A sweep by police and transportation inspectors netted several arrests and a number of confiscated cars Wednesday in the area around the Havana bus station.
Another raid later on that day, this one in the environs of the Parque
de la Fraternidad, yielded more arrests.
The enforcement action targeted private operators who pick up
passengers, but who don’t have a license.
Eyewitness Reinaldo Hernández explained: “It is true that many of the
taxi drivers are operating without a license, but the problem is that
the government will not grant them, in spite that many of them have
applied for them. Some of these people driving are retirees, some even from the Ministry of the Interior itself of the Armed Forces. The government
doesn’t grant the licenses for self-employment, but neither does it solve the transportation problem.”
According to Hernández, bystanders were astonished as they watched the
raid unfold. “This is the end, it’s as if they were arresting criminals
or murderers,” Hernández said one of them said. A woman said: “They
should be chasing drug dealers and those holding people up in the street.”
A newspaper vendor explained: “You can’t live decently on what you
make. The government told us back in October to stop selling magazines and newspapers, but we have to continue… It is abusive; we don’t even
have the opportunity of doing it legally.”