Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Cuba cab ends journey in museum

London taxi driver Tony Caccavone and his cab, painted in the colours of the Cuban flag (AP)
London taxi driver Tony Caccavone and his cab, painted in the colours of the Cuban flag (AP)

A London cab driver who is parting with his taxi which is painted in the colours of the Cuban flag said tonight it was "like losing part of my family".

Tony Caccavone, 70, handed over the vehicle to the island's authorities for it to be parked up in a motor museum in Havana - which he says is its ''spiritual home''.

The cab is painted in Cuban colours to show solidarity with the country in the face of US sanctions and Mr Caccavone said: "It has the fortitude and resilience of the Cuban people. It's done just under 400,000 miles - all that mileage promoting Cuba."

The cabbie, who was born in Camden, but now lives in Enfield, north London, bought and painted the vehicle in 1997, after Canadian tourists recommended Cuba to him as a place to visit.

Mr Caccavone - known as ''Cuban Tony'' - said he was ''very angry at the struggles of the Cuban people'', and when he came back he bought a white cab and had the flag sprayed on it.

The taxi driver has been promoting the cause ever since, and the handing over of the cab - it is being retired from service - was a sad moment.

The vehicle had its official send-off at Bolivar Hall in central London tonight, in the presence of the Cuban ambassador to London, Esther Armenteros.

Mr Caccavone said afterwards: "It's like losing part of my family. It is sad - it's like a part of me. I still have it for now, but can't use it for work - it will be in a container to Cuba in two to three weeks. I feel a bit down, and I know why it is - it's the departure of this cab.

"The Americans need to realise, enough is enough, if they would only drop this embargo, it would change the whole world."

Mr Caccavone has no plans to retire. "I will eventually get a second hand white cab, and its livery will be from the Music Fund for Cuba, that's a registered charity."

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