As a result of vandalism and slackness affecting the deficient signage of roads and streets, drivers traveling through Cuban streets must mix expertise with a guessing game.
The lack of these important roadway elements worsens with vandalism, as stated on Thursday by officials of the National Center of Traffic Engineering speaking to Juventud Rebelde (Rebel youth) newspaper. In the first four months of this year, there were 144 acts of vandalism against road signs, of which 60 occurred in urban areas.
The provinces most affected by predation are Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Havana, with effects ranging from the most serious – causing accidents – to generating misinformation about the locations of sites or their distance.
The lack of explanatory signs especially affects those who have no experience on the road, such as tourists who rent a car or drivers who venture into an area for the first time.
Vandalism, however, has many faces, and though none of them is justifiable, some of them point to the material shortage that the population encounters. The absence of a market where iron or steel angles, screws and metal plates can be legally acquired, leads people needing these materials to ignore ethical considerations or civilized coexistence.
The absence of a market where some materials can be legally acquired can lead to predation
There are a lot of animal pens, garages for cars or even walls and informal housing ceilings built with “recovered materials” which were once traffic signs. That is without counting the most serious damage, which with similar purpose, has been wreaked on electrical transmission towers or even on railways.
The problem affecting traffic signs is not a minor issue. The absence of a legal advertising infrastructure with commercial purposes means ads for concerts, notices of housing swaps, car sales and many other private classifieds find their space on a Yield or a No Parking sign. On the other hand, there is an inadequate policy of installation, replacement, and maintenance of these important elements by the State.
Translated by Alberto