The car in Bayamo

The car in Bayamo. At present it is part of the history and culture of the city of Bayamo , having a strong socio-cultural roots, not only as a means of transport but also in serenades, political or social events, decorative and artisanal elements. It has been the inspiration of various artists, it is a symbol that balances the environment, its streets, buildings, history and its peculiar sounds make you feel a pleasant feeling of happiness for both the resident and for those who are in the city of transit or visit. .


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  • 1 History
  • 2 Arrival of the Car to Cuba
  • 3 La Rueda maintenance workshop
  • 4 Bibliography


Man, originally, saw the need to move to different parts of the world in search of areas with better hunting grounds, climate, biological needs, etc. His own evolution forced him to taming animals for their translation. With the emergence of livestock and horse training, man would use the latter as a means of transport.

In these very origins, man is seen using the horse as a vehicle for personal transport to more distant regions of his territory. But the need to transport large heavy loads would entail that these animals were hooked by means of ropes, loads that man alone would not be able to transport, thus giving rise to the emergence of the cargo sled, a platform on skates often depicted in ancient Egyptian monuments. This would be one of the first means of transportation in the history of transportation.

The emergence of the wheel would lead to a revolution and transformation of the means of transportation. The first wheels consisted of wooden logs cut into solid discs that undoubtedly evolved from the rollers located under the sleds, used to reduce friction. By 2000 BC the Egyptians used two-wheeled horse-drawn chariots in hunting and military activities. The Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans also used this type of chariot.

The carriage of antiquity was the prototype of the cart, and the most primitive form of carriage varied as it was adopted by different countries. With the discovery of a new route to the new world, Spain would bring to the Caribbean island traditions, customs and mode of transportation. The emergence of different villages, would enthrone different own and indigenous media of each region.

Arrival of the car in Cuba


In Cuba , from the first years of colonization, the means of transportation would be those of animal traction, since its use in the transport of goods would be of vital importance, but it would not be until the foundation of villages, towns and cities that the first and various cars.

The foundation of the first villages such as San Salvador in the first days of November would not be alien to a set of traditions of the Iberian Peninsula , which with the settlement in the region would spread, much more when the topographical characteristics of the region would be ideal for its evolution.

The place that was prepared for the initial settlement was Yara ; The Church and the Cabildo were raised, and the land and Indians were distributed, however, as with most of the rest of the towns (except Baracoa ), it was moved at the end of 1514 , placing it where the town is today. city ​​of Bayamo , according to chroniclers of the colonial era due to the epidemics and abundant plagues existing in Yara, in addition to the conditions that this valley had: abundant indigenous population and a large river, among others. From then on, it was called San Salvador de Bayamo.

With the increase of inhabitants and the growth of the town, the first horse-drawn transport began to run, the first uses being the harrows (family transport of the sled due to its absence of wheels); This harrow is the first manifestation of horse-drawn transport in Cuba and its easy construction consists of a chopped tree in the place where the trunk is divided into two sections or in the central fork and whose purpose was to transport goods, mainly the related to agriculture and its various productive lines despite the fact that it was widely used by the villagers for the transfer of gourds and jars loaded with water or wine.

The prosperity of the town would be ideal for the equidae to be used in urban areas to haul the already existing carriages, buggies, steering wheels, chitrines, cabrioles, carts and to a greater extent the carts that had usually been pulled by oxen. Therefore, the census carried out at the end of the 18th century would show that in the region included in the East of the country there were 183 leaflets and quitrines, of them 17 in the town of San Salvador de Bayamo, and 597 carts, wheelbarrows and carts of which 107 were from this city.

The chitrines, cabrioles and volantas would not only be a cultural element as reflected by various artists in their poetry, songs, canvases and pilgrimages to nearby towns such as El Dátil , Melgarejo and Cautillo , but they also served to prepare the independence feat. With the new republican airs other models would make their presence that would replace the old and traditional transports, the century of the millers and duchesses would begin.

