of the itinerary was Holguin, where the silence on the tracks already lasted 13 years.
Then they would make their stop at the jaruqueña station, elevated to the provincial name, the train Havana-Guantánamo, which would be followed by the Havana-Bayamo-Manzanillo route, which were approached by passengers eager to enjoy comfort and The praised service of the new train.
However, despite the red carpet and the fireworks surrounding this event, some concerns accumulate in the population.
First, why does the Havana-Santiago route not stop at Jaruco station?
The other is the disagreement with the waiting list. Pedro García Ávila, Head of the Mayabeque Stations Group, said that for example, this Sunday, July 21, the train to Guantánamo did not grant seats to those who waited to travel through this modality to the easternmost of the Cuban provinces, but later confirmed which did grant 29 seats at the Matanzas station, the director said.
Is the waiting list planned in advance on the itinerary? Is the selection due to technical issues or is it that favoritism, cronyism and other evils are already beginning to erode the excellence of the renowned Chinese trains?
There is countless material and human resources that the State arranged to revitalize rail passenger transportation in the country.
At a high financial cost these cars were imported, leaving behind more than four decades of operating with second-hand equipment.
Coupled with this, progress is being made in the training of personnel in the sector and in the improvement of infrastructure and service at the stations, (incidentally, that of Jaruco is included in a maintenance plan).
This is a path that can be considered a success in Cuba’s political agenda, but in social matters the benefits are enormous; hence, going back in the slightest would be an unforgivable crime. Because there is no lack of those who downplay or demerit what is offered to the people, and it would also be absurd that after so much effort, we continue to put on weight the saying, “new broom sweeps well”.
Making the quality of the goods and services offered remain a pending issue, and to overcome this syndrome that distances Cubans from their aspirations for prosperity and common welfare, it is urgent to implement the precept of our president Díaz Canel of “Think as a country”.
It is a beautiful ideal that defends and fertilizes, but it is also, absolutely, an exhortation and a warning in times of so many pressures and threats.
Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero