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Children's Crossing Signs in Cuba

A school bus in Pinar del Rio 02.XII.2010; pict. B. Hoeyberghs

Yaguaramas, 7.V.2005Trinidad, 8.V.2005Havana, 30.IV.2005 Havana, 30.IV.2005

The diversity in Cuban Children's Signs is enormous. That's mainly because roadsigns in Cuba are a showcase of recycling. Many roadsigns are (or appear to be) imported from other countries. And if you look carefully it becomes clear that several of our examples are trying to hide a previous life below a layer of yellowish paint. In spite of all the variation I was able to group them in a limited number of sign families, all European offspring. The group on the top row probably stems from France (e.g. Tarbes). Thinking of the Men at Work sign coming from Canada, I first thought the same about the children's sign, but then I noticed the legs of the boy. Canadian boys keep their legs warm with long trousers. Cuban (and Spanish and French) children prefer short pants. Spanish girls prefer a ponytail. Therefore the third example could come from Spain; the first two from France.

near Sto Domingo, 12.V.2005 Havana, 30.IV.2005 near Bayamo, 11.V.2005 Pinar del Rio, 02.XII.2010;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs

The second group has Spanish roots. It's one of the most common signs in Spain: in team language known as the common beak because of the hair of the girl. Both are in a hurry; the girl left her bookbag between the cereals on the kitchen table. European roadsigns normally feature a white background. Yellow is used for temporary signs. Because Cuba choose for a yellow (new world) background imported signs require additional work. It's not always easy to find a decent yellow paint (nor qualified people).

Camagüey, 05.XII.2010;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
The warning sign at the back of the bus in Pinar del Rio is truly one of a kind. I have nothing similar in the collection. Could it be a locally built (Girón brand) bus with a sign of local breed?

It looks like a man is taking the girl's satchel and she is trying to stop him. Weird. Notice the clothing: is it a car mechanic, a revolutionary?

The next group is also inspired by Spain. It is the modern match-stick version where the boy runs in first position — this swap of positions very often happens together with the swap to a new design (e.g. France, Spain).

The panel from Havana comes straight from Europe, the other finds are local (?) variations. The finds from Camagüey are proof that it is possible to gain excellence in bad taste.

Havana, 29.IV.2005 near Baracoa, 17.V.2005 Jagüey, 4.V.2005 Camagüey, 11.V.2005

Morón, 10.XII.2010;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
Baracoa region, 19.V.2005 Camajuaní, 10.XII.2010;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
La Cobre, 16.V.2005

This old-fashioned recycled roadsign shows all the detail of the former French roadsigns. Notice that the girl wears not only a ponytail but has also a ribbon in her hair. (See Monsieur Jean for more hairstyles.)

The two ladies remind me of two very old finds from France and one from Madagascar. In that last country the sign indicates a shopping zone, but I don't think that was the case in Baracoa.

The adults from Camajuaní carry a bookbag and therefore probably signal a children's crossing with a school nearby. Exactly the same people can be seen in Canada (but then drawn in a pentagon, not a triangle).

The sign from La Cobre is a warning sign for a pedes­trian —not a children's— crossing but it is such a marvellous find that I gladly give it a place. Look at the face, the hair, the hands.


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More signs from Cuba: Men at work - Falling Rock Signs