In 1902 , despite the fact that in other regions of the world, transport has had a development and boom, a Duquesa model car enters the port of Havana from Paris bound for the city of Bayamo. Its owner, Mr. José Alonso , sends for it because of the comforts offered by this latest model of animal traction and that due to the topographic characteristics it would be ideal for the region and for the use of the social life that the rich landowners were leading.

For the same purposes or as a rather social competition, a Milord model car owned by the Luís Tornes Miniet family enters the port of Manzanillo from the United States of America . Both the Milord and the Duchess are reflected by various authors as the first cars that entered the city of Bayamo.

These two new car models would open the doors to the continuity of a tradition that, given the topographic characteristics of the region, had been enthroned in the town in its different social functions for both the wealthy landowners possessing fortune and in fact luxurious quits and you fly even the most humble sector with their carts, wheelbarrows and carts.

These cars would provide with the passing of the first years of the 20th century , different services that since they would not be limited to the weekend walks that were customary after the end of the quartermaster war, but would be mixed with the culture and the Needs of the city and its various social uses are appreciable in the flat press of the time and especially in the newspapers El Heraldo de Bayamo, El Bayamés or La regeneración.

These, in their social chronicles, touch on social issues such as: “… the Acosta Tamayo family performs the fifteen of their beloved daughter Elisa with a ride in a beautiful car, my lord… another aspect that this newspaper reflects with respect to the relationship of the car was that of “… .General Emiliano Núñez Minister of Agriculture uses a military car to visit the mines in the region…. “Or those that had purely social uses such as” … the Spanish colony had a car service for the transfer of patients …. ” Likewise, the use of this medium is reflected for … more than 30 cars will provide services in the Terminal … ”

Being the most outstanding note in the history of the cars of neocolonial Cuba, it was related to the visit to the city of the President of the Republic Gerardo Machado , which was published in the headlines where it stated: … after a beautiful welcoming ceremony At the train terminal, General Gerardo Machado preferred his transfer to the town hall in a Lan do model car, pulled by 2 Moorish horses, owned by his friend in the war General Jose Manuel Capote Sosa

On the other hand, the most humble sector of society would continue to use their models of yesteryear such as wheelbarrows and carts either for the transportation of people or for the transfer of goods from the countryside to the city or in different shops, these would give them sustenance many families or many of these families would be nourished by cars as a means of employment since the car, even today, generates for society a series of vital jobs for its maintenance, such as: blacksmiths, upholsterers, veterinarians, yerberos and the truck drivers or coachmen who, when cheap and slave labor disappeared, resurfaced but this time as salaried workers.

With the development of the automotive industry, the region’s bourgeoisie would replace cars with these vehicles for private transport, so many of these cars are now operated as means of transport, allowing the middle class to acquire them either in a lease or purchase and put them into operation as a means of public transport.

But for many families, the work of coachman was not only the use of transportation by car, it was a range of employment that not only included one of its members but several of the same family, becoming the car as the fundamental economic line and vital for these people. In 1940 , the ANCHAR and Esteban Zagales vehiclesone of the largest coal sellers in the area and who owned three buses threatened to invade public transport the drivers who were dedicated to this activity and in coordination with their sponsors who were the vast majority of the legal owners of the cars They decide to create the Cofradía de Cocheros de Bayamo, to safeguard their rights and their business or employment, this at first would not be largely due to the fact that these sponsors also had machines for public transport.

This dilemma would satisfactory solution for cars the 24 of November of 1942 , because the problem itself that created them : the acquisition of surplus value, as it was more expensive for machines of Anchar remain on the market because of the low price the passage and discharge of automotive accessories that wore more easily along with the price of fuel that due to the conflicts in Europe related to World War II could bring with it a rise in prices and lead to a state of crisis in fuel and parts because the United States was largely the main supplier and the addition of this nation to the war was a matter of time.

The decision of many owners of machines would then be made that they would take care of inter-municipal and inter-provincial transport, leaving the transport in the city and neighboring towns to the cars that in the end they were the same owners and would have less expenses.

Therefore, this Guild of Coaches would be constituted socially and never institutionally, since it was never given a legal course because for this the coachmen would have to be the owners of their means and it was not in the interest of the true legal owners to discard such a lucrative business that could flourish at a time of economic crisis, a note would be published in the newspaper of the time where it argued … the Cocheros de Bayamo and ANCHAR provide a solution to public transport in the city … with 49 model cars Duquesas and Milores.

The cars continued to operate in the city of Bayamo after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, thanks to the fact that its 59 drivers, once the Bayamo Drivers Association was created , continued in their positions and their usual routes, but with the feeling that they were already They owned their equipment and did not have to be exploited by any bourgeois, they only had to pay a fee for being members of the association that they themselves had created and the tax for operating as public transport.

The park that is located on Calle Parada Martí and Donato Mármol , was a place where in 1868 a combat took place where cars played a role in the history of the revolution and being close to the association was the place where these coachmen met to carry out your conversations and place of origin of the majority of the car routes in the city.

In this same park, at the request of the Association of Coaches of Bayamo to the Popular Power in order to provide a better service to the population, a telephone was placed that served as a link between the 10 coachmen who woke up providing transportation services to the population. the need to move to some place in the city, called and the car on duty was given the race, which carried it out at the time.

For all this, the José Francisco Maceo Osorio park became known in the city of Bayamo as “El parquecito de los Coches”, a name that is still called today in honor of the fact that one day it was the parking place for these means of transport. animal.

In 1980 the situation of the Cuban economy was in a frank process of development, the urban transportation system in the city of Bayamo had improved thanks to the entry of 100 side-by-side model taxis that would replace the old Dogce and machines, putting cars in a difficult situation regarding their survival as public transport. In these years the coachmen saw that they could be relegated and begin the beginning of the end.

At this time the coachmen maintained their traditions as coachmen with more emphasis and many traditional elements, whether in the car as a means, or spiritual values, became cultural symbols, which had their origins in the first years of the century and continued to be used, becoming in most cases and for the population a distinctive element of this profession.

La Rueda maintenance workshop

But to keep these cars in good condition, a workshop was required that was capable of meeting the needs of the 59 cars in the shortest time, this would be possible thanks to the “La Rueda” workshop that would see its birth as a state unit in the same It was a revolutionary triumph, where several workshops and saddlery shops were united in 1961 and in the extension of General García 530 street, where Eustorgio Díaz Pérez’s workshop existed, the “La Rueda” repair workshop was created.

This workshop that is… the only one combined with these characteristics in Cuba and perhaps in Latin America decided to keep the cars. For the repair of the workshop, the former owner Eustorgio himself decided to teach the younger carpenters, saddlers, painters and blacksmiths the trade of car repair, since the cars had different accessories for their repair and the joint work of various trades.

These young factory workers created their own skills in repair so it became from workshop to factory being … officially founded in 1979 under the auspices of Industria Locales No Alimentarias

The factory would begin the real construction of cars in 1991 , when the Pan-American games were held in the country and the state management assigned the factory to build 40 cars for the inauguration of this sporting activity, showing and consolidating what was learned in years ago in the daily repairs of the 59 cars and the others that existed in the different provinces of the country.

In these years the factory saw how cars came out of it for different uses such as the hearse that was intended to transport coffins to the cemetery and that years later would give rise to a new tradition that consists in that, when a coachman or family member As a coachman he dies he is taken to the cemetery in this car guided many times by the horse with which he worked for many years of his life or a horse that has a personal importance, the prisoner transport car used in prisons or in MININT units, ambulances for the transport of non-emergency patients, the various carts to transport goods, the use of many of them for weddings and fifteen following a popular tradition due to the history of the town and even various floats on cars,For this reason, the range of vehicles drawn by horses or cars and the experience in the construction of these would increase and the special period itself served as a detonating element of a manufacturing culture that had been in the making for more than half a century.

The car boom was linked to the late 80s and early 1990s when the change in the country’s economy was glimpsed. With the collapse of the socialist camp and the worsening of the blockade, transportation in a general sense suffered a severe blow due to the shortage of fuel and spare parts, so the car would once again occupy its preponderant role in the transportation of people and goods. as in centuries past.


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