Despite the import of 5,000 Chinese buses, fidelismo has been so catastrophic on transport that the populace relies on anything that moves. Roadways are lined with thousands of hitchers, many of them so desperate after hours in the sun that they wave peso bills at any passing vehicle—whether it be a tractor, a truck, or a motorcycle. If it moves, in Cuba it’s fair game. The state has even set up botellas (hitchhiking posts) where officials of the Inspección Estatal, wearing mustard-colored uniforms (and therefore termed coges amarillas, or yellow-jackets), are in charge. They wave down virtually anything that comes along, and all state vehicles must stop to pick up hitchers.
It can be excruciatingly slow going, and there are never any guarantees for your safety. Hence, I don’t recommend or endorse hitchhiking. Cubans are officially barred from picking up foreign hitchhikers at the risk of huge fines. If you receive a ride in a private car, politeness dictates that you offer to pay for your ride: “¿Cuánto le debo?” after you’re safely delivered.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition